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Gamecock Athletics Announces "Fan's Choice" Pledge for 2020 Stadium Renovation and first look at the new major changes at WB

Gamecock Athletics Announces "Fan's Choice" Pledge for 2020 Stadium Renovation and first look at the new major changes at WB

January 21, 2020, | From USC Sports Information | GCF Staff Report

They’re the first major tweaks to Williams-Brice Stadium seating since the south end zone was expanded in the mid-1990s.

STADIUM PROJECT TIMELINE

“We had about 50 people over here the day after the Clemson game, that Sunday,” Greg Hughes of Contract Construction said. “We’ve been working seven days a week ever since and plan to do so till the end. We’ll have the $22.5 million project done in eight months.”

THE CHANGES

Standing inside the bowl at Williams-Brice, the main changes fans can see will be a wide-open deck on the east side of the stadium (Key Road) and a small wedge of new seating on the southwest corner of the stadium called the 2001 Club — as the name suggests, it’s right where the Gamecocks enter the field during “2001.”

The bigger change comes underneath the surface, beneath the seats, where four enclosed club areas offer places where fans in those sections can duck indoors to buy food or a drink, or to cool off from the late-summer heat. Those clubs are under the three aforementioned areas, plus the West Club seats.

The prices for tickets with access to those club areas range from $715 per season ticket in the south end zone to $1,165 on the east side club seats (that includes game ticket price). The change is between $29 and $65 more per game compared with previous prices.

The $22.5 million project is expected to generate about a million dollars a year in extra revenue. Around 8,000 existing seats are being affected, and the changes will lower the stadium’s capacity by a few hundred people, according to Eigenbrot. The 2001 Club adds 138 seats in loge boxes, but that doesn’t quite offset some of the seats coming out for the deck on the east side.

"Fan's Choice" Pledge for 2020 Stadium Renovation

The east side changes will take out some regular seats to create a patio area, while the wedge in the corner will include a set of new loge seating — open-air, suite-like seating areas that fit between four and eight people.

“If you have a loge box up there and it has eight seats in it, you can have some guests if you’re a business person or a person in the community,” Eigenbrot said. “And whether they’re corporately owned or not ... the loge box piece, there’s 70 loge boxes, but they’re all four-seaters, so you’re talking about 300 seats.”

University of South Carolina Athletics is announcing the "Fan's Choice" pledge aimed at accommodating the existing season ticket holders in the areas that will be improved for the 2020 season thanks to the ongoing renovations of Williams-Brice Stadium.  The program features three tenets that not only give fans access to the most affordable club seating in the SEC, but also ensure that any donor not wishing to buy club seats can purchase tickets elsewhere in the lower bowl at or below the price they're currently paying.

The pledge states that any existing season ticket holder in these areas affected by the renovations will: 

  • have the first right to stay in their seating area and will be provided a discount on the purchase of each existing season ticket that they have in the area until the 2022 season;
  • have an early option to re-select seats in the stadium if they'd like to move thanks to the Fan's Choice pre-selection process, an early selection window designed to accommodate these fans;
  • have the opportunity to relocate to a seat in the stadium's lower level at, or below, the price they are currently paying.  

"We're excited about the changes," said Bob Cleary of Lexington, a 39-year member of the Gamecock Club, who is opting to remain in his 400 level seats. "We've sat there for quite a while. Having a nice place to sit and nice amenities is very attractive to us. When they announced what this was and the cost, we thought, 'shoot yeah, this is good!' We don't have to increase our scholarship, and the cost is phased in, so I think the University has done a good job in trying to allow people who currently sit in the 400 level to keep sitting in the 400 level. Now, if it gets too hot or too cold, we can go back inside, have a drink, and enjoy the game that way."

"In this project, it was important for us to prioritize the game day experience for fans while also creating funding opportunities that will have a long-term benefit for fans and student-athletes," said Athletics Director Ray Tanner.  "Some of these renovations will also directly impact game day recruiting for future student-athletes in a positive way.  I believe our fans will appreciate the new amenities in these areas, especially for games with excessive temperatures or inclement weather."

The renovations project keeps eye on affordability while increasing the overall fan experience. Under the project, South Carolina offers the most affordable club seats in the SEC by over 30%.  The addition of exciting new areas, such as the South Club, provides existing seat holders access to the air-conditioned space featuring upgrades concessions, new restrooms and an array of TVs for less than $25 more per game. 

"The renovations project at Williams-Brice Stadium is the culmination of a plan that was five years in the making," said Steve Eigenbrot, Executive Associate Athletics Director for Development and CEO of the Gamecock Club. "We worked with two national firms to get us where we are for renovations in a way that would minimize any negative impact on fans while also maximizing the impact of our investment."

Also of note, South Carolina Athletics will dedicate the increased revenue from sales in new areas to fund future investments and stadium upgrades.  These future upgrades will focus on making an impact well beyond the areas improved by this project.  They will include improvements to sound and video systems, restroom and concessions areas.  More details about the scope and timeline for these improvements are expected to be released later this year.

Edited by FeatheredCock




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