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U. of Hawaii Finds Stadium; Seeks New Financial Pact

Brock Fritz

University of Hawaii officials are temporarily moving football games to its Mānoa campus, while they are reportedly unhappy with the school’s financial partnership with Aloha Stadium.

The university announced Monday that the plan is to host football games at Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex starting next fall. The season-opening game is scheduled for Sept. 4 against Portland State.

A new home field was needed because, as KHON2 in Honolulu reports, Aloha Stadium leaders announced last month that the facility in Halaway won’t accept fan-attended events moving forward. They also noted that an “optimistic” projection for building the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District is 2024. The current stadium, which was built in 1975, needed extensive maintenance that could have totaled $30 million.

Related content: Hawaii Football Homeless as Aloha Stadium Shuttered

Therefore, the university is looking to increase Clarence T.C. Ching's seating capacity, replace the existing turf, install a new scoreboard and speaker system, and upgrade the press box.

"The recent announcement regarding the limitations of Aloha Stadium — home of our Rainbow Warrior football team for more than 40 years — has created an opportunity," Hawaii athletics director David Matlin said in the athletic department's release. "We are committed to transforming the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex into a viable venue for our football team to play home games for at least the next three years. There is a lot of work and collaboration to be done, including with the City & County and our neighbors, but we are extremely excited about this opportunity and see enormous potential in playing on-campus for the first time in our history. Our goal is to offer a more intimate experience for our fans and a direct path for our student body to engage and create a true college football atmosphere." 

Hawaii News Now reported Friday that Matlin and UH president David Lassner expressed their displeasure with their facility financial agreement in a letter to Aloha Stadium management and state leaders.

Hawaii News Now, which obtained the letter, said that the UH officials wrote that the relationship has led to several issues that threaten ‘the financial viability of Division I intercollegiate athletics in Hawaii.'” Lassner and Matlin wrote that the school shouldn’t have to keep paying rent or facilities costs for a state-owned stadium; that the university should receive ticket revenue for football games; and that UH officials should be on the decision-making team for the decisions surrounding the new Aloha Stadium complex.

“UH has had an excellent relationship with the Stadium Authority leadership and management. We appreciate that they have been challenged to maintain the health and safety of the facility with inadequate revenue,” the letter reads, according to News Now. “That said, UH has also been crystal clear that the financial model under which we have been playing our home games at Aloha Stadium does not work for UH.”

According to News Now, the school has about $100,000 in expenses per home game at Aloha stadium, but doesn’t share in any stadium revenues.

In the letter, UH leaders included potential things they think would financial sense going forward, including:

  • UH Football receives paramount consideration in scheduling
  • UH pays no rental or facilities cost for football games
  • UH receives all ticket receipts including preferred seating donation (PSD) revenue for football
  • UH receives revenue from premium parking
  • UH receives a minimum of 1/2 of luxury boxes to sell for UH Football
  • UH receives revenue from ‘Club’ area membership fees for UH Football games
  • UH receives a minimum of 1/2 of net concession and merchandise revenue
  • UH receives a minimum of 1/2 of net parking revenue
  • UH receives rights to sell Advertising for UH football games and retain the funds
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