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Is It Time To Expand Memorial Stadium?

The weekly question. Click comments to get in.

Reader Comments (6)

Well, I wouldn't break ground before the economy turns, but I think plans should be under way and the university should be ready to pull the trigger. It's going to be tough knowing that we could easily top 70k for the NU game this year (thanks to help from the Red fans).

Skeptical KU fans fear what a 65k stadium would look like with a 30k crowd if the program goes south again. My take is that you really just can't let that be an option again. Attendance is part of recruiting and we need to step up a level on the attendance ladder to gain an edge in the Big 12.

I'd like to see us play to full capacity all year for 2009, then reveal a plan. There seems to be two schools of thought:

1) Drop the field, take out the track and move the seats closer to the field. I would guess that would move seating near 60k, which might be just the right number. Also, having our fans closer to the field could certainly create an edge.

2) Remove the track, finish the north bowl and slide the field closer to the north to get the bowl seats closer to the field. I like the idea of this from a noise containment standpoint. I also think it would nice and clean from an architecture perspective. I see this as moving the capacity to 65k to 70k. I think it would offer the opportunity to re-number the bench seating throughout Memorial and give a few more inches to everyone (not that I'm encouraging being overweight). It just seems a little tight at $300 per season ticket, plus that would give you the option later to re-number again if more capacity is needed.

The one I've heard about from actual KU folks is #2. In that scenario the field is lowered a little bit in order to make the front row seats better for viewing the game over the sideline players. There is no desire to get the fans closer. Sliding the field to the north is appealing but it creates a problem with the suites and really makes the very south sections on the east and west almost valueless from a viewing standpoint.
February 25, 2009 | Registered CommenterDJ Goodwin
Honestly, I think that KU should begin THINKING about it now, but not pull the trigger until 2011 or 2012. KU will know by then whether the seats will sell or not.

I think that the best way to do it is to drop the field and lose the track. With minimal effort and expense, KU could add 10 more rows in the front. It doesn't seem like a lot, but 10 rows x 16 ( plus or minus) seats per row x what amounts to 25 sections (1 and 26 are half sections) = 4000 seats with minimal effort and cost. If that works you can go back in another 5-8 years and add to the top half of the bowl...which would easily be another 4000 seats.

The only downfall to doing this is basically an end to the Kansas Relays as we know them. I don't know where they would take place or if KU would have to have land for a new track or what. BUT a couple of seasons worth of 4k-8k extra seats would basically pay for itself (especially the lower level seats because there is minimal structural work needed to tie them in.

This would still leave the hill open...which for me is an important thing.
February 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCW
I am complete agreement here and want it to happen more than anything. But I need to see a lot more sellouts than I have been. I'm still ashamed we didn't sell out Tech on homecoming or Texas a few weeks later.
February 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhiphopopotamus
A couple things here, I think we're all in agreement that the hill view is VERY unique and should stay. With that in mind we can work around that. First things first, get rid of the track add seats, and automatically you've made Memorial a more hostile enviroment for our Big XII friends.
OSU had the same worries about adding thousands of seats into their stadium, cause a lot of them didn't think they'd be able to fill them. Boone Pickens wasn't worried about it....I liked his attitude, JUST DO IT. I think we need to have that approach. Don't try and find excuses, just add on.
If you build it, they will come.
February 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJimmyDean
Man, did we really not sell out Tech? That is disappointing, I don't remember that. I can understand UT to some degree due to the huge letdown of losing the NU game.

Seems like I've already looked at plans somewhere for a new track location, so I think that is a matter of time.

Speaking of the hill ... all of the white tents up there look kind of weird to me on game days. For a big game in the old days you just see 10-15k people sitting up there and it felt more like added on crowd. The tents seem to break up that look of extra attendance. Not that it matters, game day atmosphere is better than it's ever been -- just a thought.
February 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDJ
I like all the scenarios outlined above, but agree that we need to sell out an entire season before we worry about that. We couldn't sell out two huge games last year so no real reason to do it yet.
February 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKyle

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