Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, January 06, 2007

"Renovations expected to boost revenues for WSU, local businesses"

From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Anticipation for the renovations and expansion to Washington State University’s Martin Stadium is spreading.

“(WSU) has done a lot to improve the look of campus and its first impressions,” said Jim Sterk, WSU athletic director.

For starters, chain-link fences and port-a-potties will no longer pop up in the middle of campus on game days.

“That is something we wanted to improve and that is something that will improve in the first two phases of renovations,” Sterk said.

Phases one and two — which began Dec. 4 — will add more restrooms and concession stands. They also will improve the circulation of fans in and out of the stadium, as well as around it.

“It’ll just be a nicer place to come for the games,” Sterk said. “That benefits the students, the season-ticket holders, the casual ticket purchasers and the first-timers … they get a better impression of coming to games at Washington State University.”

Sterk said he is even more excited about the third and fourth phases of the stadium project, which are scheduled to begin in 2008. These will help increase revenues and make WSU’s football program fiscally sound in the future.

“As costs of scholarships and travel and salaries continue to go up, we need to look for ways of generating more revenue in athletics so we are not a burden to the institution,” he said.

The third and fourth phases will expand the stadium by adding suites and premium seating on the north side and additional upper deck seating on the east end. Once finished, these phases will increase the capacity by approximately 7,700 seats.

“Because we are the smallest stadium in the conference, we don’t have the advertising, radio and TV deals that our counterparts in the Pac-10 have,” Sterk said. “To generate significant revenues out of premium seating will help us in the future to be more competitive.”

More seats mean more spectators can find their way to the games. With an increase in fans, an increase in revenue is expected to come.

“Bringing more people here will be a great asset,” said Fritz Hughes, executive director of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce. “It will affect the city very positively.”

Hughes said Cougar fans spend an estimated $11 million on a Pac-10 Conference game day. Those dollars are spent on everything from tickets sales and T-shirts to accommodations, gas and food.
Now, we just need more places in Pullman for all these new visitors to spend their money instesd of spending it somewhere else.

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