clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Nebraska Announces Massive $450M Memorial Stadium Renovation

Jon Johnston

Our beloved overlord Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts had a press conference earlier today to announce a massive undertaking to renovate Memorial Stadium, the holiest of all holy college football sites, and make it a much better place to watch Nebraska football games.

Given the announcement - WOOOO BOY - Trev Alberts is one ambitious sumbitch.

First, he recognized that change to the 100-year old stadium needed to be made. Next, he sought out input from the people who use it.

From the athletic department release:

Informed by a 2022 survey that drew responses from 22,000-plus Husker fans about what improvements they wanted to see in the stadium, the modernization project has three overarching goals, according to Athletic Director Trev Alberts:

· Enhance the evolving fan experience that encourages families to come to Memorial Stadium on game day.

· Ensure a modern facility with infrastructure suited for the next century.

· Provide equitable and affordable access for all Husker fans, including dedicated space for students.

Then Alberts looked at that input and came up with a plan! An incredible plan that’s sure to piss off a LOT of people in the process.

Here’s the MAJOR POINTS from the plan, again from the athletic department:

South Stadium demolition and replacement with chair-back general seating.

New chair-back seating in West and East stadiums.

360-degree main-level concourse connection and 270-degree upper-level concourse connection.

Concession upgrades, refurbished menu options and added points of sale throughout the stadium.

Restroom modernization throughout the stadium.

Academic curriculum space, with specific uses guided by UNL’s academic leadership.

Enhanced student life amenities.

ADA upgrades throughout the stadium.

The stadium renovation will begin (if approved by the Board of Regents) right after the 2024 regular season ends. South Stadium will be exploderated. The people who would normally sit in South Stadium won’t be there when this happens, but they will return to games to find their seats.... somewhere else or non-existent during the 2025 season, which is sure to piss a lot of people off.

The whole thing is targeted for completion in August 2026. Again, this is pretty damned ambitious.

The proposed plan is to cost around $450 MILLION. $225M is to come from private donors. Note this bit from the AD:

If approved by the Board, the project will be paid equally from private funds ($225 million) and other funding sources, including up to $50 million from the university’s internal lending program. No student tuition dollars or university general operating dollars will be used. Unlike most athletic departments, Nebraska’s does not receive a subsidy from the university.

Add in cost overruns, which are common in projects of this type, and add in inflation, such as the cost of concrete going through the roof, and we’re likely looking at a $650M to $850M price tag.

61k in 2025? Many people will be incensed. Perhaps they will not return. Perhaps, the athletic department will make even more money from them not returning because the grandfathering of season tickets with a minor donation will end.

Stadium capacity will ultimately be reduced to somewhere around 70k, according to Alberts. This sounds awful, but actually makes a lot of sense. NFL stadiums tender to be smaller than 80k (a magic number for many), rather than larger. The “GAME DAY EXPERIENCE” takes precedence over massive crap tons of people.

Add in the idea that this renovation is for a future way beyond 2026, and it makes even more sense. The population will be dropping with fewer young people. Old people will be angry about change and stop coming to the games.

Not one word was said about Wifi accessibility. Does no one but me care?

Better concessions? Check!

But what’s this:

Restroom modernization throughout the stadium.

I bet this means no troughs and all y’all prolly gonna be plenty pissed about that!

There are plenty of changes here, and plenty for everyone to bitch about. COMMENCE WITH THE DISCUSSION!