At a Wednesday afternoon
press conference (Update, Friday morning 9:52 a.m. CT: per assistant director of brand communications Brian Mason all of this news was from the regularly-scheduled meeting of the Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee of the UW Athletic Board). in Madison, the UW Athletic Department laid out plans for major renovations to Camp Randall Stadium, the Kohl Center and the Fieldhouse while discussing the upcoming budget for 2020-21. Todd Milewski at the Wisconsin State Journal has a great recap of everything that was said filled with facts and figures.
However, what I want to talk about is the fact that Camp Randall will have 3,000 fewer seats soon.
Camp Randall Stadium's seating capacity will decrease by about 3,000 with the renovation to the south end zone scheduled to begin immediately after the 2020 football season.— Todd Milewski (@ToddMilewski) February 12, 2020
The topic of attendance at college football games has been a hot one over the past few years. Most schools are seeing a drop in people coming to games and there is a lot of hand wringing among school administrators on how to fix it. Despite what Twitter might have you believe, it isn’t just the students who aren’t showing up either. There are wide swaths of empty seats for Wisconsin games unless it is a rivalry game or Michigan/Ohio State is in town.
Wisconsin Badgers officials visited other schools to see what a potential new south end zone seating section could look like and it will be interesting to see what the Badgers come up with to make the south end zone more appealing.
#Badgers officials visited other campuses to see similar end zone projects. Those campuses included Mississippi State and Arkansas.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) February 12, 2020
It will also be interesting to see if having fewer seats total, but more desirable ones overall, will make a difference in attendance. Milewski notes in his piece that the seats will be “premium”:
At Camp Randall Stadium, a rework of the south end zone seating areas due to begin after the 2020 football season will create premium seating and club space. The project cost has been estimated at $77 million and includes updates to the press box, the installation of new field turf for the stadium and McClain Center and other infrastructure upgrades.
Upgrading the “experience” of attending a college football game seems to be one of the ways that schools are trying to make actually going to the game more appealing. Making it about “more than the game” is definitely a way to appeal to fans that probably have a much more comfortable setup at home.
There is way more information in Milewski’s post about the rest of the renovations being done and what it is going to cost, but the seat reduction at Camp Randall is the one that affects us the most. What do y’all think? Do luxury seats make it more likely for you to go to a game?