Stadium: End Of The Beginning

 

badurban

Seats here are too far away from stadium and not on top of the field like this other example of a great urban stadium within essentially the same square acreage footprint.

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Roughly six years ago, a Temple University Board of Trustees member told a friend of mine at the NCAA Tournament that a football stadium on campus was a “done deal.”

My friend has a lot deeper pockets than me and often traveled to see the football team in remote Middle Atlantic Conference places like Mt. Pleasant, Michigan and Oxford, Ohio, with reports about the Temple fan presence there.

Often, he was it–the guy who was invited to home tailgates by the Central Michigan and Fake Miami fans like an alien who landed in a flying saucer.

This December, his move to Coral Gables, Florida made him a more likely prospect than I to make the Gasparilla Bowl and he bellied up to President Dick Englert at a pre-game function and dropped the question about whether or not Temple will build a new football stadium.

“We’ll see,” the coy Englert said.

goodurban

Temple fans should accept no less than this kind of stadium

Well, we saw a little bit on Thursday when the university announced to the world that the stadium is presenting plans to the city for the building of a “multi-purpose facility.” Notice the word “multi-purpose.” If it had been “a stadium” the already negative view of many of the city pols would have been further polarized.

Make no mistake about what happened Thursday.

This is not the end of the stadium process but the end of the beginning. The end is a long, long way away.

It was nice to finally see an artist’s conception of the stadium. To me, that was disappointing. The seats are too slopped back and not on top of the field. Some tinkering needs to be done on the architects’ end. Make the stadium like Boston College here and we’re in; otherwise, where is the Temple home field advantage?

The timeline that many stadium proponents state continues to be: Shovel in the ground by August, stadium done by 2019.

For someone who has lived in Philadelphia all of my life and knows the ins and outs of the corrupt political system here, that’s a pipe dream.

Figure on two years of hassle with the city and a shovel in the ground by 2019 at best. At worst, figure a thumbs’ down from the city and an extended Linc lease. I’m a lean toward a stadium at Temple because I think the ceiling for interest in Temple football is 35K at best. That still looks horrible in a 70K stadium and perception to many is reality.  Still, to think that today’s announcement puts this on a fast track to completion is pure fallacy.

Plan on going to that stadium for the opener maybe 2021 but more likely 2022.

I will have to eat a lot more salads, drink a lot fewer beers and work out about two extra hours a day to definitively  say I will see The Promised Land with you but I promise to try.

From what I’ve been told by my Philadelphia City Council peeps, there are 10 elected members and seven at-large members. For this to pass in the county, there will have to be nine votes. Right now, Temple can count on four. Getting to nine will not be impossible, but it will be close to impossible.

This is not the end but the end of the beginning. The end of the end could be longer than anyone knows. In short, not a done deal by a longshot.

Monday: Five Unanswered Questions

19 thoughts on “Stadium: End Of The Beginning

  1. Maybe I’m just being a curmudgeon over the stadium and I totally get the cost issues with Lurie, but dang is it nice to play at the Linc (I sit at the 45-47 yd line) with all of the stadium’s amenities. Plus, I’ve always wondered how much it helped Kraft to set up big time opponents at home because we are one of the few that use an NFL stadium. I’m sure it helped with scouting too. Finally, I’ve always expressed concern over the ~35k stadium idea. Sure, it meets the needs of today, but does it meet the needs of a NYE game team? Not suggesting we’re going to hit that mark tomorrow. The last decade of this team has shown methodical improvement (read, the slope trends up). Being at the Penn State and ND game a couple years back was magical and PACKED. I’d like to see that again, and we don’t have the land to “build now and plan for growth”. What we get is what we will have.

    They better still have those sausage sandwiches at TU Stadium….

    • It’s a hard call either way but I certainly hope it doesn’t look anything like that stadium in the drawing. Give me the FAU stadium over that any day of the week. They can fit it into that shoehorn but making it three decks and putting the seats a lot closer to the field.

  2. Maybe it’s less expensive to build it the way it’s shown in the drawing instead of multiple decks over each other. And maybe all the “multi-use” things like stores, restaurants, class rooms, etc. would be built under the seating as shown, altho seating doesn’t have to cover the other facilities so stacked deck seating could be done. And maybe (hopefully) it allows for future expansion upward adding decks later. Seems like the upper seating shown could be moved forward over the lower seats to achieve the stacked deck effect you refer to Mike. All in all tho, I’ll bet cost probably has a lot to do with the design.

  3. I’ll say the same thing here , that I said to my ex mother in law, who didn’t like the way I designed my house.

    “Pay for the house, and you can have it built anyway you’d like”. The same goes to you, Mr. Gibson.

    • To me, one of the main reasons to build a stadium is to give Temple such a homefield advantage that conference opponents fear coming here. That design defeats the purpose. I don’t see much more of an advantage with this design than what we currently have at the Linc in terms of sound. Hate to build something that our fans regret when we have models like the BC one and the Georgia Tech one that put the fans closer to the action for essentially the same price tag.
      Georgia Tech Stadium

      • So your basing your opinion on the project based on an artist rendition of the stadium ?

        And you can really tell from that conception that the seats are going to be sloped and not on top of the field ? The details in that artist rendition of the proposed stadium aren’t that clear to me.

        The Temple home field advantage will be having home field on campus . Imagine thousands of screaming fans cheering , as the temple diamond band leads the team out of the EO complex Saturday morning, down Norris Street towards the stadium .

    • That scenario you described is no different than what Temple has at the Linc now. Mike is right. Maximize the noise inside the stadium DURING THE ACTUAL GAME by keeping the sound inside and not letting it escape. A more enclosed stadium with fans right on top of the action does that. (Anyway, hasn’t Englert said that he will look at ways at reducing the noise for the neighbors? Keeping it in the box accomplishes that.)

  4. The Linc helps with recruiting Ben? What high school kid comes to what looks like an empty stadium (25K in a stadium that holds 70k looks like a ghost town). Not only will a Temple Stadium improve recruiting efforts, it will help build on the academic progress by drawing more students and increasing admissions competition. This could be another model….looks like that project was a year and a half, but this is Philly

  5. Biggest concern is the budget numbers that have been put out there, $130 million. In this market, I think you get something close to a high school stadium on steroids, which is kind of what that rendering looks like. Don’t know how much that helps the program move forward. The other question I have, do students currently get tickets to the game for free / minimal cost? I ask this because one of the “selling” points of the OCS is that students “can just roll out of bed” to a game, but will that really be the case if the cost of tickets is considerably higher than the current set up?

    • Yes, looks like a glorified Northeast High Field. As far as the students, all students get into football and basketball games for free (not really free, part of their “student activities fee) and we have 12.5 kids living on campus and still have a hard time drawing 4K total fans to our beautiful on-campus hoop facility. If we keep winning like we have the last three years, maybe that won’t apply to football. Lose, though, and it’s going to be the same Mausoleum the LC has turned into now.

      • The poor basketball attendance has always been my devil’s advocate argument in my head. BUT. When you think about it they are apples and oranges. Though Temple is referred to as a ‘basketball school’, we’re not UCONN. Students would much rather drink and carry on before and after a football game than a basketball game. Rather than 15 games that you know you’ll make eventually, football has 6 set games. If you don’t make it you missed your shot. With any luck Temple football will keep on the up-and-up and home games at 330 will pull close to 10k hammered, proud, TUFF, students.

  6. KJ has posted on this site that he has seen several artists renderings of the field. My question to KJ if he has seen something different than the rendering released to the public yesterday?

    • I only see one picture of the stadium. There’s another drawing of the street and a map. I’m kind of hoping to see other conceptions of the stadium.

  7. “Multi-purpose” really is a good strategy/plan. For one thing, it underscores what college should be all about – classrooms, research, community outreach (in the inner city), retail and sports combined. It’s not just another sports facility, but combines the stadium (seating, a field, concessions and sports related gathering places) with all those other educational/retail uses.

    BTW, 35K is a bit more than a glorified HS stadium. The exterior multi-purpose appearance will go a long way to bolster more-than-just-a-stadium concept and blend into, even enhance, the bordering neighborhood. I’ve been to Temple games at several Mid American (not Atlantic, Mike) Conference schools (Ohio, Miami, Kent, Ball St.) and, while empty seats prevail, the stadiums are nicely designed. This Temple design is as nice or nicer than those, IMO. But a really significant main stadium entrance with owl motifs would be an appealing addition. As I’ve said before, it’s too bad no one had the forethought to save some of the owl sculptures from old Temple Stadium.

  8. Just for the record, I’ve been to Bowling Green also…..

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