Does UC’s Nippert Stadium Expansion Go Far Enough?
October 3, 2013 1 Comment
There you have it. The visual answer to what $86 million looks like when it is added to the fifth oldest stadium in college football, Nippert Stadium. Who doesn’t love renderings? And this one is particularly exciting. Bearcat fans have to be thrilled how this will add to an already wonderful gameday/gamenight atmosphere. Despite the lack of seating capacity by some standards, UC has one of the best venues for viewing the game. Nestled in a former ravine of Burnet Woods, the stadium holds noise and puts fans right on top of the action.
But will this expansion accomplish all the right goals?
The Good News
There’s good news for the fans. The first issue I looked for was some resolution to the cramped concourses. According to the plan both sides of the stadium will be improved. The plans address issues of lack of concessions, inadequate restrooms and poor traffic flow.
The stadium capacity will increase by an estimated 5,000 fans and the amenities in the West Pavilion will be first class.
UC will have a great on-campus venue that blends old and new.
The Conference White Elephant
You won’t find it explicitly referred to on UC websites but this is about improving UC’s position for conference realignment. UC cannot let themselves be left out of the conference shuffle and it’s doubtful that the last round of moves (which saw long-time rival Louisville move to the ACC) will be the last. Will the premium seating revenue alone be enough?
Why Not Lower the Field?
I couldn’t anticipate what the barriers, both anticipated an unforeseen, would be with lower the playing field. But it has already been done once at Nippert so maybe it’s not too crazy of an idea. The Bearcats will play their 2014 home games in Paul Brown Stadium. I would assume this vacancy could have provided a window to “expand downward” and possibly add another 3,000 to 5,000 seats. Or, if nothing else, raising the first rows up from their awkward field level vantage point and increase their revenue potential. There is a crowd of thinkers (fans) who focus on stadium capacities as a “ticket” to the big time. As if… Under this hypothetical, seats are added and the stadium capacity inches closer to the 45,000 seats which would put it firmly in the middle of major conference stadium capacities.
Is it Enough?
I have no doubt that the best and brightest minds have crunched the numbers on this expansion and see it as a path toward increased revenue. The ultimate question is whether this is the best use of funds and is it enough to better position the Bearcats athletic program for a move to one of the power conferences…ACC or Big XII. Let’s hope so.
Get full details of the expansion on UC’s Nippert Stadium Expansion page.
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