Possible Pathways to Fund Stadium on USF Campus – The Oracle

Sycamore Fields was recommended as the site for an on-campus stadium by the university’s stadium committee. SPECIAL AT ORACLE/USF

Plans to build a soccer stadium on USF’s campus are underway, with 2026 being positioned as an “aggressive” goal for Opening Day. Before Bulls fans start planning tailgates near the Greek Village, however, the school needs to figure out how the stadium will be paid for.

Recent examples from college football show a mix of corporate investment, tuition and government funding.

The USF Athletics plans to present the board of directors with an overall budget for the project at its next meeting on June 15, according to vice president of athletics Michael Kelly.

Construction cost estimates are expected to be between $250 million and $400 million, depending on the Tampa Bay Weather.

Since Sunday, the university has received pledges from longtime donors Frank and Carol Morsani as well as Jeff and Penny Vinik for a total of $10 million in private funding.

Even with the possibility of new donations, USF must find other ways to fund construction. One route most stadium projects take is to secure investment through an exclusive naming rights deal.

The most recent on-campus FBS stadium to open was at the University of South Alabama in 2020. The school announced a 10-year partnership with the Hancock Whitney Corporation in 2019 for naming rights to the 25,000-seat venue , according to AL.com.

Although the terms of the agreement have not been officially disclosed, the university stadium investment opportunities The webpage lists the stadium’s naming rights at $10 million.

An official figure exists at Colorado State University, which opened its own on-campus stadium in 2017. The university announced a 15-year, $37 million deal with Canvas Credit Union for naming rights in 2018 to help pay the $220 million price tag for the facility. label.

For another example, USF can look in the AAC. Houston began playing football at TDECU Stadium in 2014 with a naming rights agreement with the Texas Dow Employees Credit Union. The deal was for $15 million over 10 years, according to the Houston Chronicle.

A student referendum in Houston in 2012 showed overwhelming support for a fee of $45 per student per semester, the Associated Press reported. More than 9,000 students out of a total of 40,746 students participated in the vote, the highest turnout in the school’s history.

Final approval from the UH Board of Directors was still required. A summary of the minutes from a March 2012 meeting detailed the stadium’s funding model and included a $24 million contribution titled “Tuition Bonds“, but did not specify an amount per semester.

The University of Houston did not respond to the Oracle for confirmation at press time, although it is clear that some sort of fee has been put in place.

Similar student fees may be on the cards at USF, although this is yet to be confirmed. For what it’s worth, a 2018 student referendum for fees of $6 to $9 per credit hour drew more opposition than support, according to records obtained by the oracle.

Of the 1,753 USF students who participated, 48% voted against the introduction of such fees. At the time, there was a student population of 50,755, according to the 2018-19 USF Facts System.

In the event that these methods do not meet the estimated costs, USF may have to seek government funding in the form of tax-exempt bonds. These basically work like low interest loans and have to be repaid.

Some schools, like Ohio State University, issued a bond to pay for the construction of athletic facilities and then charged their respective athletic departments rent for their use, according to ESPN. The payments were then used to reduce the debt incurred.

USF can also hope to save some money once they finally leave Raymond James Stadium. Under its current agreement with the Tampa Sports Authority (TSA), the university does not pay rent but is charged licensing fees for operating the stadium each game day, according to the Tampa Bay Weather.

In November 2021, the TSA recorded just over $1 million in year-to-date revenue from college football licensing fees, according to documents on the agenda of a December TSA finance committee meeting.

That would represent all six USF home football games played in 2021. That’s still $1 million a year that could cover the overall cost of an on-campus stadium. The university’s lease with Raymond James Stadium expires in 2027.

The ins and outs of the financial scope of building a state-of-the-art college football stadium are exhausting, but it’s likely that USF will have a more concrete plan this summer.

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