SBD/July 16, 2013/Facilities

Univ. Of Minnesota Renting Out TCF Bank Stadium For Events To Generate Extra Revenue

UM has collected over $470,000 in TCF Bank Stadium rentals this fiscal year
The Univ. of Minnesota, in an "attempt to find revenue in unusual places," has been renting out TCF Bank Stadium "for everything from weddings and bar mitzvahs to Tennant Company meetings and Comcast awards banquets," according to Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The president's suite "rents for $600 for six hours." Though proceeds so far are "modest -- roughly a half-million dollars annually -- school officials are trying to emulate other universities." The school has "collected at least $471,619 in stadium rentals this fiscal year, outdistancing the $317,895 collected by Ohio State," which has a similar program. The Twins' Target Field "has seven weddings scheduled at the ballpark this year," but "having a public university rent its new stadium for corporate events can be ticklish." UM associate professor Bill Gleason, a faculty member since '92, has "been an outspoken critic of the school’s corporate relationships." He said, "It just doesn’t smell right." Gleason believes that the "rental money, which goes to the school’s athletic budget, should go to the university’s general fund or to reduce student fees." UM Associate AD Scott Ellison "defended the policy." He said that the school "rents other campus sports arenas and was only doing what others have done" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/14).

TEAGUE'S TEEMING AMBITION: In Minneapolis, Jim Souhan wrote UM AD Norwood Teague's first year on the job has "hinted at an aggressiveness and savvy that has been missing in the Gophers athletic department since [former UM football coach] Murray Warmath had the brains and guts to recruit black football players." Souhan: "Ambition? Check. Teague isn’t trying to coax a few extra victories out of women’s cross-country. He is trying to elevate football and basketball, the sports whose revenues raise all ships. Business-savvy? Check. When was the last time any sports entity in the Twin Cities revealed construction plans or hopes without begging for tax dollars? ... Confidence? Check. Only someone with bravado and a successful track record could, in his first year on the job, fire a Hall of Fame basketball coach and propose to solve all of the university’s sports facilities problems in one privately financed swoop" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/13). Also in Minneapolis, Sid Hartman wrote Teague "has not raised a lot of money since being named" AD. Teague was asked "how fundraising here compares with his former job at Virginia Commonwealth." He answered, "You just have to get after it and dream big and tell your donors that you’re dreaming big and hope that they’ll hop on the dream with you. I guess for lack of a better way of explaining it, people are the same, they want to give to things that they’re passionate about and we have to sell that to the Nth degree over the next five, six, seven years." Teague also said that he "did not have any second thoughts about releasing such a big figure for his proposal" in regard to the school's recently unveiled $190M facility renovation plan. He said, "I really wanted to get it out and show what we were doing" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/15).
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