Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

memp600

On Campus Stadium

72 posts in this topic

I want to know what everyone here in this forum thinks about the new stadium on the fairgrounds. The consulting reports should be due here at the end of this month. Personally I think the university of memphis would best be served with an on campus stadium but I would also support renovations to the liberty bowl. Mabye clean the area up around the stadium.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I want to know what everyone here in this forum thinks about the new stadium on the fairgrounds. The consulting reports should be due here at the end of this month. Personally I think the university of memphis would best be served with an on campus stadium but I would also support renovations to the liberty bowl. Mabye clean the area up around the stadium.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As an alum of the University of Memphis and a lifelong fan, I dream of having an on-campus stadium. I believe this would go a long way towards giving the University a legitimate "college feel" which it now lacks.

Realistically, I don't see how the UofM Athletic Department, which consistently loses money and relies on a handful wealthy benefactors just to keep John Calipari around, can come up with the funds to build its own stadium.

I oppose constructing a new stadium at the fairgrounds. While I was supportive of constructing FedExForum, I do not believe our city is in a position to sink another $250-300 million into another sports venue just three years after the downtown arena was completed. Those capital funds would be better invested in our decaying infrastructure - including recreational facilities such as parks, golf courses and public pools - than being spent on a stadium that will only be used a dozen times per year. Furthermore, the economic benefits cited by supporters are unlikely to materialze given the stadium's relatively infrequent use. The Pyramid, which was used 70-100 times per year, failed to turn the historic Pinch Distric into a tourist mecca. Why should we expect a football stadium wedged between a dangerous slum and a railroad yard to do any better?

That leaves renovation of the Liberty Bowl as the most realistic and most politically likely option. I expect the consultants to tell us that it will cost $60 to $75 million to modernize the L.B. and extend its useful life another 20 years. That's still just 20-25% of the cost of a so-called state-of-the-art facility. The basic design of the stadium is quite good, it is structurally sound, and it already has some amenities (skyboxes, jumbotron, FieldTurf) that are expected of a modern stadium. What needs to be accomplished is...

-Compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act

-New, much larger locker rooms

-New media/interview facilities

-An expanded, or perhaps new, press box

-Stadium club/restaurant

-Most importantly - improvement of the surrounding grounds and a transformation into a park-like setting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An on campus stadium is the only way to go, but as cdarr mentioned the University of Memphis Athletic Dept. only relies on about a dozen extremely wealthy folks for funding and they all support the Liberty Bowl facilities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would prefer it be downtown on the Pyramid side. They could use the same incentives and creating measures as the FEF to help pay for it. Unfortunately the city of Memphis should not be building an arena on a college campus. That is the state's job. I do not think the Liberty Bowl is good because of location and you can't create a district around that. Build downtown and turn the Pyramid into a hotel plus since BASS is never going to do anything just like they did in Buffalo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unfortunately the city of Memphis should not be building an arena on a college campus. That is the state's job. I do not think the Liberty Bowl is good because of location and you can't create a district around that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I generally agree that the city shouldn't contribute funding to a UofM on-campus stadium, but with one exception. If the UofM was somehow able to raise a substantial portion of the funds necessary to build on campus (via private donors, state funding, naming rights, etc.), an argument could be made that the city should contribute some, although not all, of the money it would take to keep remodel and maintain the Liberty Bowl. Here's why:

1. Memphis, the city, needs a serviceable football stadium for non-UofM events such as the Southern Heritage Classic and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl game. A stadium is a civic amenity. Even if there was no UofM football, it would be hard to imagine a city the size of Memphis having no stadium.

2. If the University built its own stadium, such events could be housed there; the city would no longer be required to upgrade/maintain its own stadium.

3. Contributing $50 million or so towards a UofM stadium would, in effect, get Memphis a new stadium without requiring city taxpayers to foot the entire bill.

Under those circumstances, whereby the city would essentially "outsource" its football stadium to the UofM, I would support the city helping to fund an on-campus stadium through revenue streams other than property taxes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As an alum of the University of Memphis and a lifelong fan, I dream of having an on-campus stadium. I believe this would go a long way towards giving the University a legitimate "college feel" which it now lacks.

Realistically, I don't see how the UofM Athletic Department, which consistently loses money and relies on a handful wealthy benefactors just to keep John Calipari around, can come up with the funds to build its own stadium.

I oppose constructing a new stadium at the fairgrounds. While I was supportive of constructing FedExForum, I do not believe our city is in a position to sink another $250-300 million into another sports venue just three years after the downtown arena was completed. Those capital funds would be better invested in our decaying infrastructure - including recreational facilities such as parks, golf courses and public pools - than being spent on a stadium that will only be used a dozen times per year. Furthermore, the economic benefits cited by supporters are unlikely to materialze given the stadium's relatively infrequent use. The Pyramid, which was used 70-100 times per year, failed to turn the historic Pinch Distric into a tourist mecca. Why should we expect a football stadium wedged between a dangerous slum and a railroad yard to do any better?

That leaves renovation of the Liberty Bowl as the most realistic and most politically likely option. I expect the consultants to tell us that it will cost $60 to $75 million to modernize the L.B. and extend its useful life another 20 years. That's still just 20-25% of the cost of a so-called state-of-the-art facility. The basic design of the stadium is quite good, it is structurally sound, and it already has some amenities (skyboxes, jumbotron, FieldTurf) that are expected of a modern stadium. What needs to be accomplished is...

-Compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act

-New, much larger locker rooms

-New media/interview facilities

-An expanded, or perhaps new, press box

-Stadium club/restaurant

-Most importantly - improvement of the surrounding grounds and a transformation into a park-like setting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Four questions. 1 Would you support a renovated LB if it means losing seating capacity? Which in turn would mean possibly losing SHC & Autozone LB?2.Would a renovated LB do something about the lost in tax payer dollars on upkeep for the Coliseum? 3. Wiil a renovated proposal generate New Housing,retail, Dining, and possibly attract a BCS Bowl Game?4. Oh, by the way a renovated LB will still be wedged between a dangerous slum and a railroad yard how will that help tourism?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know why willie willie is so adamant about a new stadium. We have a lot of issues outside of wasting this kind of money on a new stadium that we don't need. The last time I checked the tigers weren't exactly selling out their games, heck they don't even fill up half the stadium except when ole miss and tennessee come. Also, the stadium proposed, if they build something similar to louisville's, is not going to bring us an nfl team.

The liberty bowl is a perfectly good stadium, pending renovations. They could spend 80 mil bringing the stadium up to codes, new concessions, and building a whole new skybox system. If the city is really unwavering from spending 250 million dollars, than they could use the rest of the money to clean up the area. Add community centers and other facilities that will help the poor get out of poverty. Also build a very nice park system for the wealthy so they have an inviting place to walk. While they are at it, they might as well spend some money on the streetscape because the stadium would look tons more attractive to me if I saw flower beds and trees along the streets rather than a crumbling infrastructure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know why willie willie is so adamant about a new stadium. We have a lot of issues outside of wasting this kind of money on a new stadium that we don't need. The last time I checked the tigers weren't exactly selling out their games, heck they don't even fill up half the stadium except when ole miss and tennessee come. Also, the stadium proposed, if they build something similar to louisville's, is not going to bring us an nfl team.

The liberty bowl is a perfectly good stadium, pending renovations. They could spend 80 mil bringing the stadium up to codes, new concessions, and building a whole new skybox system. If the city is really unwavering from spending 250 million dollars, than they could use the rest of the money to clean up the area. Add community centers and other facilities that will help the poor get out of poverty. Also build a very nice park system for the wealthy so they have an inviting place to walk. While they are at it, they might as well spend some money on the streetscape because the stadium would look tons more attractive to me if I saw flower beds and trees along the streets rather than a crumbling infrastructure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The city is faced with only one truly pressing issue here. ADA compliance is mandatory. The stadium will not be allowed to remain open without correcting the accessibility issues. The city will have no choice but to spend that money - unless somebody wants to argue that it's not the city's responsibility to provide a stadium. I think most of us agree that's not a realistic argument, and that a "basic municipal stadium" (like parks, golf courses and pools) is a recreational amenity that would be expected of a city this size.

Anything beyond the ADA improvements, however, should be considered discretionary. The stadium can continue to function marginally as a home for the Tigers, AutoZone Liberty Bowl and Southern Heritiage Classic without much else being done, although all three would benefit greatly from some major renovations. As I see it, further amenities such as new locker rooms, larger media facilities, improved skyboxes, chairback seats, or a stadium club go beyond the concept of the "basic municpal stadium" and should be paid for by the tenants (UofM, AZLB, SHC) and/or those people (like me) who buy tickets for the events. Such things could be financed through ticket surcharges and, in the case of the UofM, fundraising.

I agree with G-town that another appropriate expenditure of city funds would be improving the Liberty Bowl's surroundings, which are not at all inviting. memp600 is right about the winning, too. UofM would have less trouble funding Liberty Bowl amenties that it wants or, perhaps, an on-campus stadium with consistent winning and more demand for tickets. They were on the right track in 2003-2005, and hopefully they'll get back there this year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3. No, but I strongly doubt that a new stadium will generate those things either. What's the appeal of living next to a stadium? If it's such a great place to live, why is the Liberty Bowl surrounded by some of the poorest neighborhoods in town? What's the appeal of shopping or dining next to a usually-empty stadium? The economics don't work. Lots of people around there for a few hours 9 days a year; nobody around for the other 356. And if you want to build a stadium to attract a BCS game here, in Memphis, where it can be in the 30s or 40s on January 1st, then we're talking about a $500 million + domed stadium with 80,000 seats. That's a far cry from what the mayor is proposing.

4. A renovated L.B. not attract tourism. You are correct. But it's far less than expensive than a $250-300 million stadium that also won't attract tourism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1. Yes, I would support a renovated L.B. with reduced capacity. The figures I've seen and heard place post-renovation seating capacity at around 55,000. SHC hasn't drawn more than 55,000 (according to this link) in over a decade, so it will do fine for them. The Liberty Bowl has drawn as much as 58,000 paid attendance in recent years, but they would benefit greatly from other amenities (such as larger media facilities and locker rooms). Neither of them would go anywhere.

2. The Coliseum doesn't have anything to do with the Liberty Bowl. It's a separate facility. If it can't make enough money to pay for its own upkeep, sell it. If it can't be sold, demolish it.

3. No, but I strongly doubt that a new stadium will generate those things either. What's the appeal of living next to a stadium? If it's such a great place to live, why is the Liberty Bowl surrounded by some of the poorest neighborhoods in town? What's the appeal of shopping or dining next to a usually-empty stadium? The economics don't work. Lots of people around there for a few hours 9 days a year; nobody around for the other 356. And if you want to build a stadium to attract a BCS game here, in Memphis, where it can be in the 30s or 40s on January 1st, then we're talking about a $500 million + domed stadium with 80,000 seats. That's a far cry from what the mayor is proposing.

4. A renovated L.B. not attract tourism. You are correct. But it's far less than expensive than a $250-300 million stadium that also won't attract tourism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The coliseum has everything to do with it. Here's why, the proposed site for a new stadium is where the coliseum is now. A renovated libertybowl is more expensive than you think 80 million for LB and add another 15-20 million for upgrades on the coliseum which also has to be brought up to ADA compliance or torn down. This panel seems to forget that this is about both venues, so even if you renovate you still have to spend more money on the coliseum. 2)Cdarr I don't know what you do for a living but, Henry Turley builds residential housing for a living and I might add he's pretty good at deciding where is a good location, I understand you dislike the area thats fine. My understanding is Turley and several other investors have looked at the Fairgrounds and have decided it is a prime piece of real estate. The aim is to rebuild the site not stagnate it by not building new housing. Even CBHS has made public statements that they would consider putting Apartment dorms on the site. IMO these are people with vision not people who are short sighted. I think everyone on this panel is aware of Mr. Turley's expertise and success. The issue is this.

1. How much will it take for both venues?

2.What type of funding aside from tax dollars can be used to finance a new stadium.

3.What will be the total cost of a new venue, let's wait until the final numbers are presented and then will we know more if and if it will take 350 million and tax dollars to build it then I say No. However if the city can be creative and spend 100 million city funding and the rest from state, naming rights, luxury suite sales, parking, tdz's, and the 20 million already there for LB upgrades I say do it and I will be one of the first in line for season ticket's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Re 3: I don't think that there's any less of a draw living next to a stadium than living on campus next to a stadium, particularly if renovations are geared toward creating a campus-style park atmosphere. The idea isn't that the stadium is the draw for shopping or living, but the stadium is a piece of a smorgasborg of amenities that, together, create a synergy for living, working, and playing.

Re 4: I think there are arguments to be made that, if done right, and depending where in the city such a fcaility were built, a 250-300 mill stadium could enhance tourism and convention prospects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Re 3: I don't think that there's any less of a draw living next to a stadium than living on campus next to a stadium, particularly if renovations are geared toward creating a campus-style park atmosphere. The idea isn't that the stadium is the draw for shopping or living, but the stadium is a piece of a smorgasborg of amenities that, together, create a synergy for living, working, and playing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The coliseum has everything to do with it. Here's why, the proposed site for a new stadium is where the coliseum is now. A renovated libertybowl is more expensive than you think 80 million for LB and add another 15-20 million for upgrades on the coliseum which also has to be brought up to ADA compliance or torn down. This panel seems to forget that this is about both venues, so even if you renovate you still have to spend more money on the coliseum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The on-campus stadium would have the advantage of a ready-made community waiting for it. The Fairgrounds, conversely, would be depending on the draw of the stadium to spur such development. Can it happen? Maybe, but it's a very big risk for a city that has relatively limited amounts of capital (public or private) to throw around on big civic projects. Similar arguments, and similar dreams, surrounded the decision to build The Pyramid. We were told that the Pyramid would revitalize the Pinch District, but it never happened; in fact, shutting down The Pyramid has actually helped open the door for infill projects because the vacant lots are no longer profitable for parking!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So just because big dreams of Pyramid-stimulated development was followed temporally by oceans of asphalt does not mean the dreams caused the asphalt, and does not mean that future big dreams will cause future oceans of asphalt or future failures of those big dreams. The lesson should never be to not dream big, but to learn from our past, fill in the gaps, and always realize our future potential is much greater than our past achievements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hear you, Clobber. I'm generally a big-dreamer for our city, but just not sold on this project. It's probably for a combination of reasons. As a UofM alum and fan, I admittedly have some bias towards an on-campus stadium because I think it would be best for the school. I'm also becoming more and more of a preservationist, so in absence of an on-campus facility I'd like to see us do what we can with our existing stadium. Financial arguments could sway me in favor of a new Fairgrounds stadium - for example, if revitalization of the L.B. and its surroundings would be more than 50% of the cost of a new facility. I will be surprised, however, if that's truly the case.

Mistakes were undoubtedly made with the Pyramid. The city basically took a "build and forget" approach to it, much like what it did with the Mud Island park a decade earlier. There were also competing interests at play - the Beale Street merchants and property owners did not want another entertainment district emerging in the Pinch when they were still struggling to stand on their own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sounds like you're in support of a renovated LB as part of an overarching world-class redevelopment of the Fairgrounds area? As long as it's not a new stadium? For me, the meat of the improvements of both the Fairgrounds and the university area lies not in a big anchor like a new stadium, but the details of everything else. In that sense, I don't think we're in disagreement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yep. I would love to see an OCS, but the odds of that are slim right now considering that all of the support comes from a few noisy boosters and lots of people like me with little or no money.

The next best option to me is a first-class L.B. renovation combined with substantial redevelopment of the Fairgrounds. Specifically, I would like to see the stadium surrounded by a landscaped park that would be suitable for pregame tailgating, but also for other recreational uses the other 99% of the time. Perhaps link it to Tobey Park on the other side of Central. The remainder of the Fairgrounds should be redeveloped with many of the uses being discussed here, and that should happen regardless of what happens with the stadium.

In the event that renovation of the L.B. itself (exlcuding the grounds work, which must happen anyway) exceeds $100 million, I might be more inclined to build a new stadium.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would prefer it be downtown on the Pyramid side. They could use the same incentives and creating measures as the FEF to help pay for it. Unfortunately the city of Memphis should not be building an arena on a college campus. That is the state's job. I do not think the Liberty Bowl is good because of location and you can't create a district around that. Build downtown and turn the Pyramid into a hotel plus since BASS is never going to do anything just like they did in Buffalo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.