Archive for the ‘Capital Campaigns’ Category

Martin Stadium

Martin Stadium opened September 30, 1972.

Washington State University is using town hall meetings to speed the process of Phase III of its Martin Stadium Renovation. The third step in the four-phase process will feature the addition of luxury suites, loge boxes, and club seats atop the north stands of the stadium. The WSU Athletic Foundation hopes that the town hall meetings will lead to the investment in 80 percent of the club seats. If this level is reached by December 18, the renovation can be completed by the 2011 Cougar Football season, one year ahead of schedule.

Portions of Phase I and Phase II were completed between September 2007 and August 2008. Phase I included the addition renovations to the restrooms in Martin Stadium, new stadium entrances, and year round ticket office. Phase II involved another allotment of restroom upgrades, a new parking area, and a new entry gate. Each of the first two stages involved improving areas that often plague a fan’s experience at athletic events: restrooms, parking, and concessions.

There will be six town hall meetings held in some of the cities with the most Cougar supporters. Five will take place in the state of Washington (Pullman, Seattle, South Sound, Tri-Cities, and Spokane) and another in Portland, Oregon. The town hall meetings will feature Washington State Director of Athletics, Jim Sterk, and members of the WSU Athletic Foundation staff. The town hall meetings will be open to the general public with special invitations sent out to supporters in each particular area.

Town hall meetings allow foundation staffs to get in front of supporters while encouraging their participation in the planning process. By taking these presentations on the road, Washington State was able to get face-to-face meetings with many potential amenity purchasers. This is crucial for the all-important third phase of the renovation that requires mass participation to close each of the boxes and club seats. Washington State also kept the meetings open to the public to allow potential donors who might not be on its radar to attend the event. Town hall meetings can be a great tactic for development staffs to use for a variety of objectives, but it is important to limit their use to prevent over-kill with potential attendees.

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cincinnatiThe University of Cincinnati is currently amidst a large, university-wide capital campaign that will benefit many departments, including athletics. For the Bearcats, the Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex is sitting front and center to all donors wishing to support the Athletics Department. The complex, which will consist of two fields, one 100 yards in length and the other being 50 yards, will support the football and women’s lacrosse programs, among others. As planned, the facility will get an inflatable “bubble” each winter to allow for indoor practices in the chilly Cincinnati weather.

What was unexpected, however, is a recent set of events that kept the facility campaign on track and at the forefront of donor minds. In late September, Bearcat supporter Larry Sheakley, the CEO of the Sheakley Group, initiated a $1 million matching gift challenge to support the campaign. In impressive fashion, the UC support system was able to match Mr. Sheakley’s gift in just two short weeks.

This display of fundraising brings an interesting strategy into light. Instead of merely accepting  a large gift from a donor such as Mr. Sheakley, why shouldn’t other universities propose the gift “challenge” with their top-tier supporters. Not only does a challenge such as this receive media attention, it can also re-invigorate a capital funds drive.

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Bob Stoops, football head coach at the Univers...

Bob Stoops recently made a six-figure gift to the Price College of Business.

On the heels of their recent tennis facility dedication, the Oklahoma Sooners announced that Bob Stoops is giving $150,000 to the Price College of Business. The donation will go towards allowing junior faculty members the opportunity to continue their research and teach at the undergraduate level.

This move, which obviously supports the college of business, furthers the goodwill Oklahoma has created with the academic areas of campus. Earlier this year, ADF wrote about Oklahoma’s $7 million dollar donation back to the general university.

Tennessee Athletics donated $10.35 million back to the school.

Tennessee Athletics donated $10.35 million back to the school.

This continues to be a growing trend in college athletics. Kansas has recently approved the construction of the Gridiron Club, which was passed with a substantial donation back to the general University. Tennessee, who gave $10.35 million, and Florida, who gave $6 million, have given surplus dollars back campus in addition to many others.

Moves like these build goodwill with key constituents across campus and helps cool the anti-athletics talk at many schools. If athletics departments can continue to give back to the campus, it makes it more difficult for critics to discourage the construction of facilities and high coaches salaries as the value provided through athletics to the university enriches the entire institution.

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University of California
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The Regents at the University of California recently approved the financing plan for the reconstruction of Memorial Stadium. The funds, which will be used to renovate and improve the west side of the stadium, will come completely from private donations being raised by the athletics department.

While this approach by itself may seem ordinary, Cal’s approach is truly groundbreaking as the department will fund the project through the Endowment Seating Program (ESP). In this model, the university is asking for donors to “purchase” a seat for an annual fee that can be paid through various payment options. There are four different price level and points as well as four different options. This chart provides an excellent comparison of the seats and the benefits associated with that level.

The ESP, which also has its own website, only affects 3,000 seats in the stadium. Yet these seats will generate enough revenue to not only renovate the stadium, but leave additional funds to create an endowment, one the school is publicizing could eventually reach $1 billion. This would ensure the athletics department a steady stream of income for the foreseeable future.

California Memorial Stadium

California Memorial Stadium

To date, the program has been received well, with 2,000 seats already being sold. These seats, depending on giving level, are held by the donor for a predetermined amount of time (ranging from 50 to 40 years). The seats can be resold or transferred under the donors discretion after payments and the letter of intent has been signed.

The donation for the seat also covers all amenities and the price of season tickets. Participants will be able to lock in the price of their seat for the duration of their endowment, making the seats a fixed yearly payment.

This approach allows donors the ability to choose their seats, not be subject to reseating, and to “own” their seats in the stadium. While this program may not be for all development operations, it highlights a school using a creative approach to fundraising and leveraging their current success to plan for the future.

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Baylor_logoWhen Baylor University wraps its “Victory With Integrity Capital Campaign” at the end of this giving year, it is likely that their goal of $90 million (over five years) will not just be reached, but smashed. The campaign, which has funded facilities, endowments, and the annual fund, will see its goal increased from $90 to $100 million during this home stretch.

Like any university engaging in such a large campaign, Baylor’s staff and coaches have undoubtedly put in the extra effort over the last five years to see their goals reached. However, the annual fund has nearly more than doubled in the past four years (approximately $3 million to well over $6 million), and Baylor’s volunteer program is certainly giving the Bear Foundation the support it needs.

The Bear Foundation volunteers, of which there are around 3000, give their time to reach out to other Baylor alumni and friends for gifts to the athletics department. The volunteer position, complete with a job description, position application, and calendar of events (on the Baylor Fund Drive website), requires participants to renew their annual gift and bring on at least one new member each year.

The Bear Foundation also makes it easy for the volunteers to succeed.  First, there is a phone-a-thon for volunteers to take part in during the fund drive, where they can all reach out to prospective donors in a comfortable setting.  Second, there is a Linked-in group for Baylor volunteers to help them expand their personal contacts and improve their network.  Finally, the Bear Foundation offers fantastic rewards to volunteers, which start with the recruitment of just one new member or $600 new dollars.

The success of Baylor’s campaign, considering the economic troubles of late, can certainly be attributed to the growth of its annual fund through volunteer efforts.  Any university looking for examples on how to invigorate their annual fund should review the practices at Baylor University.

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259060.jpegThe Chancellor of KU and Kansas Athletics has submitted to the University Board of Regents for an expansion of their football stadium. The proposal seeks to add 3,000 seats on the east side of Memorial Stadium.

On the surface, this may look like a traditional announcement to expand a stadium. However, the athletics department is pledging $40 million dollars to university academics, to be dispersed at the Chancellor’s discretion. The construction of the new seats would compliment existing seats and cost around $34 million. In total, the project would cost the Athletics Department $74 million, money to be raised from revenue generated by the sales of the seats.

This proposal is groundbreaking in its commitment to the academic side of the university. In donating more money back to the university than it would cost to construct the building, the Athletics Department is showing its resolve to mesh athletics and academics. The move also enhances the chance of the stadium expansion to be approved, as the project will benefit the entire university, not just the student-athletes.

In conclusion, this commitment could change the way athletics departments around the nation approach facility construction and expansion. By guaranteeing the entire university revenue from the project, the addition is increasingly more likely to be approved.

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Artist rendering of the new McLane Baseball Stadium

Artist rendering of the new McLane Baseball Stadium

ADF will post a periodic listing of updates and innovations in the world of college athletic facilities and the fundraising tactics used to bring them to life. Listed below is a summary of just a few of the many facility projects taking place in college sports today as a result of donor contributions and tireless efforts from development departments around the nation.

EAST LANSING, MI – Michigan State University Baseball is, undoubtedly, eagerly awaiting the arrival of April 3, 2009. The date marks the highly anticipated opening of McLane Baseball Stadium, which will serve as the new home of the Spartan Baseball Team. According to the MSU Baseball website, the new ballpark will seat approximately 2,500 guests and include a number of desirable amenities including a covered hitting/pitching facility with four indoor batting cages with two clay mounds.

Funding: The $4.3 million renovation of the existing Kobs field was completely funded by alumnus (and owner of the Houston Astros) Drayton McLane. McLane is a graduate of MSU, having received a masters degree in 1959. McLane is no stranger to giving, reportedly donating generous amounts to both Baylor University and University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

NORMAN, OK – A new practice and competition tennis center is nearing completion in Norman Oklahoma, home of the University of Oklahoma. The Gregg Wadley Pavilion, 55,000 square feet in size, is named after the donor of the project’s lead gift, Gregg Wadley, founder of Datacom Sciences.

Funding: Oklahoma received the lead gift from Wadley in addition to Other major gifts include $1.5 million from Dallas businessman, OU alumni and former OU tennis letter winner Tim Headington, and $1 million from the Sarkeys Foundation.

IOWA CITY, IA – Carver-Hawkeye Arena, home of the University of Iowa Basketball, Volleyball, and Wrestling programs, will be getting a facelift over the next few years. The renovation plans call for the addition of a practice gym, upgrades to coaching and administrative office space, and the addition of premium club seating.

The Athletic Department plans to pay for the upgrades entirely on their own, which are expected to top $47 million, through a combination of donations and issuance of bonds. The goal is to secure $20 million in donations by way of a set of creative naming opportunities in the arena including: Basketball Court ($5 million), Practice Center ($2 million), Strength and Conditioning Center ($500k), Meeting Rooms ($250k), and Coaches Offices ($100k each), among others. In addition, approximately 550 premium club seats for men’s basketball should serve as another fund-generator with seat prices ranging anywhere from $12,500 to $250,000 for the rights to purchase tickets in the premium area.

FedEx executive Alan B. Graf Jr. presents Memphis AD R.C. Johnson with $3 million donation.

FedEx executive Alan B. Graf Jr. presents Memphis AD R.C. Johnson with $3 million donation.

MEMPHIS, TN – The University of Memphis Baseball team wont be playing their home games at Nat Buring Stadium for the first time since it opened in 1972, but I doubt they are complaining. Their temporary home will be AutoZone Park (home of the Memphis Redbirds minor league team) due to the renovations taking place at “The Nat.” The renovation process will end with the opening of FedExPark next spring. The new baseball stadium will add a press box and suites, a new baseball clubhouse, new dugouts, new concession stands and new restroom facilities to the Tigers’ current home field.

Funding: Memphis’ relationship with FedEx continues to be a benefit to the program. Funding for the new stadium came from FedEx last fall, when FedEx CFO and executive vice president Alan B. Graf Jr. presented athletics director, R.C. Johnson, with a check for $3 million.

ATLANTA, GA – In just a few short days the ribbon will be cut on the new Georgia Tech Softball Stadium. The $5 million stadium, which has been in the works for over ten years, will play host to it’s first game on March 10, 2009. The new stadium comes complete with seating for 1,500, lights for night play, and meeting room space for the players.

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