Note: This is the first in a two-part series on the progress of the campaign to build a new football stadium at North Texas. Part two, which will show all of the latest renderings from the architects, will run Sunday on MeanGreenSports.com.
A Suite Deal
The excitement surrounding the new North Texas football stadium is starting to take root. With nothing but schematic drawings in hand, the athletics development staff has been hard at work selling alumni, donors and fans a vision that is coming closer to reality every week.
“We are out there helping people believe in the importance of this project and ensuring them that this is going to happen,” associate athletics director for development Mandy McKinley said. “We are telling them that now is the time to get involved and the positive response shows that people are ready to become a part of the effort.”
Of the 19 luxury suites that are available with the donation of a six-figure gift, eight have already been committed to. The development staff is confident that the remaining 11 suites will be gobbled up well before the stadium’s projected completion date in the summer of 2011.
North Texas alum and Mean Green donor David Riley understands the importance of the project. Along with fellow alum and friend Scott Brown, they are on board and will be watching games in the new stadium from their private suite.
“North Texas is an outstanding institution and we have outstanding facilities that are competitive with anyone in our conference with the exception of our football stadium,” Riley said. “Our current football stadium would not be accepted at the high school level in Texas, much less the fourth-largest university in the state. We have to have a new stadium that matches the class of university that we all know North Texas is.”
The buzz around the new stadium is also energizing donors who were involved at smaller levels and making them eager to increase their giving to help advance the football program and the university as a whole.
“After seeing the progress the athletic department has made with the Mean Green Athletic Village, a new stadium is the final piece of the puzzle to make our facilities comparable to, or better than, any in the area,” said Brandon Buford who last week wrote a check for $25,000 and bought four club seats in the new stadium. “This project is an ambitious goal that will create a new era in North Texas athletics and I am excited and honored to be a part of that.”
Corporate sponsorship will also play a key role in the funding of the new stadium, both from a naming rights perspective and from corporate suite sales.
“Despite the challenges that everyone recognizes, most notably the national economy, we see great interest and support from our corporate partners,” Deputy Athletics Director Hank Dickenson said. “You can never argue with location, location, location and this new stadium is positioned to offer unbelievable exposure to the right mix of sponsors. Throw in the fact that we have tangible growth – at the University, in the City of Denton and in the north Texas region – and this remains a very exciting proposition.”
Marty Rivers is the president of First State Bank in Denton and sees the new stadium as a positive contribution to the university and the entire Denton community.
“The new stadium will act as an economic stimulus to Denton as well as a visual improvement to the thoroughfare,” Rivers said. “We believe that North Texas has put together a solid game plan to fund and build the new stadium and we need to capitalize on all that has happened so far and keep the momentum going.”
While the scheduled groundbreaking is still a few months away, the call for action is happening now and those who don’t get involved soon, might miss the opportunity according to Buford.
“The Athletic Department has worked tirelessly for years to bring this project to fruition and the students have shown their support with the approval of the new athletics fee,” Buford said. “Now is the time for the alumni and community to do their part and take this program to the next level.”