Football: How dire is stadium financing picture?

The Wall Street Journal on Thursday published a story suggesting that Cal’s efforts to meet financing goals for refurbished Memorial Stadium are falling substantially short.

Here’s perspective on the story from our Jon Wilner along with Cal’s response to the WSJ story.

Jeff Faraudo

  • MoreNCsarecoming


  • H8sRed


  • Will

    MoreNCS_are_ignored and sanctioned! troll post blocked

    Anal lesions just won’t go away…


    Might have to use some of this stuff to cleanse this blog! LOL

  • rollonubears

    Financial woes should be shared equally, anyway. Why should the education department get to do all the whining?

  • rotfogel

    If there ever been a time to win it’s now…C’mon Bears, shock the Pac 12 and me, fill the stands to pay that debt.

  • 707 Bear

    Negativity Alert:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Bay Area doesn’t have enough true (SEC style) college football fans to consistently fill one stadium, let alone 2 1/2 (sorry San Jose St.).

    What evidence was there that we had enough true fans to pack Memorial during the normal ups and downs of a sports program?

    Evidence: remember the attendance at the UW game two years ago. Last game of the year. Last game in Memorial. Senior Day. Playing for a bowl berth. Jake Locker. Attendance, maybe 25,000.

    Out came the excuses: Thanksgiving weekend. Bad weather. No offense. Blah. Blah. Blah.

    Give me a break!

    True college fans schedule their year around the season. Those are the fans that are needed to finance the stadium. I just don’t see enough of them.

    I hope I’m wrong. Go Bears!

  • rollonubears

    How about a bake sale, Telegraph Avenue style?

  • Juancho

    Here is the letter that Sandy Barbour sent to Bear Backers yesterday:

    Dear Fellow Bear Backers,

    As we prepare for the reopening and rededication of California Memorial Stadium in midst of this month’s stadium reseat, there has been a growing interest in understanding the financial model that enables Intercollegiate Athletics to undertake the recent renovations and seismic retrofit.

    Through http://www.CalBears.com, we created a resource center that houses information on the financial management of our programs and special reports related to IA. In February of this year, we posted a detailed summary of the funding history and update on the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance Center and the stadium. This report was added to a quarterly report that we put into place last year that summarizes the performance of the Endowment Seating Program.

    As Bear Backers, I felt it was important to share that in response to a recent article in the
    Wall Street Journal related to the funding of the stadium, we have posted an FAQ found here.

    As key stakeholders of the Cal Athletics community, I want to assure you that we will continue to do everything we can to ensure transparency with you, our cherished Bear Backers.

    I know these issues matter to you – they matter to all of us – not only because we care about Cal, our student-athletes and our performance, but because we want to get the story straight.

    The stadium is in the process of going through an amazing transformation. The renovation and improvements will be tremendous. We have been busy not only with construction but also the development of a new “Gold Standard” of customer service and overhaul of our stadium amenities that is sure to improve the “gameday” experience.

    September 1 is just around the corner and we could not be more excited for Cal Football 2012 and our return to Memorial Stadium. Thank you for your continued support of our amazing student-athletes and the facilities that enable them to thrive. I look forward to seeing you soon!

    Go Bears!

    Sandy Barbour
    Director of Athletics

  • Juancho

    Rollon, do you mean a “wake and bake” sale? Vis-a-vis utilizing the very common crop in the air on Telegraph?

  • covinared

    Frank McCourt might step in for a piece of the action.

  • rollonubears

    Indeed, Juancho!

  • Juancho

    Today is a holiday in those circles Rollon. So very nicely timed / done.

  • Dipole moment

    The WSJ story is a week old and was thoroughly deconstructed at Cal Golden Blogs. Editors apparently pulled the story, edited half of it out, scrubbed the comments, and it was republished.

    One would figure that Wilner might know and address those viewpoints for his interview, but apparently he only read or caught wind of the original WSJ article.

    So why do I have this site on my RSS reader when it not only fails to cover the news in a timely fashion, but also fails to provide any perspective from a Cal standpoint?

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    It will be great to see all of the visiting fans (35%) sitting in those dedicated Bear backer seats. That’s the only way you will get those filled.

  • BlueNGold

    After reading the WSJ article, which seemed to be intent on suggesting dire outcomes based mostly on speculation, the Wilner column and the Cal response. I am inclined to agree with Vice-Chancellor Wilton that the entire financing arrangements for both the stadium and training center are very complex and should be judged and evaluated on a long term basis; not simply the revenue raised to date by the ESL program. If things get to the point that there is a danger of inadequate revenue to cover the debt service, then that would be great cause for concern. But we are not there now and are a long way from that being reality.
    Of course, the ticket sales over time are going to have a big impact on whether the financial planning in place succeeds or does not. Lets hope the football program will draw in the fans.

  • ConcordBear

    It’s no secret that Wilner has his pockets filled on the side by Arriaga. He slants against Cal every chance he gets and is clearly biased due to his own corrupt under the table dealings.
    It’s true Cal has not sold has many ESP seats as they need to but the first game in the stadium is still months away.
    The one thing that is clear is that Sandy Barbour needs to get on her horse and lead the sales effort to sell more of these tickets. ESP is a program only a select group can afford, the AD must reach out, get creative and produce. Has she bought ESP seats for herself? I hope so! She can afford it, so can many other Cal employees. They all need to buy in, that will make their sales effort much more effective.

  • rollonubears

    A quality product on the field will solve all of the problems. Last year’s team was another disappointment, and AT&T tickets were way overpriced. Tedford’s on the hot seat, and we got a pretty good class. I think he gets 2 chances in the new stadium to win 10 games in a season. If we don’t go at least 10-and-something this year or next, then it comes down to finding a great coach. Nobody knows what the market will have in 2 years, but I think Petersen is a guy who we could get. He went to Davis, and would be a wonderful addition. He, or someone like him (a program changer) would sell ESP seats in a hurry. The Tedford brand is old and tired. The enthusiasm for him was what got this stadium built, though, and that’s really all it will take to solve this problem, too.

  • Juancho

    The financing thing is too complex for me to figure out.

    But – what isn’t too difficult is the past few years Sandy has had a few hiccups, and I wonder how long she will last if we don’t start getting some big wins in Football.

    *Baseball and Rugby being dropped
    *Big Game being moved earlier and earlier in the season, this year it will be in October
    *The AT&T Park Home Games Fiasco – which isn’t really Sandy’s fault
    *The Tosh Lupoi Fiasco, which again we can debate who’s fault it was, but even if it is best he left (debatable), it put egg on the program’s face
    *Poor ticket sales for the new stadium, and higher than ever prices

    I sincerely feel bad for her. She was probably looking forward to tomorrow’s event. Now she’s probably dreading it. I would be if I would her.

    Positives of her tenure:

    *The new facilities

  • rollonubears

    The facilities are huge, and the baseball and rugby fiascos were deplorable, but those programs were ultimately spared, and she wasn’t “asleep at the wheel” while that happened. The swim teams have won back to back national titles, and the softball team is poised to do just that. I think we’re somewhere in the top 5 in overall rankings. It’s easy to look at football and basketball, and honestly, those are the only sports I care about, but her body of work, including hiring tedford, firing braun, and hiring monty, should also be considered. She’s played her cards right. Tedford was a huge part of getting this stadium built. Most alumni still like him, and those are the ones paying the bills, so she has to wait another year. I think she’s done a really good job, but I don’t want to see a tedford contract extension unless we win a pac12 title this year or next. i’ll be calling for her head, too, if she locks teddy up for another 5 years.

  • eric

    I’m no financial guru (I just sue people who purport to be financial gurus) but I am curious whether Cal offered projections of ticket sales and attendence in connection with its financing, and the assumptions it made in making those projections. Anyone know if that is publicly available (or subject to a FOIA request)?

  • milo

    Besides hire Monty, elevate the AD on the whole, Sandy Barbour still gets a round of applause because she had the cojones to rebuild Memorial and take on the SAHPC…AND WIN.

    C’mon Bear fans, you know how things work at Cal…just barely and you have to kick butt and take names to get something done. Well Sandy got it done.

    Now about Wilner, what a freakin’ doucheweasel for quoting a Stanfurd weasel in the article.

  • Big D

    Post #19-Gladstone hired Tedford when he was interm AD, not Sandy, she came a few years later.

  • BlueNGold

    It is true that Tedford was originally hired by Steve Gladstone as interim AD. But Barbour extended his contract, and that seems to be the big bone of contention among those in the Tedford-Must-Go camp; particularly the buy out provisions that are seen as making an early termination financially unlikely. Of course, there was a lot more optimism from fans and the community at large for doing so at the time of the extension than seems to exist now.I guess only time will tell whether the decision was the best move, but given where the program is now compared to where it had been or could have remained, I am not convinced that Sandy made the wrong decision there.