The 2019 college football season will yield some major stories across the stadium landscape. While a few major renovations will wrap up, planning for future stadiums will be taking shape, including for one program that will play its final season at its longtime home before moving into a shared NFL facility.
To give an overview of what could be the highlights of the new year, we provide the biggest college football stadium stories for 2019. They include several major renovation projects, continued planning for new stadiums at a few programs, and UNLV’s expected finale at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Major Stadium Renovations Wrap Up
This year, there will be a few multiphase renovations that complete their final round of construction. The highlights are perhaps the renovations to USC’s Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium.
For USC, the LA Memorial Coliseum renovation has been an ambitious project to modernize a venerable venue. Some major work took place ahead of the 2018 season, and construction over the coming months should yield a finished product that includes a reduced seating capacity in favor of more premium seating, improved technology offerings, and more. This year will also see the Coliseum’s first naming-rights partnership go into effect, as the venue will become United Airlines Memorial Coliseum prior to the college football season.
At Sun Devil Stadium, ASU has been working on a Sun Devil Stadium renovation that modernizes the venue while increasing its usability for non-football events. In 2019, ASU is slated to complete the project by wrapping up the stadium’s east side to include air conditioning in its beer garden, finished club areas, and new office space.
Elsewhere, there will be other projects wrapping up. Major end zone upgrades should be completed by University of Iowa and the University of Missouri, while the University of South Carolina, University of Oklahoma, and BYU are among the other programs that could complete stadium upgrades. In addition, the University of Delaware will debut new west side seating as part of the first phase of a $60 million renovation project, while Old Dominion will debut newly rebuilt east and west stands.
Planning for Major Stadiums
There is not a new NCAA Division I FBS stadium opening in 2019, but a few universities will spend the year working on future facilities. The University of South Alabama and University of Alabama at Birmingham can both look forward to new stadiums, with the coming year expected to be South Alabama’s last at Ladd-Peebles Stadium It is slated to open the new on-campus Hancock Whitney Stadium in 2020. UAB, meanwhile, is slated to debut at a new downtown Birmingham stadium in 2021.
One of the bigger developments to watch in 2019 will be in San Diego, where San Diego State University will look to move forward with a major project that includes a replacement for SDCCU stadium and surrounding development. It received a major boost in November, when voters decided to move the SDSU West proposal forward while rejecting the competing SoccerCity, but there is still work that must be completed.
The university and the city must complete an agreement for the SDCCU Stadium site, and an environmental review process will get underway. The goal for university officials is to begin construction in 2020 and open the new stadium in 2022, and what happens in 2019 could determine whether that is achievable.
Sam Boyd Stadium Finale
Home to the UNLV Rebels since 1971, Sam Boyd Stadium has been the site of plenty of memorable moments for the university’s football program. Its time as an active college football stadium is limited, however, as UNLV football is slated to join the NFL’s Raiders at a new stadium when it opens in 2020.
For a growing program, the move to the new Las Vegas stadium will mark a major step, as it will make UNLV one of the key offerings in a modern venue that is expected to help draw major events to the city. Still, the program has had a long tradition at Sam Boyd Stadium, and it will be interesting to see what—if any—initiatives the university announces relating to its final season there.
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