The Univ. of Cincinnati will "try to sell up to 30 luxury suites, newly constructed on the west side" of Nippert Stadium, along with "more than 1,000 other premium seats with access to a new club lounge" for a price tag of up to $70M, according to Cliff Peale of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. UC AD Whit Babcock declined to "say how much the seats would cost." Regardless, it "won't be easy raising the money." UC is "nearly finished with its $1 billion university-wide campaign, and donors could be exhausted." It also "needs to renovate Fifth Third Arena at a cost of more than $100 million and build a new law school, which could cost $60 million." But school President Santa Ono said that the projects all "are different and there is private support for improvements to Nippert." He said that UC would "not use tuition money or student fees for the project." But the renovation at Nippert "has become an urgent priority now as UC seeks a new conference home with the ACC and welcomes new football coach Tommy Tuberville." Details of the project include "improvements to the concourse, including restrooms and concessions that have caused long lines for years." Construction will "take 12 to 18 months but won't start before next season." UC "hopes to stage construction so the Bearcats won't have to miss any playing time at Nippert." Babcock said that UC will "sell naming rights to the new pavilion, but the stadium 'will always be Nippert Stadium'" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 12/19). ESPN.com's Andrea Adelson noted Babcock would not "detail how much bigger Nippert would get." The stadium right now "seats about 35,000 people," and the hope "is for a capacity of at least 40,000" (ESPN.com, 12/18).
E3 Axess, a small, corporate entertainment provider in the Chicago area that “primarily stages high-end events for companies, has taken tailgating to a new level by combining the amenities of a luxury skybox at a Bears game with the traditional pregame parking lot party -- and appears to have found a sweet spot,” according to Danny Ecker of CRAIN’S CHICAGO BUSINESS. The experience at an E3 tailgate, which “popped up in the Adler Planetarium lot outside Soldier Field four times for paying clients this fall (including the Notre Dame-Miami football game in October), fills about 2,000 square feet of parking lot space with upscale food and alcohol, couches, televisions, a DJ and a staff of servers in a roped-off, carpeted area next to the company's $1 million custom motor coach.” At $150 to $250 a head for the event, “plus an optional ticket package for the actual game, the tailgates have drawn interest from companies" like SAP, HP, CDW and others to "entertain clients for an average of $500 apiece for Bears games -- significantly cheaper than the roughly $800-per-person cost of an executive suite inside the stadium (though that also includes access to other amenities like the United Club)” (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 12/17).