The proposed budget for building a 35,000-seat football stadium on-campus at USF has finally been announced, more than 20 months after the university renewed its push for such a project.
According to the agenda for the board of trustees’ finance committee, the Bulls expect the stadium to come in at a total cost of $340 million, with a financing of $200 million over two decades. Despite receiving no funds from the state or tax dollars, the university will provide the remaining amount. The details, however, are tentative and subject to the board’s approval, but they provide the most comprehensive glimpse yet of the Bulls’ intentions to move to the stadium, situated north of the practice facilities, by the 2026 season.
The agenda item calls for $140 million from the university. That includes:
• $50 million in fundraising from the private USF Foundation.
• $31 million from the capital improvement trust fund. This money generally comes from student fees and pays for buildings like USF’s new student health and wellness center.
• $34 million in auxiliary funds and proceeds from the sale of broadband equipment in 2017.
• $25 million from the expected sale of broadband licenses.
USF would take on $200 million in debt at an estimated 5.5% taxable interest rate to pay for the rest. The Bulls plan to pay for that through new or expanded revenue streams.
The consulting group Conventions, Sports & Leisure International estimated USF will make $7.6 million in ticket sales in the first year, plus another $8.4 million in donations for priority or premium seating. It also estimates more than $700,000 in annual income through parking/concessions, $250,000 for non-gameday rentals/other events and $2.5 million for naming rights to the building; USF makes nothing from those categories at Raymond James Stadium.
The agenda item includes a few noteworthy details: recommendations of 10,000 student tickets, a party patio, and field-level club up to 800 members. There are also 1,900 premium seats, including 1,200 club seats, 40 boxes, and 24 luxury suites.
USF explored a public-private partnership to fund the stadium but chose against it due to the complexity, scope, and nature of the project. It estimates building a stadium for $194 million, but a higher quality stadium is necessary to generate revenue to support construction, through items such as premium seating.