FAU wants more sports events and concerts in the campus stadium

The+athletic+department+is+requesting+permission+to+host+26+events+per+year+in+its+new+stadium%2C+up+from+the+15+they+are+currently+allowed.+So+far%2C+the+department+has+one+event+booked+for+the+spring.+Photo+courtesy+of+FAU+Athletics.

The athletic department is requesting permission to host 26 events per year in its new stadium, up from the 15 they are currently allowed. So far, the department has one event booked for the spring. Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

Regina Kaza

The athletic department is requesting permission to host 26 events per year in its new stadium, up from the 15 they are currently allowed. So far, the department has one event booked for the spring. Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

After five home football games, and one event planned for spring (the Battle of Florida all-star game), FAU is not even close to reaching the limit of 15 events they can book per year for the new football stadium.

But that’s not stopping them from asking for more.

In 2009, FAU signed a Campus Development Agreement (CDA) with the city of Boca Raton that said FAU could schedule a maximum of 15 events per year in the new stadium, including six home football games.

And now, the athletic department wants 11 more.

They are also asking for permission to have events on Saturdays and Sundays, to give promoters more days to choose from, according to Athletic Director of Facilities, Mitch Silverman. But they have a reason.

“Well, we want more events,” he said.

Now that the football season is over, and the first home game brought in 29,103 people (only to drop to 12,044 by the fourth game), FAU is trying to up the number of events from 15 to 26 though they’re not sure they can even book 15.

“We haven’t even reserved about 15,” Athletic Director Craig Angelos said. “We hope to as we continue to advertise for people that want to rent it out. Even if we had an unlimited amount I don’t know how many events we could actually get in there, but we’re trying.”

Angelos said the five home games were a test to see how FAU would control crowds of up to 30,000 people and if stadium events would cause traffic throughout the city.

Officially this change to the CDA has not been approved, but Silverman said, “It’s not documented, but it’s a fluid agreement.”

The UP tried to contact Deputy City Manager, George Brown several times, but he hasn’t responded as of press time.

FAU is trying to get events like international soccer games, major league lacrosse  and concerts for the stadium, but so far, nothing is set in stone.

Right now the contract says they can only host eight Friday night events, not including home games. Adding Saturday and Sunday events will make promoters more likely to consider using FAU’s stadium for their shows, and lower their rental costs, according to Silverman.

The base fee for renting out the stadium is $10,000 according to Melissa Dawson, Senior Associate Director of Internal Operations. However, that price can be negotiated based on how many people the event will have.

“Some of these events won’t have 30,000 people in it and won’t make up the money in ticket sales,” Dawson said. “Then we can drop some of our costs because we don’t have as many cleaning people or as many ushers.”

For the upcoming Battle of Florida, FAU doesn’t know how much money the game will bring in. They also might just rent out one side of the stadium so FAU won’t have to pay as much money for cleaning staff, according to Silverman.

“It’s hard to tell how much you will make at the end of the day,” Angelos said. “It’s all about the crowd. If there’s a large crowd we make more with concession, parking and ticket sales. We know we’re not going to lose money on it that’s for sure.”

FAU needs to make about $2.5 million a year to cover the stadium’s debt. “We have about ten revenue sources of which only one of them comes from a rental fee,” Angelos said. “Selling naming rights, suites, season tickets, concession and facility rentals is what brings in most of the stadium’s money, not its events.”

FAU requested the change to its contract with Boca at the beginning of December and expects an answer towards the end of this month, according to Dawson.

“After the season, we’ve met a few times to talk about how we felt about things,” Angelos said. “I think everyone was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t snarl traffic.”

With traffic not being a problem, the department is hoping that Boca will approve their requests.

“I think they might be open to considering it because now that we’ve been through a football season and they’ve seen what the impact is and the steps that we’ve taken to lighten that impact,” said Dawson. “Maybe they’ll be pleased enough with the steps and precautions we’ve taken that they’ll approve it.”