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Should Memorial Stadium Crack the 90,000 Barrier?

Nebraska is currently conducting a survey of fans to gauge interest in expanding Memorial Stadium to possibly accommodate crowds of 90,000 fans or more. Nebraska currently has 3,000 people on a waiting list for season tickets, with 15 names still being interested in skyboxes. But is the demand there for additional seating?

For "big games", such as when Oklahoma and Texas come to Lincoln, there's no question. But for games such as South Dakota State...maybe not. Certainly during the struggles of the Callahan era, ticket demand seemed to be on the decline. In my files, I still have a handful of unused tickets from games when you almost couldn't give them away.

(Truth be told, I still have five unused tickets from Bill Callahan's final home game in 2007 against Kansas State. Someone gave me four additional tickets to the game, and they went unused along side one of my extras.)

The one Nebraska tradition that survived the 2004-2007 error intact is the sellout streak, now at 304 and counting after 47 years. Think about it: the last time there were unsold tickets to a Nebraska game, John F. Kennedy was President. Would adding seats put that sellout streak in danger? Absolutely, if Nebraska football went on a downturn. I've heard reports that the waiting list for season tickets cleared out in 2005, but it never was really publicized. Certainly the campaign to sell out the 2006 stadium expansion was successful enough to restore the demand. (And Bo Pelini certainly has done his part the last two years...)

The only downside towards stadium expansion is the risk of ending the sellout streak. Adding seats likely would be financially viable, as seats along the sideline as well as skyboxes will likely bring in enough revenue to justify the construction cost. It also could significantly improve the ambiance at Memorial Stadium, especially if a tall structure for skyboxes is constructed. Crowd noise from either side could reflect off of the structures on both sidelines as well as the north end zone. Crowds of 90,000+ would likely move Nebraska close to the Top Ten nationally in attendance, trailing only Texas in the Big XII.

It might also open up some opportunities to move the students closer to the field in the south end zone by allowing ticketholders to move to the east stadium. I wouldn't be surprised if fans in the end zones would also consider increasing donations to move into sideline seats, even nosebleed seats in a third or fourth level on the east side.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was quite a bit of interest in expanded club seating in an expanded east stadium. I had the opportunity to sit in the club seats for the spring game, and it was awfully nice to have wide chairbacks and convenient concessions and bathrooms. (It did seem weird taking an elevator up to my seats for a football game, however...)

What do you think? Would you be interested in getting seats in the east stadium? Or are you concerned about the sellout streak ending?