Archive for Friday, December 18, 2009

Gridiron Club raises $4 million so far, but project remains ‘full speed ahead’

Millions in funding still needed, but 2010 opening remains target

An exterior shot of the proposed 3,000-seat addition to Memorial Stadium that will include the Gridiron Club.

An exterior shot of the proposed 3,000-seat addition to Memorial Stadium that will include the Gridiron Club.

December 18, 2009


Gridiron Club raises $4 million so far, but project remains 'full speed ahead'

A project to build a new Gridiron Club at Kansas University’s Memorial Stadium remains on track for opening in time for the Jayhawks’ next football season. Enlarge video

On the street

Do you think the Gridiron Club will be completed by the start of next football season?

No, I believe time would be a major issue and getting the seats sold is going to be tough too.

More responses

A project to build a new Gridiron Club at Kansas University’s Memorial Stadium remains on track for opening in time for the Jayhawks’ next football season.

Even if officials still need another $30 million to pay the bills.

“Our plan is full speed ahead,” said Jim Marchiony, an associate athletics director.

Kansas Athletics Inc. so far has secured $4 million for the project, through sales of memberships for the 3,000-seat club slated to be built atop and alongside the east side of the stadium. The club is expected to have both indoor and outdoor seating, an expansive lounge and complimentary high-end food and drink for members who buy into the club for anywhere from five to 30 years.

But construction cannot and will not begin until Kansas Athletics has sold enough memberships — ranging in price from $30,000 per seat for five years to $105,000 per seat for 30 years — to raise at least $34 million, Marchiony said. That’s the cost for the club itself, plus related changes to parking lots and other features.

“It’s not a question of if it’s going to be built,” he said. “It’s a matter of when.”

He figures on construction taking anywhere from six months to a year, leaving officials with a shrinking timeline for getting the club moving toward completion in time for the season opener Sept. 4 against North Dakota State.

“As soon as we get the money we will begin construction — whether that’s January or February or March or whenever — but at some point soon we’re going to have to determine whether it will be ready for all of the 2010 season or some of 2010,” Marchiony said. “We’re not there yet. We haven’t really picked a date that we will be there. Right now, we’re just full speed ahead and planning on it being done for 2010.”

The formal marketing of memberships started early during the 2009 football season, as Jayhawk football legends Gale Sayers and John Hadl joined Athletics Director Lew Perkins in urging fans to support the KU program.

At first, members had been required to pay the entire cost of memberships upfront. A few weeks later, officials sought to spark interest by allowing donors to pay using interest-free installments.

In recent weeks membership revenues have climbed from $3 million to $4 million, Marchiony said, and interest is picking up. This week’s hiring of Turner Gill as head coach is boosting optimism.

Individual meetings with potential members are producing results.

“We are extremely optimistic about this and we’re talking to a lot of people and it’s our intention, obviously, to get this done,” he said.

The project remains in the design phase, Marchiony said, but quickly could be moved into construction should the money become available. If the club doesn’t open in time for the 2010 season, memberships wouldn’t be in effect until the doors open.

Just how members would be compensated for the delay would be a matter between Kansas Athletics and the individual members.

“We will talk to them about that,” Marchiony said.

Construction of the Gridiron Club is only the first part of a larger financing plan for other athletics and campus needs. Such efforts would be financed by membership fees, which Marchiony estimates could reach $200 million.

Kansas Athletics plans to use $25 million in membership fees to build an “Olympic Village” complex south of Allen Fieldhouse, to be used for nonrevenue sports. Another $40 million in membership fees would be sent to the chancellor’s office, to address academic and other needs at her discretion.


parhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Instead of trying to entice all the high rollers who only come to watch the Hawks play football because its' the IN thing to do, the Athletic Dept should be coming up with better ideas to fill the stands with true fans. Even though the Hawks didn't win as much a few years ago it was more enjoyable to go to a game not to mention less expensive. The last couple of years have seen many more problems with fans (drinking rude remarks) than in years past. To me what has been done at Memorial Stadium by blocking the view of the Hill is a crying shame. Hopefully this Overpriced Gridiron club will die a natural death.

HogJiver 8 years, 6 months ago

I remember when you could get a seat at the "Stables" for just a few bucks. And have much more fun.

Sharon Aikins 8 years, 6 months ago

And why would anyone want to spend that much at this time to come watch KU football? Let's see what Lew's new coach does first.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 6 months ago

Get too many hanging out at the GridIron Club the bleachers will be empty or at least have more vacancies......

number1jayhawker 8 years, 6 months ago

They are only signing up 3500 members, so the stands will still be full of us regular folk. :-)

For those complaining about the price of a ticket, have you been to a Chiefs game lately? How about double the price of a KU FB ticket. Plus you have to buy the non-meaningful preseason games for the full price.

Rickyonealku 8 years, 6 months ago

Kansas University will be MUCH MORE exciting to watch than the KC Chiefs....for quite some time... Let the NEW Turner Gill ERA BEGIN... Rock Chalk Jayhawks...

purplesage 8 years, 6 months ago

This is only 10X as obscene as what Mark Mangino is going to get to NOT coach the Jayhawks. There is way too much money involved in sports and way too much catering to the rich. As a case in point, a few years ago, there were a couple of back-to-back stories. One involved yet another flood by some stream, maybe Turkey Creek, and the lack of $30 million to do flood control for the houses and businesses affected. The next story was about the expending of $30 million on luxury dug-out level box seats for Kaufman Stadium. Priorities are out of order. Like raising tuition, while letting infrastructure go because of the state budget and building luxury Gridiron Clubs. Makes me angry.

middlemgmt 8 years, 6 months ago

If my calculations are correct, that would be $5,000 per seat per year. With only 5 home games per year that would be $1000 for each ticket.

puddleglum 8 years, 6 months ago

this is about the only area that I can truly embrace Uncle fester.

blocking the Fritzel tower is the coolest move on the planet.

go Lew.

Now move the game back from arrowhead, leave larry sinks alone, and just admit that mangino wasn't your boy-and you are my new hero

anon1958 8 years, 6 months ago

umber1jayhawker (Anonymous) says…

Plus you have to buy the non-meaningful preseason games for the full price.

Well what about the ridiculous scrimmage games at the beginning of the season when KU schedules games against places like The University of Impoverished and Underfed Orphans?

If a Chiefs game ticket is only 2x a KU ticket then the Chiefs ticket is either a real bargain or the KU ticket is about 10x too expensive. At least when you are watching a Chiefs game you are watching an NFL team instead of a (at best) a mediocre team in the farm league of NFL.

There is also some meaningful degree of parity across the teams of the NFL, even if some teams are miserable failures. KU on the other hand is shameless about hiring some poor school to sacrifice themselves for an easy win that KU fans and administrators pretend is meaningful when talking about the season record.

The Chiefs maybe be bad but at least the league is not the complete farce that has become college football.

Not a Chiefs fan by the way, or fan of any football team college or professional.

musicstudent 8 years, 6 months ago

They should just charge the football team for use of the stadium just like the Lied Center charges school music ensembles for use of the stage.

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