Category Archives: Facilities

April Athletic Construction Roundup

After a very brief hiatus, the monthly Athletics Construction Roundup is back! It is hard to believe that I have been writing these for over a year now. To celebrate, I’m pleased to unveil a fresh format for the roundup; one that I hope is easier to read and carries less of a rigid, academic feel to it. If you truly hate the new format, feel free to let us know in the comments section.

The Athletics Construction Roundup is a monthly series on construction of athletics facilities. Each month I’ll provide you with a list of athletic construction projects in progress (and recently completed) across the country, including details on budget and scope of the project.


Oklahoma is letting fans vote on the field design for its spring game. Voters will have to choose between six endzone layouts and three midfield logos.

Astroturf will be installing the new turf at Oklahoma State’s Boone Pickens Stadium next month. The new surface is the same as the one installed last year on two fields at the Cowboys’ Sherman E. Smith Training Facility.

Florida State has announced facility upgrades that a locker room renovation. In an interesting move, the facility will include a replica of the set used on ESPN’s College GameDay.

Season tickets are sold out for Baylor’s inaugural season at McLane Stadium. The $260 million stadium will open in the fall.

Texas has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to complete a feasibility study on the possibility of enclosing the south endzone at Royal-Memorial Stadium. Although the expansion would increase capacity, its primary goal would be addin additional suites to the stadium.

Work will begin in May on Virginia Tech’s long awaited indoor practice facility. The $21.3 million project should be completed by the fall of 2015.

Arkansas State has added three LED digital displays to the area outside of Centennial Bank Stadium.



VCU’s men’s and women’s basketball will call a new complex home in 15 months. The $25 million project includes locker rooms and practice courts.

A similar project will be built at Georgetown. The John R. Thompson Intercollegiate Athletics Center will be a $60 million, 144,000 square foot facility when it is completed in 2016.

Humphrey Coliseum at Mississippi State is getting a new centerhung video board. The project also includes standard upgrades such as shot and locker room clocks.



Central Michigan’s Itchy Jones Stadium opened last month. This photo gallery provides a detailed look at the facility and the festivities surrounding its opening.



With a new program often a new facility follows. That’s the case with Montana as a $1 million stadium will built before the department’s inaugural softball season begins next year.

January Athletic Construction Roundup

The Athletics Construction Roundup is a monthly series on the construction of athletics facilities. Each month I’ll provide you with a list of athletic construction projects in progress (and recently completed) across the country, including details on budget and scope of the project. Here are the construction projects from the past two months:

University of Iowa
After installing unique video walls at Kinnick Stadium, Iowa repurposed the previous board and installed it at the softball facility. The “new” videoboard at Pearl Field is 16 feet tall and 28 feet wide.

University of Hawaii
After repeated construction delays on the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex, the NCAA has stepped in and could punish Hawaii’s athletic department. Currently, student-athletes are left to use public locker rooms.

Hawaii is also looking to replace the scoreboard at Les Murakami Stadium. The current model has been known be inconsistent.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
As a part of a previously announced athletics master plan, a made for TV groundbreaking was staged during the Ragin’ Cajuns’ football game against Troy. The first phase of the project will add 6,000 endzone seats.

University of Southern Mississippi
In a move that could become a trend, Southern Miss has introduced a social media suite at Reed Green Coliseum.

Vanderbilt University
Vandy has opened its new indoor practice facility. Among other features, it includes a full length football and a videoboard.

University of North Carolina
North Carolina is in serious, but preliminary, talks about renovating or replacing the Dean Smith Center. No matter which path the project takes, it will include revenue generators such as suites or club levels.

University of Arkansas
Currently the only team in the SEC without a dedicated basketball practice facility, Arkansas will break ground on one of their own. The $25 million facility will be completed by the summer of 2015.

Prairie View A&M University
Prairie View A&M has selected PBK Sports to design its previously announced 15,000 seat stadium and adjoining field house. The projected is expected to be completed in 2016.

San Diego State University
SDSU has unveiled plans for a $14.5 million basketball practice facility. The 23,500 square foot facility could be done by July 2015.

University of Michigan
Michigan will be building a $6 million operations center. The 18,000 square foot facility will house the department’s laundry facilities and maintenance shops, among other spaces.

University of Kentucky
Renderings have been released for a previously announced renovation of Commonwealth Stadium. Although overall capacity will be reduced, the $110 million project will add suites and a dedicated student entrance.

Iowa State University
Following a $25 million donation, Iowa State seems prepared to finally move forward with long standing plans to enclose the south endzone at Jack Trice Stadium. The project still needs to be approved by the board of regents.

Seton Hall University
Seton Hall has opened the Charles W. Doehler Academic Center.

Lafayette College
The recently completed $1.7 million renovation of the Kirby Sports Center has been well received. The project included both practical and aesthetic upgrades.

Drake University
Drake has broken ground a basketball practice facility. The $8 million facility should be completed by fall 2014.

University of Toledo
Toledo has announced a $5 million renovation to Larimer Athletic Complex, its main football building. The project will begin in February and increase space in many areas, including offices and the weight room.

Duke University
Deputy director of athletics Mike Cragg provides an update on previously announced projects at Duke and a few details on the planned renovation of Cameron Indoor Stadium in this interview.

Indiana University
IU is preparing for a major overhaul to Assembly Hall. The project would carry a $30 to $40 million price tag and include premium seating, a jumbotron, and a new entrance way. In related news, following a substantial donation the arena will now be known as Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall going forward.

South Dakota State University and University of South Dakota
South Dakota Regents had a busy day in which they approved numerous projects at the South Dakota State and the University of South Dakota. It unanimously approved the previously announced football stadium for SDSU. It also authorized multiple previously announced projects at South Dakota, including a new multi-sport arena.

University of Arizona
Arizona has announced an $80 million renovation of the McKale Center that will be completed in phases. The design includes a unique entry tunnel that will allow intimate fan access to the team in the moments before they take the floor.

November Athletics Construction Roundup

The Athletics Construction Roundup is a monthly series on construction of athletics facilities. Each month I’ll provide you with a list of athletic construction projects in progress (and recently completed) across the country, including details on budget and scope of the project.

Stanford University
Following other major programs, Stanford has unveiled a $21 million addition to the Arrillaga Family Sports Center. Highlights of the football facility can be found in this video.

University of Maine
A prominent alumni couple, whose name is already the football field, has donated $800,000 for a new videoboard at Morse Field in the Alfond Sports Stadium. The board is expected to be ready for the first game of next season.

University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati has released new renderings of the previously announced renovation and expansion of Nippert Stadium.

University of Miami
The 34,000 square foot Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence has been officially dedicated after opening phases. The facility also includes a new football locker room and player lounge.

Tulane University
According to Scott Cowen, the university’s president, Yulman Stadium probably will not be ready in time for the start of the 2014 season. The football stadium’s progress could be delayed due to weather.

Texas A&M University
In an innovative fundraising effort, A&M will sell the grass from the playing surface at Kyle Field. Each piece of grass will come with a care guide.

Auburn University
Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs provides updates on a number of previously announced projects in this open letter.

Louisiana Tech University
As a part of a series of athletic construction projects, Louisiana Tech has announced an $18 million football complex at the south endzone of Joe Aillet Stadium. The facility will include a weight room, team meeting areas, and expanded stadium seating.

Louisiana Tech has also completed a $1.2 million project that includes a videoboard, sound system, and control room at the Thomas Assembly Center.

University of South Dakota
Due to concerns over cost and environmental issues, the design plans for a new arena have changed dramatically. Although previous plans had the arena floor underground, it will now be at ground level.

University of Richmond
Richmond opened the newly renovated Robins Center to the media for a preview. Among several features, the project included videoboards, hospitality areas, and refurbished seating.

University of California, Los Angeles
Although its long-term future remains in jeopardy, Jackie Robinson Stadium will be the home to UCLA baseball for the 2014 season.

University of Arkansas
After last month’s flooding, Bud Walton Arena was repaired and is game ready. The basketball teams missed two practices as a result of the damage.

University of Michigan
The Michigan Athletic Department could be headed for a legal battle with city officials over an electronic billboard outside of Michigan Stadium. The Ann Arbor City Council believes that the marquee is distracting to drivers.

Clemson University
Clemson has announced a major renovation to Littlejohn Coliseum. Details on that project, and several others that are currently ongoing, can be found here.

Grambling University
After player protests led to a cancelled football game, Grambling has announced that the weight room will undergo a $32,000 upgrade.

Mississippi State University
The administration and baseball staff at Mississippi State has asked fans for ideas about a possible renovation to Dudy Noble Field. Head Coach John Cohen has asked that the upgrade create the illusion that stands are full when a strong, but not capacity crowd, is in attendance.

Pennsylvania State University
Penn State’s Pegula Ice Arena has opened. The $90 million arena will be the home to the men’s and women’s hockey programs.

Battle at Bristol: The Biggest College Football Game Ever

Battle at Bristol 3

A rendering of what Bristol Motor Speedway will look like transformed for the Battle at Bristol

On September 10, 2016, Bristol Motor Speedway will attempt to stage the “Biggest College Football Game Ever” as it hosts the Virginia Tech Hokies and the University of Tennessee Volunteers.

Transformed into a college football stadium, Bristol Motor Speedway will be capable of seating approximately 150,000 fans. If the speedway was filled to capacity, it would eclipse the previous two largest-attended college football games: 120,000 fans at Notre Dame vs. Southern California at Soldier Field in 1927 and 115,109 fans at Michigan vs. Notre Dame at Michigan Stadium this season.

It would take the average crowd for both Tennessee and Virginia Tech home games combined to hit the 150,000 mark. Last season, Tennessee ranked #8 in attendance amongst FBS schools with an average attendance of 89,965, and Virginia Tech ranked 25th with an average of 65,632.

“To be able to play in front of a crowd that is the largest to ever see a college football game is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech head coach. “With the great fan support that Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee have, it should be a great atmosphere.”

Tennessee is equally as optimistic about the potential to make this, “The Biggest College Football Game Ever.”

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for our football program to play in front of the largest crowd in the history of college football,” said Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics for University of Tennessee, Dave Hart. “Bristol Motor Speedway will be perhaps the most unique venue to ever host a college football game. Tennessee students, faculty, alumni, and fans will look forward to being a part of this great event.”

The evolution from speedway to college football stadium will need to take place over a short period of time, because Bristol will host a NASCAR race the August preceding the Battle at Bristol. Here are some key facts about the transformation provided by Bristol Motor Speedway:

  • Immediately following the August 2016 NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway, approximately 400 workers will immediately begin bulk cleaning, and then detailing, the Speedway
  • Next an estimated 10-12 crews will begin pressure washing – a process that is normally done in February prior to the March NASCAR weekend
  • Separate crews will clean all suites in seven days – a process that normally takes four-to-six weeks
  • Turf and field build will be completed in eight days
  • Approximately 8,500 tons of rock will be used to build the base of the field
  • The rock will be brought in by approximately 400 truckloads. The complete haul-in process will take three, 10-12 hour days
  • The base rock will be 3’-6” deep in the middle of the infield tapering to 1-1/2’ on sidelines to create the proper sloping effect for drainage

You can find more details about the event and sign up for ticket and event information at

UPDATE: The Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting each team will receive $4 million as long as they sell at least 40,000 tickets, with escalators that could raise that amount to $4.5 million.


Kristi A. Dosh is an attorney and founder of Her latest book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires, is available now. Visit for retailers and a sneak peak at the first chapter! Follow her on Twitter: @SportsBizMiss.

September Athletics Construction Roundup

The Athletics Construction Roundup is a monthly series on construction of athletics facilities. Each month I’ll provide you with a list of athletic construction projects in progress (and recently completed) across the country, including details on budget and scope of the project.

Oklahoma State University
Work continues on the previously announced Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center. The 50,000 square foot facility is on track for completion by the spring 2014.

University of Maine
Maine will play over half of its men’s and women’s basketball games at the new Cross Insurance Center. The new arena will open in September and is owned by the city of Bangor.

University of Delaware
Delaware will add a state outline to its football field. The field design is part of a larger “First State” campaign.

University at Albany
This article examines the progress that Albany’s football program has made and the process that the athletic department went through to build Bob Ford Field. The stadium will open in September and details on the finishing touches can be found here.

Tulane University
Tulane AD Rick Dickson gives an update on the progress of Yulman Stadium and announces that the project is still on pace to be completed by the start of the 2014 football season in this video.

University of Cincinnati
As Nippert Stadium undergoes a renovation, the Bearcats will play thier 2014 home games at Paul Brown Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Bengals.

Michigan State University
This photo gallery shows the early stages of construction at Spartan Stadium. The $24.5 million project will continue through the season and is schedule to be completed in July of next year.

The project also has a prominent donor: Tom Izzo, Michigan State head men’s basketball coach.

University of Florida
As the fallout from the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year continues, many schools continue to revise plans for stadium security. In this article, Assistant Athletic Director of Facilities Chip Howard provides an inside look at the thought process behind the policy changes.

University of Connecticut
Despite earlier reports of setbacks, the new scoreboard has installed at Rentschler Field and will be ready for the start of the season. The 28×73 videoboard will be complimented by two ribbon boards.

Ohio University
Following an earlier project where AstroTurf was installed at Ohio football’s Peden Stadium, the athletic department’s new Multipurpose Center and Pruitt Field, the home of the field hockey program, will receive the same type of surface.

George Washington University
GW has unveiled the completed renovations at its tennis facility. In addition to a court resurface, windscreens and benches were upgraded.

Florida State University
FSU’s $15 million Albert Dunlap indoor practice facility has official opened.

Kansas State University
The $75 million renovation to Bill Snyder Family Stadium is complete. The project aimed to improve the fan experience and included suites, retail locations, concession areas, and restroom facilities.

University of Illinois
A new videoboard has been installed at Memorial Stadium which is four times larger than its predecessor. Part of a $7.2 million project, the main board is complemented by two smaller ones.

Eastern Kentucky University
Both Roy Kidd Stadium and McBrayer Arena will receive new videoboards as part of a $1.2 million project. The project will paid for using money from game guarantees and sponsorships.

Colorado State University
Despite the possibility of a new, on-campus stadium in the near future, Hughes Stadium has received a new videoboard. In a cost saving move, the board sits in the frame of the previous scoreboard.

High Point University
As a result of athletic department growth, High Point will build a $9 million, 31,500 square foot performance center. The facility will house areas for academics and sports medicine.

James Madison University
JMU replaced its seven year old turf due to a number of mostly atheistic issues.

California State University, Fresno
Fresno State’s $6.7 million Meyers Sports Medicine Facility. The project was completely donor funded.

East Carolina University
The recently completed and previously unnamed basketball practice facility has been officially named the Smith-Williams Center. A photo gallery of the facility can be found here.

Duke University
Duke University Golf Club has reopened after a $500,000 renovation. The project focused on the greens and tee boxes.

University of Louisville
Just in time for the start of the season, Louisville has upgraded the sound system at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

University of Oregon
Oregon’s new football performance has drawn criticism from some of the university’s own professors.

James Madison University
James Madison has installed Taraflex at Sinclair Gymnasium. Taraflex is recognized as the top surface in the industry for volleyball.

Baylor University
This outstanding piece from Baylor media relations details the history of the tennis program’s facilities and how those facilities help Baylor host postseason events.

Seton Hall University
Work has been completed on its new Center for Sports Medicine. The latest in a string of projects, the center was built at a cost of $1.5 million and is twice the size of its predecessor.

Saint Joseph’s University
An 80 year old facility has received new seats and a new name. The recently renamed Sweeny Field is home to the lacrosse and soccer programs.

A few non-D1 notes:

Texas A&M-Commerce made a splash with its midfield logo that stretches from 25 yard line to 25 yard line and sideline to sideline.

Queens University of Charlotte opened its $30 million Levine Center for Wellness and Recreation. It includes a new arena.

Converse College has broken ground on a $3.3 million field house.

Buffalo State is beginning a $28 million overhaul of Houston Gym.

In case you missed it- Facilities projects previously mentioned on this site

Cell reception should be improved for fans at Arizona football games

Syracuse could go for the NCAA basketball single game attendance record.

Arizona Boosts Cellular Network at Arizona Stadium

You’re in the stadium watching your favorite team and you try to call a friend about the amazing play that just happened in front of you and…nothing.

How many times have you been denied cell phone service in a stadium because there are just too many people and not enough service capacity?

The University of Arizona has decided to follow the technology trend by signing a contract with Boingo Wireless to improve cellular voice and data connectivity within Arizona Stadium. The current cellular coverage in the stadium was made to only handle either calls or SMS texts for 56,000 people. Arizona Stadium has recently been renovated, including an expansion to 57,800.

“We are excited for what the Distributed Antenna System (DAS) will do to enhance the game day experience for our fans. It’s important to us that we evolve and improve, and the DAS helps us to keep pace with the technology needs of our customers,” Greg Byrne, University of Arizona Vice President for Athletics, said in a Boingo press release.

The new partnering will not just make Wildcat fans happy but will also be great marketing for the school. Fans will be able post updates and pictures quicker without having to wait to leave the stadium ultimately helping the school with branding.

“Technology is such a critical component now to higher education and to student life,” Michele Norin, UA chief information officer told UA@Work. “To not stay ahead of that or to not stay current is a risk we do not want to take here at the UA.”

The antennas will be placed in phases starting with Arizona Stadium and will eventually cover all of campus, aiding in increasing the security network. This project is just one of many in the University’s 10-year Network Master Plan.

Other schools that have installed similar antennas include the University of Alabama and the University of Michigan, both of which are partnered with AT&T and Verizon.

August Athletics Construction Roundup

The Athletics Construction Roundup is a monthly series on construction of athletics facilities. Each month I’ll provide you with a list of athletic construction projects in progress (and recently completed) across the country, including details on budget and scope of the project.

Texas A&M University
After utilizing them on a trial basis for three games last season, Texas A&M is in the process of purchasing cooling benches for the sideline of Kyle Field. The benches are produced exclusively by Athletic Recovery Zone, a Florida based company.

University of Utah
Utah football is moving into its new $32 million facility. For over a year, the program was housed in trailers.

University of Nebraska
The university’s Center for Brian, Biology and Behavior opened this month and is housed in Memorial Stadium. One of the center’s main projects is a $3 million dollar device designed to be used on the sidelines to track concussions.

The turf field at the stadium has been replaced and will feature “Tom Osborne Field” on it for the first time in 14 years.

The athletic department has also asked the Board of Regents to consider a $20.4 million plan for a soccer and tennis complex.

University of Michigan
The athletic department is investing its $8.9 million budget surplus into athletic projects. The investment will help outset the increase of the projected costs of new projects.

Duke University
Work has begun in earnest on Duke’s $100 million, long term facility plan. The current construction is on practice fields for lacrosse and soccer.

Wichita State University
The Shockers men’s basketball team will receive a locker room renovation for the first time in ten years after an anonymous donation. The new locker room will feature the program’s regional championship trophy and other symbols from its Final Four appearance.

The arena will also receive a center-hung scoreboard and an additional 18 smaller video screens.

Air Force Academy
Falcon Stadium may go through a $50- $65 million renovation according to pictures posted by an assistant football coach on Twitter and subsequent comments by the athletic director. Current plans are just conceptual and not architecturally sound.

Washington State University
Athletic Director Bill Moos provides an in-depth look at the development of facilities in this Q&A.

University of Minnesota
A six to eight year, $190 million master plan has been unveiled. The first two phases include upgrades to the football facility and a multiple purpose building which will include practice space for a number of sports.

Portland State University
Athletic Director Torre Chisholm talks about the government impact on college athletic facilities in this interview.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
After a one year hiatus to play on campus, the men’s basketball will return to downtown and U.S. Cellular Arena. The $14,000 per game rental fee is approximately 17% lower than the previous agreement.

University of Houston
As a result of stadium construction Houston will play its football games this season off-campus, at three different venues.

Boise State University
Despite considering plans that included a blue hardwood to match its iconic football turf, Boise State has unveiled a relatively tame court design at Taco Bell Arena.

University of Richmond
As a part of an ongoing renovation project, four 15 x 32 video boards will be added to the Robbins Center. The boards will be the largest in the A-10.

Louisiana Tech University
Louisiana Tech has spent $45,000 on rebranding its football and basketball facilities with Conference USA logos. The cost of changing conference logos in facilities is an often overlooked aspect of realignment.

University of Alabama
Construction of a $14.6 million media center is underway at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The facility will be home to three media properties, including Crimson Tide Productions.

University of Nevada
Members of the Wolf Pack football team will see a $100,000 locker renovation when they return to campus this fall. Head Coach Brian Polian says that previous incarnation of the locker room resembled a high school’s facility.

University of Arkansas
Ground has been broken on the previously announced baseball and track facility. The facility will cost $9.6 million.

University of Oregon
The $68 million Football Performance Center has been officially unveiled. Among other lavish amenities, the facility includes a barber shop.

In case you missed it- Facilities projects previously mentioned on the site

We updated you on Cal baseball.

USC has won a deal to own the LA Coliseum.

Those financial revelations about Cal’s football stadium aren’t that shocking.


Luke Mashburn is a Game Day Operations Specialist at Kennesaw State University. You can follow him on Twitter @L_Mashburn.

Cal’s Stadium Financing ‘Revelations’ Not So Shocking

Recently Jon Wilner wrote an in-depth series of articles about the issues surrounding the financing of the University of California – Berkeley stadium renovation.  Cal’s athletic director Sandy Barbour responded via letter to the editor in the same paper a few days later.  There are a number of issues embedded in these stories, but one I found particularly interesting is the apparent shock the Board of Regents and other university constituents displayed when the latest financial report failed to meet expectations.

Before we get into this, let’s establish some context.  Originally the Board instructed the athletic department to retrofit the football stadium due to safety concerns caused by the fault line that runs right through it.  The rub was the funds had to come from outside revenue sources (i.e. a classic unfunded mandate).  As Ms. Barbour’s letter points out, Athletics smartly recognized that a retrofit only project wouldn’t inspire the philanthropy and other revenue production needed to cover the cost, so it proposed a plan to improve the facility in additional ways that would benefit donors, sponsors and ticket holders.  They would pay for these upgrades through a bond issue, with revenue from long-term premium seat licenses being used to pay off the debt.

While the project was still in the proposal stage and not yet approved by the Board, the athletic department collected “intent to purchase’ agreements from those who were interested in the licenses.  As of one critical 2009 report to the Board, these letters of intent represented roughly 2/3rds of the total available licenses.  This was seen as encouraging news and contributed to the Board approving the project.

Unfortunately, things have not gone as planned since that report.  Oh the facility has been built and by all accounts it is fantastic.  However the Recession hit full stride and not all those who committed to the licenses actually followed through, the on-field product hasn’t been great and interest on the loans is significant.  That’s when questions really started getting asked, with answers being met with skepticism.  And while the short term financial situation appears to be under control, there were and are valid concerns about the medium and long-term.

But what I find disingenuous is the apparent shock of some in and around the university to the recent “revelation” that when describing its progress at the time of the aforementioned 2009 report, the athletics department was referencing pledges or letters of intent, rather than actual sales.  Well of course they were.  The facility hadn’t even been approved yet.  What athletics essentially had at the time was a survey result of their top prospects: Q: “If we built this would you buy one?” A: “Yes.”  And we’re supposed to believe that brilliant and capable members of the Board of Regents, faculty and other university administrators were all confused or duped into thinking those were actual sales?  I don’t buy it.

It appears much more like they were hoping for the best and are now trying to claim ignorance since things haven’t worked out as planned.  Notice nobody is trying to claim anyone intentionally misled or falsified data; that would be going a bit too far.  At most what you hear is that it was a misunderstanding or mix-up of terminology, as Mr. Wilner notes in his investigative reporting:

A review of dozens of stadium-related interviews, memos and reports from 2009-11 found no evidence that Cal engaged in fraud. Internal documents usually specified that sales figures were based on intent-to-purchase orders, but school officials were less specific in their public comments.

The bottom line is Cal’s decision makers and stakeholders either knew or should have known the figures being used by athletics were pledges and projections, not actual sales.  They should also have been prepared for things to not go as well as the best case scenario.  To claim otherwise at this point just makes them look silly.

Follow Daniel on Twitter @Daniel Hare and at

Triumphant Troy: USC wins deal to own LA Coliseum

By: Myles J. Robinson

The Los Angeles Coliseum has been a staple in America sports, hosting two summer Olympics along with numerous Super Bowls and World Series. Holding on to tradition, the Coliseum Commission, University of Southern California advisors and Los Angeles Science Center board members have just finished their fight for financial control of the National Historic Landmark.

Considering the 2011 scandal, which featured bribery and embezzlement on behalf of three Coliseum managers and their business partners, it should not come as a surprise that USC was able to leverage its way to claim as much as 95% of the naming rights on the Coliseum.

The new partnership allows USC to tear down the neighboring Sports Arena and replace it with a professional soccer stadium or large amphitheater. If the Trojans choose to build a soccer stadium, surprisingly none of the resulting revenues are allowed for public use. Besides USC retaining all ticket and concession revenues at any future Coliseum events, the deal includes numerous other facets:

  • USC must spend at least $70 million on renovations during the deal’s first ten years and $30 million more by 2054 to keep the lease the full term
  • USC has two years to renovate the Coliseum in accordance with “public benefit objectives” (via the December 7, 2011 lease agreement)
  • The California Science Center will receive a $1 million yearly rent payment, which will increase to $1.3 million by 2016

Despite the great assets gained from the private university, there is still disapproval from many different angles. The California African American Museum reported the Exposition Park would lose an estimated $23 million over the life of the 98-year deal. Exposition Park, which receives about 80% of its dollars from parking, includes the Coliseum and neighboring sites like the California Science Center, the California African American Museum and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. California Science Center Foundation Trustee Marvin Holen claims his criticism is centers around education not economics, noting the deal impacts the youth programs at Exposition Park’s neighboring museums. Holen warned against the agreement last week saying, “If anyone had any sense, they’d dial 911.”

San Diego resident Steve Owen is a bit more optimistic, according to the Los Angeles Times:

“I am happy that USC will control the Coliseum…This will be much better than the three-ring circus we have with the Coliseum Commission, one of the most incompetent government agencies ever assembled.”

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden, who was quoted last week in the Daily Trojan, also is in support: “…this deal does not in any way hurt the museums in Exposition Park and in fact helps solve major financial problems looming over the Science Center…”

As the host of two summer Olympics and numerous Super Bowls and World Series, the Lost Angeles Coliseum has been in the hearts of Californians for almost a century. Named a National Historic Landmark in 1984, the Coliseum now seeks to keep its landmark status by making its renovations complimentary to the building, something Soldier Field did not follow back in 2002. The stadium’s future upgrades put it in the lead to contend as the temporary home of a Los Angeles NFL team. It is interesting to note the Rose Bowl is also currently under its own renovation project, which is valued at $152 million.

Fight on, Trojans — this time you’re playing for the public interest of California.

Athletics Construction Roundup- July

The Athletics Construction Roundup is a monthly series on construction of athletics facilities. Each month I’ll provide you with a list of athletic construction projects in progress (and recently completed) across the country, including details on budget and scope of the project.

Ohio State University
Ohio Stadium will see an increase of 2500 seats. The expansion will make the stadium the third largest in the country with a capacity of 104,829.

Old Dominion University
ODU follows our often talked about trend and adds the outline of the state of Virginia to its court.

University of Washington
The Huskies’ baseball facility will receive a $19 million renovation. The project will be completed in time for the 2014 season.

University of California, Berkley
Cal has unveiled its new court design. The athletic department also created this nifty time lapse video of the project.

American Athletic Conference
The American’s first men’s basketball tournament under its new brand will be held in Memphis. The women’s tournament will be held at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut.

University of North Dakota
North Dakota will raze Ralph Englestad Arena to make room for an indoor practice facility. The $20 million UND Athletics High Performance Center will include a 100 yard field and a 300 meter track.

Towson University
This photo gallery of Towson’s $62 million, recently completed arena is worth a look.

Wayne State University
Wayne State has announced Harwell Field, a new baseball facility. In line with the current facility’ features, the project has a very old school feel to it.

University of Connecticut
UCONN has redone its basketball court as part of the athletic department’s rebranding.

Georgia Southern University
As a part of its move to FBS, Georgia Southern has broken ground on two $10 million projects. Both the Football Operations Center and an expansion of Paulson Stadium will be complete before next summer.

University of North Carolina, Charlotte
This interesting piece examines Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson who donated over $10 million to the 49ers athletic department and will have the football stadium named in his honor. Richardson has recently battled with government officials over taxpayer dollars for his own team’s stadium.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
UTC’s McKenzie Arena is currently going through a $1.8 million dollar seat renovation project. Chattanooga’s Player Development Complex, a golf training facility, also received an upgrade in the form of turf hitting stations.

Utah State University
Utah State held a ground break ceremony for the Wayne Estes Center. The $9.5 million dollar facility will serve as a basketball practice facility and volleyball competition facility.

Texas Tech University
Installation work has begun on the new $11 million videoboard at Jones AT&T Stadium. The project is part of a north endzone renovation.

University of Wyoming
Wyoming has announced $30 million worth of renovations to Arena-Auditorium. The $12 million first phase of the project will begin in March 2014.

University of Central Florida
UCF has unveiled one of the most unique court surfaces in the country. Dubbed Operation Blacktop, the hardwood is stained black.

University of Memphis
Memphis allowed its fan to cast votes on a new basketball court design. Sticking with current trends, the selected design will feature both hashtags and local landmarks.

Indiana University
In a unique move, Indiana will display a part of the USS Indiana, a World War II battleship, outside of Memorial Stadium. The monument will be dedicated before the Hoosier’s game against Navy.

Florida State University
FSU’s indoor practice is nearly completed and the athletic department has provided the public with this first look video.

University of Southern California
Under a new lease agreement, USC will manage and renovate the Coliseum. The agreement lasts 99 years.

University of Tennessee
Tennessee has unveiled plans for the Pat Summit Plaza at Thompson-Boling Arena. The court at that facility already bears her name.

Southeastern Conference Institutions
ESPN will be conducting site surveys in order to help the SEC schools get their digital operations prepared for the SEC Network which is set to debut in 2014.

University of Cincinnati
The Board of Trustees approved an estimated $85 million in renovations to Nippert Stadium. The work is scheduled to run from December 2013 to August 2015.

Austin Peay State University
Austin Peay has installed a new center-hung scoreboard at the Dunn Center.


In case you missed it- Facility updates previously mentioned on this site:

The naming rights deal database has been updated multiple times this month.

There is a current trend of adding local flair to playing surfaces.


Luke Mashburn is a Game Day Operations Specialist at Kennesaw State University. You can follow him on Twitter @L_Mashburn.