Regents to consider alcohol sales for Husker basketball, Memorial Stadium renovations

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – The University of Nebraska Board of Regents will have a busy meeting next Friday as it considers allowing alcohol sales at Nebraska basketball games, the start of the process to renovate Memorial Stadium, and the approval of a new $300 million multi-media rights agreement.

At the board’s meeting on September 30th in Kearney, an amendment to the University’s operations agreement with Pinnacle Bank Arena will be considered, allowing for alcohol sales at Nebraska men’s and women’s basketball games beginning this season.

In February, the Board of Regents updated the University’s policy on alcohol sales at athletic events, allowing for the sale of alcohol at Pinnacle Bank Arena for the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament.

“We obviously had a great pilot run last year,” said University of Nebraska President Ted Carter. “So, it’s been talked about for a long time, that’s been studied. We know what those outcomes are. And we’ll be ready to do it.”

The City of Lincoln will also be involved as it owns Pinnacle Bank Arena.

The proposal in front of the board would send 90% of revenue from alcohol sales to the city and 10% to the University. There is no plan currently to allow alcohol sales at Memorial Stadium or Haymarket Park.

Also being discussed at the meeting: kicking off the tall task of looking into massive renovations at Memorial Stadium. Previously, Athletic Director Trev Alberts sent out a survey to Husker fans to gauge what changes could and should be made.

The board will vote to start the planning process and select a program manager, design team, and construction firm. This approval would be earlier in the process than normal, but the University says it will allow Alberts and other University leaders to have an “expert team at their side from day one of what is expected to be a large, highly complex, rapidly evolving process involving private fundraising, design, and construction.”

According to the University, the project could include seating and accessibility changes, and could also cut down at least 600 seats with the potential to take out even more in future renovations.

“I do know that we are going to have to make the stadium relevant for our fans for the next 50 to 100 years,” Carter said.

Another large item on a busy agenda is the approval of a new multi-media rights agreement with Playfly Sports Properties.

The proposal is a 15-year agreement that would start on October 1st and run through 2038.

The agreement would include:

$273.6 million of guaranteed revenue payments

$7.5 million in signing bonuses

$6.5 million in royalties (estimated)

$6.0 million in capital investments

$5.5 million digital suite (web/app)

$2.25 million for NIL fund

“The University’s agreement with IMG expired June 30, 2021. Over the past year, the complexity of the transition to an in-house model, in addition to the shifting legal, economic, and political environment of collegiate athletics, has prompted Nebraska Athletics to carefully consider returning to an external multimedia rights model,” a document outlining the agreement states.

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