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Committee approves new USF football stadium

The finance committee for the Board of Trustees approved borrowing $200 million for a new USF football stadium, clearing the way for the full board to approve the $340-million on-campus project next week.

The Bulls play games at Raymond James Stadium, but an on-campus home has been on the athletic department’s radar for years now. The current plan calls for a 35,000-seat facility, seen as key at a time when we are seeing plenty of reconfiguration in college-football conferences and the University of South Florida is seen as a prime contender to land in a major conference because of the size of the Tampa media market. That means an upsized football program at a time when other major Florida universities are upsizing their college-football facilities; the school is in an arms race. From the Tampa Bay Times:

The Bulls intend to borrow the other $200 million over 20 years with an estimated taxable fixed interest rate of 5.5%. They plan to service that debt — about $17.8 million per year — with new revenues from the stadium like ticket sales, concessions, parking and sponsorships. Attendance and on-field results, then, will be critical in whether USF hits projections that chief financial officer Richard J. Sobieray called conservative.

“We’ve got to put a winning team on the field,” Sobieray said. “Honestly, I think this is going to improve those odds for us to do that.”

USF and the design-build team of Populous and Barton Malow have had more than 40 meetings with students, employees, fans, alumni and others to discuss various non-athletic uses for the 35,000-seat stadium. Income from concerts or conferences, for example, will help pay down the debt.

Rendering courtesy USF.

RELATED STORIES: Study on Proposed New USF Football Stadium ReleasedUSF Launching Survey for New On-Campus StadiumUSF Presents Study on Proposed On-Campus Stadium

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