SBJ/September 1 - 7, 2003/Facilities
Sales records fall at UConn stadium
Published September 1, 2003
Big East football coming to Rentschler Field.
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.
City: East Hartford, Conn.
Tenant: University of Connecticut football
Owner: State of Connecticut
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.
Pouring rights: Coca-Cola
Scoreboard provider: Daktronics
Turf provider: SRI Sports
Seat provider: Hussey Seating
First game: Aug. 30 vs. Indiana
RENTSCHLER FIELD SUBCONTRACTORS
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Sources: University of Connecticut, Connecticut Office of Policy and Management|