Utah State University’s stadium renovation: less room for fans, more room for luxury boxes

Utah State University’s ongoing $36 million renovation of Maverick Stadium will not add any general admission or student seating to the existing venue. The university plans to add 24 luxury suites, 23 loge boxes and more than 700 covered club seats along with upgrades to concessions and bathrooms.

“It’s not an expansion project,” said Jake Garlock, an associate athletic director at USU. “It’s going to be close to even, but we may lose a few seats.”

USU’s stadium has not had a general admission seating expansion since 1980, when 10,000 seats were added to the south end of the bowl making the pre-renovation capacity 25,513. Boise State University’s Albertsons Stadium, another venue in the Mountain West Conference, has had four seating expansions in the same time period and currently has a capacity of 36,387.

Garlock said the focus of the project is luxury and press boxes because those additions generate more revenue than general admission seating.

“The idea here is that the building will pay for itself,” Garlock said. “We leverage it. We’ll make our monthly or yearly payments from the revenue that we get back each year from the building.”

In order for students at USU to attend a football game, a physical ticket must be obtained from the university’s ticketing office. While these tickets are free for all students, there are a limited number of tickets given out for each home game. That’s left some students with a negative view of the renovation.

“Wow that’s crazy, I had no idea,” said Tailor Dunigan, a senior at Utah State. “I don’t understand why they would spend all that money and not add any seats for students.”

“What’s the point of renovating a stadium if they aren’t going to add any more seats?” said Abby Allen, a sophomore at Utah State.

The renovation is slated for completion in August and will remove more than 3,000 seats from games taking place during the 2015 season.

“We’ve blocked off several rows of seats on the left side of the stadium in order to make room for the press boxes,” Garlock said.

After the renovation is complete, the stadium will still house at least 4,000 less people than the second smallest stadium in the Mountain West, University of Nevada’s Mackay Stadium, which currently has a capacity of 30,000.

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