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No plans yet for expanding Kinnick Stadium

[ 0 ] September 23, 2011 |

At present, demand outweighs supply when it comes to Iowa football season tickets.

But the demand is not yet to a point the University of Iowa is thinking about making additions to Kinnick Stadium.

“I think to make our stadium a lot bigger would not make sense,” Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said. “I don’t have any thoughts about that.

“But in the future, if we’re going to make some changes to Kinnick Stadium, I could see some renovations to the north side. And this is down the line … this isn’t imminent.”

The north end zone bleachers were installed in 1983, adding 6,000 seats to the stadium. The south end zone was completely re-built from the ground up during the $89 million renovation in 2005.

Kinnick Stadium holds 70,585 and Iowa has enjoyed sellouts in 51 of the last 53 games. But how many fans are left on the outside looking in?

After all, each one could be a customer willing to hand over their money to an Iowa athletic department with an ever-expanding budget.

Ticket manager Pam Finke guessed there were a few thousand people who applied for season tickets who didn’t get them this fall. But many fans who didn’t get season tickets in 2010 did this year.

“A lot of people that had mini-seasons last year got full seasons this year when they applied,” Finke said. “We fill them based on priority points, so the alums, the ones that joined the I-Club, got them.”

In other words, Iowa is not even close to becoming Green Bay, where fans can sit on the waiting list for decades before getting season tickets.

“The demand ebbs and tides depending on the schedule,” Finke said. “And on team performance and expectations.”

As much as Hawkeye fans love the tailgating and the atmosphere on football Saturdays, the crowd still often comes back to on-field performance.

Iowa hasn’t had a losing regular season since 2000, but sellouts haven’t always been the norm. When coach Kirk Ferentz started at Iowa, he only had three sellouts his first three seasons — Nebraska (1999), Iowa State (2000), and Michigan (2001).

And Barta only has to look to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, where big crowds showed up for decades until the last few years when the program really struggled on the court.

“Right now we’re very blessed and very fortunate that our fans are excited,” Barta said. “That’s a great credit to Kirk and his staff, the continuity, the ongoing success they have. I’ll never take it for granted.”

One area where demand has really jumped has been for the outdoor club seats in the Kinnick Stadium press box.

There are 1,178 outdoor club seats, and the waiting list is “pretty long” Finke said.

Barta said in addition to renovating the north end zone, more premium seats could be another potential future project.

“Maybe we don’t grow the capacity by that much, but maybe add more premium seats,” Barta said. “We have a long waiting list for the outdoor club area; that’s probably our most popular area.”
Iowa also could add revenue in the current stadium by raising donation levels.

When Iowa reopened the renovated Kinnick Stadium in 2006, it did so after a massive reseating of the stadium. Most of the prime seat locations came with a mandatory donation.
In 2006, Iowa said it would revisit those donation levels and zones in five years.

“We haven’t raised donation levels for about six years,” Barta said. “Would we do that in the next five years? Probably. But we haven’t said we’re going to expand the number of seats that are donor seats.”

At the end of the day, the demand remains tied to the on-field product. Ferentz has a contract that runs through 2020, but noth-ing is guaranteed.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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