Making Memorial Stadium more fan friendly....

Discussion in 'Husker Board' started by HBK4life, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. HBK4life

    HBK4life Nebraska Football Hall of Fame
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2004
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    14,799
    Location:
    North of Lincoln South of Heaven
    https://nebraska.rivals.com/news/big-red-business-should-memorial-stadium-s-capacity-be-reduced-
    [​IMG]
    Steve Rosen • HuskerOnline
    HuskerOnline.com
    USC did it, and so did Missouri. Penn State’s master plan calls for doing so, and Tennessee and Alabama might make the same decision.

    All have either reduced seating capacity at their football stadiums or are reviewing plans to do so. It’s all in the name of generating more revenue by offering high dollar premium seating and other special fan amenities.

    As Nebraska reviews options for revamping the long-neglected south end zone of Memorial Stadium, might shrinking capacity be on the table?
    Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos didn’t directly address that question, but he did say this in a statement:

    “We are committed to providing the best possible fan experience in all of our athletic venues at Nebraska, and in particular Memorial Stadium. With that in mind, we look at trends in stadium improvements and amenities at both the college and professional levels across the country.”

    “We have had a number of discussions regarding future upgrades of Memorial Stadium and recognize that South Stadium is a top priority in the future.”

    Sources in the architect and design business say the athletic department has been working hard on making the football stadium more comfortable for fans, especially in the south end zone noted for its narrow stairs and steep joint-grinding pitch to the top. In order to do this, sources said, part of that reconfiguration could involve reducing the seating capacity.

    While renovating the south side has been a hot topic for some time, sources said the planning has taken on renewed emphasis since Nebraska last fall announced plans for a $155 million athletics training facility that will tie into the north side of Memorial Stadium and open in time for the 2022 season.

    Memorial Stadium, which will celebrate its centennial in 2023, has an official seating capacity of 85,458 and is riding an NCAA record 375 game sellout streak. It is among college football’s 20 largest stadiums.

    While the east, west and north parts of the seating bowl have undergone extensive renovations that have also boosted capacity over the last 20 years, the south side has remained relatively unchanged since 1972.

    Any redesign plan that includes downsizing capacity must pass muster on a host of challenges. Could a reconfiguration that involves downsizing address the need for more space and legroom between seats? Is chairback seating a possibility in some sections,along with widening the narrow aisles to help fans get in and out of the south endzone? Would suites be built closer to the field for better views?

    If seating capacity is reduced, how do you fairly treat fans who have been displaced. That’s a sticky issue for Nebraska given that games have been sold out since 1962 and there’s a waiting list of fans seeking season tickets.

    Perhaps the biggest question of all: Would suites and other luxury seating make up for any lost season ticket revenue if overall capacity drops?

    Here’s an example of how the financials could play out:

    There are 101 suites at Memorial Stadium, including 13 in the north section. Those north suites lease for $40,000 to $90,000 annually, with donations. That means that at a minimum, those units generate $520,000 in revenue annually. On the top end at $90,000 apiece, those suites would generate nearly $1.2 million annually.

    Across the field in the south end zone, a large number of seats are for visiting team fans and for students.

    For season ticket holders, there are multiple donation levels.

    For example, a seven-game season ticket package for one seat in one section runs $420, or $60 per game, plus a $150 donation, for a total of $570 per seat.

    If Nebraska were to eliminate 1,000 seats in the south end zone at $570 per seat, that would result in about $570,000 in lost revenue.

    But assuming 13 suites were added in the south stands at the same price points as the north, Nebraska would most likely be coming out way ahead since it is unlikely that all the suites would be leased at the low end.
    Maximizing revenue
    More athletic departments around the country in recent years have been doing the same math. As a result, some Power Five conference schools have opted to place a greater emphasis on offering fans an array of seating options and increased comfort as opposed to playing the numbers game by adding more capacity.

    Shrinking stadium capacity also reflects the hard reality that attendance at college football games has been declining, forcing schools to come up with other strategies to attract fans and their dollars.

    Even Nebraska has issues. True, season ticket renewals are high and there are waiting lists for tickets and suites. But the actual number of ticket holders who show up for the game is less than overall capacity, sometimes far less.

    For many schools, the end zone sections represent prime, and in many cases, untapped real estate that could be transformed into a more productive revenue stream.

    The south end zone of Memorial Stadium is the only part of the bowl without luxury suites and club sections.

    While the athletic department has taken some steps to upgrade the south side by adding more restrooms and installing some wider bench seating, officials have acknowledged numerous times publicly that a bigger solution may be necessary.

    When? A project might be the next in line after the 350,000-square-foot athletic training facility and football locker room opens.

    The athletic department’s review of Memorial Stadium extends beyond seating. As HuskerOnline has previously reported, officials are also looking at a host of issues to improve the game-day experience inside and outside the stadium, including more food options at the concession stands, juiced up music, pre-game entertainment, and moving fans in and out of the stadium with greater ease.
    Reconfiguration plans
    Many schools in the Power Five conferences, have expanded capacity time and again over the years as part of the football arms race. Count Clemson, Texas A&M, Texas and Oklahoma in that list.

    But those days may be over for a while.

    Nowadays, reconfiguring more often than not means reducing seating capacity but providing more premium fan experiences.

    Here are some examples:

    *The historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, home to the USC Trojans and the NFL Rams, underwent a nearly two-year renovation that reduced capacity by 16,000 seats. The Coliseum, owned by a government consortium, held 93,000 in 2017; now it is about 77,500.

    According to Football Stadium Digest, the $300 million facelift allowed for a “wider array of seating options.”

    The highlight of the makeover is the Scholarship Club in the stadium’s south end. It consists of multiple levels, including premium seating and a press box. The renovated also added standing decks and prime concession areas.
     
    redwine65 likes this.
  2. HBK4life

    HBK4life Nebraska Football Hall of Fame
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2004
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    14,799
    Location:
    North of Lincoln South of Heaven
    Knocking out seats and making it more fan friendly would not only make more people want to go to games but will keep the sellout streak going to anger Iowa fans and others who don't think it's a real thing anymore!!Winking
     
  3. redfanusa

    redfanusa First Team All-Big Ten
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Messages:
    3,791
    Likes Received:
    2,272
    Individual seat-back chairs would be nice. There's nothing worse than arriving at your row as the national anthem is playing, and discovering your seats have been overrun by the width of everybody else. You can push, shove, and elbow all you like, but there's no way to fit two grown men between two people already standing shoulder-to-shoulder. Individually numbered seats would eliminate that problem.

    But, personally, I think the reason so many fans used to stand during games was precisely BECAUSE the benches sucked so badly. There's just a lot more room when you stand. You can stand at an angle, or slightly in front/behind of the person next to you, and it's comfortable. Plus, you don't have someone's knees in your back the whole time. Something about standing is also conducive to yelling.

    Reduced capacity in order to install chairs throughout the stadium would probably be accepted by fans without too much grumbling. However, reducing it just for the sake of preserving the bogus sellout streak should result in someone being beheaded by guillotine at the 50 yard line. They just spent tens of millions of dollars EXPANDING the stadium by 8,000 seats, so they'd better not spend tens of millions of dollars trying to reduce it.

    What they really need to do is build a new supercomputing center on campus, and get the data center out of the old football offices under South Stadium. Then they can do for the south what they did for the north. New concourses, new gates, new restrooms, new vending, and access improved by leaps and bounds. My tickets were in the north stadium when that project happened, and for the first time in my life I could actually take a piss during a game.
     
  4. redwine65

    redwine65 All-American
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    4,183
    Likes Received:
    1,446
    they could put in something like bar stool chairs, so you legs hang more down then out..and still have a back rest and cup holder, and not have to adjust any concrete. (they would be easy to manufacture, and just bolt down.) plus it would help when people have to leave their seat.. :Cool: then just eliminate a few chairs in the row to give a few more inches width wise. and of course paint all the chairs red. (that's a no brainer)
     
    4 redwine65, Jan 13, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  5. Husker4real

    Husker4real Sophomore
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Messages:
    1,351
    Likes Received:
    1,550
    Many years ago (and I know a lot of you will remember this), Sports Illustrated named Memorial Stadium as the “Worst Place to Watch Good Football”. Now only half of that is true.

    That said, I have sat in the East Stadium for most games recently. The addition of that enclosed area and it’s easy accessibility is a great upgrade. But the stadium overall is pretty bad experience for a lot of people I think. Especially if you’ve visited any football or baseball stadium built or renovated in the past 10-15 years.
     
  6. goldencohusker

    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2018
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    128
    Seems unrealistic they would reduce capacity solely to improve the fan experience/comfort or to keep the sell-out streak alive, unless it was part of a revenue maximization strategy like the article suggests. That would likely mean you have the option to pay more to be comfortable during the game, or they find other ways to increase revenues - i.e. higher concession prices, higher donation requirements. How much more $$ you have to pay to be "comfortable" would likely impact how much economic stratification such a decision would have on who attends Husker games. I would think that's more of a sticky wicket for a state-aided institution vs a pro sports franchise where that model seems the norm.
     
  7. Bremser

    Bremser Senior
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2004
    Messages:
    2,785
    Likes Received:
    773
    Maybe they could add a jumbo section with double wide seats. That would solve this problem. ...would be a great thing to do on airplanes as well. When I pay for a whole seat, I expect to receive a whole seat. Thoughts?
     
  8. nu2u

    nu2u Redshirt Freshman
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    717
    Likes Received:
    614
  9. redwine65

    redwine65 All-American
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    4,183
    Likes Received:
    1,446
    I think luxury sky boxes would cross that line before better seating for an average fan
     
  10. leodisflowers

    leodisflowers All-American
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    4,495
    Likes Received:
    1,365
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Agreed. As I get older, I don't want to tailgate at full throttle for every game. I will do that for big games, but it was actually pretty nice at the Maryland game this year where I was able to come closer to kick off and enjoy a few beers in the stadium and wrangle my little one. I am also one though that would much rather watch the game live. I love Husker football live and want to be a part of every game I can. I watch most games on TV being out of state, but count me in the camp as I would rather be at the game. That is why I fork the cash out to roll to multiple games a year, home and away.
     
    scarletred likes this.
  11. litespeedhuskerfan

    litespeedhuskerfan Athletic Director
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Messages:
    16,616
    Likes Received:
    6,085
    This isn't rocket science...start selling beer.
     
  12. WHCSC

    WHCSC Senior
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    Messages:
    2,831
    Likes Received:
    2,908
    People are fat now. Give them fat people seats.
     
    husker2612 likes this.
  13. husker2612

    husker2612 Graduate Assistant
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Messages:
    5,272
    Likes Received:
    4,092
    Winning is all it will take. Fans will put up with being uncomfortable, hot, cold, wet,spending hundreds or thousands of dollars ect as long as the team is winning. Right now it isn't worth it for people to watch a piss poor product.
     
  14. Bugeater

    Bugeater Defensive Coordinator
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    May 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,498
    Likes Received:
    3,344
    Location:
    Surprise, AZ via North Platte
    I have all the fan friendly amenities in my family room, so my occasional trips to Lincoln are really good, I have no real qualms, but I can see where the season ticket holders could benefit from things mentioned.
     
  15. Wasker77

    Wasker77 Sophomore
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    Messages:
    1,182
    Likes Received:
    698
    Location:
    Eastern Washington
    This will never happen, but turn off the same old, tired, rock songs that every sports venue plays. I miss the days when you could actually hear the cheerleaders. The marching band should be the only music option.
     
    nwualum likes this.
  16. Lincoln100

    Lincoln100 Recruiting Coordinator
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,641
    Likes Received:
    2,905
    nu2u likes this.

Share This Page