The University of South Florida’s pursuit of a new on-campus stadium took a significant step forward today, as the USF Board of Trustees approved a plan for financing an estimated 35,000-seat facility that is scheduled to open by fall 2026.
“I’m pleased to see our board recognize the value of this project and significant return on investment it will bring for the on-campus experience at USF,” board Chair Will Weatherford said. “The stadium will provide the university community with a place to come together and express their shared passion for USF, build lasting memories and stay connected to the university for life.”
The estimated cost for a new stadium is $340 million. The approval by the board authorizes the USF Financing Corp. to issue a debt of $200 million that the university will repay from several sources, including operating revenues from the stadium and other revenues generated by USF Athletics. In the plan provided to the board, USF also identified the funding sources that will be used to support the other $140 million on the project: Cash advances on future capital gifts ($50 million); Capital Improvement Trust Fund ($31 million); auxiliary funds and proceeds from a 2017 FCC auction ($34 million); and contingent cash contribution from the sale of educational broadband service licenses ($25 million-$40 million).
“The University of South Florida is investing in our athletics programs in ways we never have before. The construction of an on-campus stadium is a complex endeavor that requires significant financial resources and thorough planning. We are very excited about the progress we are making on this long-awaited project, and we are grateful to our Bulls fans and the surrounding Tampa Bay community for their continued enthusiasm and support,” USF President Rhea Law said.
In partnership with the highly regarded design/build team of Barton Malow and Populous, USF is currently going through the design phase of the new stadium, which has included more than 40 recent meetings with stakeholder groups, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, fans and other supporters. The listening sessions provide an important outreach opportunity for the university to find out which features community members would like to see in the new stadium design, such as amenities, experiences and other unique elements. At the conclusion of the design phase USF leadership will be able to present a more detailed plan for a stadium, including renderings of the facility.
“We are thrilled to take this next step with our on-campus stadium and so grateful to those donors who have already pledged their support. Thoughtful and achievable financing is a key driver for the short- and long-term impact and success of the stadium as a point of pride for our community. With the approval of the Board of Trustees, we are confident this plan will result in a stadium that will make Bulls Nation proud,” said Jay Stroman, senior vice president of Advancement & Alumni Affairs and USF Foundation CEO.
“There is incredible commitment and alignment from our university leadership to bringing a high-quality stadium to our campus. The approval by the Board of Trustees should instill great confidence from the USF community that we are going to build a ‘home’ that we can call our own, will attract the best and brightest and will continue the tremendous elevation of our athletics programs and entire university,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Michael Kelly.
The stadium will be built on the east side of the Tampa campus on a site known as Sycamore Fields, providing synergy with the ongoing expansion of the USF Athletics district. During today’s meeting, the Board of Trustees also approved a plan to relocate recreational fields and other small facilities located at the Sycamore Fields site to other locations on campus to help ensure that all USF students continue to have access to facilities for club sports, intramurals and other recreational activities.