SBJ/September 1 - 7, 2003/Facilities

Sales records fall at UConn stadium

Big East football coming to Rentschler Field.
Rentschler Field, new home of the University of Connecticut Huskies, was breaking records before the football team even took the field for its first game.

Season-ticket sales through early August were up to about 24,000, already more than double the season record of 11,300 set just last year. That translates to revenue from season-ticket sales having tripled from the $1 million the school posted last year, said Tom McElroy, UConn's deputy director of athletics. The increase was fueled by sales of luxury seating that was not available at the team's former home, Memorial Stadium.

Most of the 38 suites in the new stadium seat 16 people and sell for $50,000 annually. Club seats cost $1,400 a year.

In addition to having luxury seating, the new stadium increases the overall capacity for football games by 150 percent, up from 16,000. The school also increased ticket prices and changed its ticket pricing structure to offer better seats to donors.

Ticket sales have been further aided by the recent shakeup in the Big East, with Miami and Virginia Tech scheduled to leave for the ACC after this season. Big East officials announced last month that Connecticut would join the Big East as a full-time playing member in 2004, one year earlier than originally planned. The promise of a stronger 2004 schedule caused a spike in ticket sales immediately after the announcement, said Leigh Torbin, assistant director of athletic communications for the school. Fans are buying tickets for the 2003 season in part to have priority on those same seats in 2004, when the Big East schedule takes effect.

Plans for Memorial Stadium, the Huskies' home for 50 years, are still up in the air, Torbin said. The stadium may be demolished and the site used for an indoor practice facility. The facility is on UConn's campus in Storrs, Conn. Rentschler Field is 25 miles from campus.

As part of the school's marketing effort related to the new venue, the slogan "New Dog in the Show" was developed to help drive ticket sales.

Rentschler Field

City: East Hartford, Conn.

Tenant: University of Connecticut football

Owner: State of Connecticut

Operator: MSG

Architect: Ellerbe Becket

General contractor: Hunt-Gilbane Joint Venture

No. of seats: 40,000

No. of suites/club seats: 38/700

Projected cost: $91.2 million

Funding: The state of Connecticut approved $90.2 million in general obligation bonds, backed by stadium-related revenue. The school is responsible for the remaining $1 million, plus any overruns. Hartford, Conn.-based Pratt & Whitney donated 75 acres of land for the stadium, which will be named after the company's founder, Frederick B. Rentschler.

Concessionaire: Sodexho

Pouring rights: Coca-Cola

Scoreboard provider: Daktronics

Turf provider: SRI Sports

Seat provider: Hussey Seating

First game: Aug. 30 vs. Indiana

Subcontractor Work performed
A&J Caulking Co. Caulking
Architectural Graphics Inc. Signage
Berlin Steel Construction Co. Structural and miscellaneous steel
Blakeslee Prestress Inc. Precast
Cardi Corp. Site development
C.H. Nickerson & Co. Masonry and H.C. plank
Daktronics Scoreboard and videoboard
DuPont Flooring Systems Flooring
E&D Specialty Stands Inc. Stadium seating
Har-Conn Hardware Doors, frames and hardware
Hartford Roofing Co. Roofing
L-C Associates NA
Legere Woodworking Finish carpentry
Mackenzie Service Corp. Painting
Manafort Brothers Inc. Cast in place
McPhee Electrical Ltd. Electrical
Merritt Contractors Toilet partitions
MRS Enterprises Metal siding
Norwalk Marine Contractors Inc. Piling
Otis Elevator Co. Elevators
Partitions Inc. Drywall
Schumacher Landscaping Inc. Grass parking
Suntech of Connecticut Inc. Glass and glazing
S.W. Franks Construction Co. Playing field
Tilcon Connecticut Inc. Site improvements, utilities and paving
Tucker Mechanical Plumbing, HVAC and fire protection
U.S. Foodservice and Contract Design Food service equipment
Wesconn Co. Fireproofing
Sources: University of Connecticut, Connecticut Office of Policy and Management


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Colleges, Ellerbe Becket

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