Will tickets to new Husky Stadium cost a lot more?
Details about the $250 million UW renovation, which will begin in November and be completed in time for the 2013 season, are revealed. But ticket prices won't be unveiled until this fall.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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What may be the biggest question on the minds of UW football fans about the renovation of Husky Stadium — how much will their new tickets cost? — remains unanswered.
But just about everything else fans might want to know about the $250 million renovation, which will begin in November and be completed in time for the 2013 season, began to be revealed Wednesday.
In anticipation of the new football season and the nearing of the start of the stadium project, the school unveiled a website, HuskyStadium.com, devoted to the renovation, part of a campaign the school has dubbed "The Drive for Husky Stadium."
Included in the information released were prices for 25 luxury suites ($60,000 each), 30 patio suites (seating for six at $15,000 or seating for four at $10,000) and 2,500 seats in the new Club Husky (donations from $1,050 to $1,950). The school said roughly 21,000 of the estimated 70,000 seats in the new stadium will be donor or premium seating (including Tyee Club).
The money from those seats will cover a substantial portion of the tab for the renovation. The school plans to raise at least $50 million by the end of the renovation, and says it has $42 million already pledged, with the rest generated by the stadium. The school will take out 30-year bonds to pay the additional $200 million.
The rest of the seats will not include an additional fee beyond the ticket price.
Prices will be unveiled this fall, though UW athletic director Scott Woodward says fans needn't worry, giving an estimate of a possible 5 to 15 percent increase.
"You're not going to see any exponential increase," he said. "It's going to be marginal, at best incremental. It's not going to be a doubling or tripling of ticket prices. That's not going to happen."
Washington officials said they had already received deposits for suites and other premium seating.
Some of those seats are located where the students currently sit, at midfield. Students and the band will sit in the West end zone of the renovated stadium. Woodward said the better seats were needed to help pay the bills.
Woodward said he understands why students will grumble about the move, but noted that there are "zero student fees" involved in the renovation and that students will be "paying probably less the first couple of years in their ticket prices. This is a win-win for them. They are getting a brand-new stadium. Now yeah, they are moving off the 50-yard line. And is that a little hard? Of course it is. I would be lying if I didn't tell you I would be upset if I were a student. But if you look at the whole picture ... they are really getting a bonanza, in my opinion."
Visiting teams will no longer come through the tunnel, but will enter through their own entrance at the East end of the stadium.
The school is continuing to seek corporate donors for the stadium, including a $50 million price tag for naming rights to the field.
Woodward said that the project's $250 million price tag will not increase, in part because the school locked in the cost for items such as steel and concrete with the developer. Any overruns, he said, will be paid by the developers.
A school statement said that the renovation of the stadium, initially built in 1920, is needed for UW to remain "in its rightful place of prominence" with other big-time football programs.
Woodward said the renovation, coupled with the uptick in the football program under third-year coach Steve Sarkisian, is a sign that "everything is moving in the right direction. ... That's the hope and the goal going forward that we can be a successful, prominent, preeminent BCS elite program for a long time in the future. Football is 85 percent of our revenue of our athletic department, and that's the most important venue that we have is Husky Stadium to generate that revenue."
• The Huskies put on helmets and shoulder pads for the first time in fall practice, which meant projected starting SS Sean Parker got his first hit in since November, when he suffered a stinger-type injury. Parker said he got it out of the way early, hitting RB Jesse Callier in a 9-on-7 drill. "It felt good," said the sophomore. "I felt good about myself." He said he considers himself 100 percent.
• Sophomore DT Sione Potoa'e, who has been ailing with a sprained knee, practiced.
• True freshman WR Kasen Williams had one of the highlights of the day, taking a short pass about 60 yards for a touchdown down the sidelines."I like those kinds of touchdowns," said Sarkisian. "Throw it about 2 yards and it goes 60. That's what he brings to the table. He has that type of ability and it was good execution by the entire offense really."
• UW will practice Thursday in helmets and shoulder pads at 3:15 p.m. at Husky Stadium.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.