What criteria will be used to select chairback seats in the new Mississippi State baseball stadium?
"A common theme, something that you see on your forums and something that we have heard a lot about, is how will seats be assigned, how are people going to be able to pick seats? The answer to that right now is we don't have a firm mechanism for selecting seats yet. That will be determined after we see all of the seat deposits and what the demographics is of the people making the deposits.
"But Bulldog Club priority will have to play a role in seat selection. Even if you were to take all of the folks who made a one-time gift to secure seats (in the current stadium) that don't really have any kind of (Bulldog Club) priority, they will have a priority in the Bulldog Club because by securing a seat in this (new) stadium with a deposit that is a gift to the Bulldog Club. Even if we were to take those people separately we would still have to have a way to arrange them in a selection order. We have some people who made the one-time gift who haven't been that engaged with the Bulldog Club since then and we have some people who made the gift who have been very engaged in the Bulldog Club, which means they have a very high priority level. So, the Bulldog Club priority is going to be an important part of how the seats are selected.
"But we also know that we have to have a fair and equitable way to integrate the folks who have made those one-time gifts 30 years ago. We have to have some kind of method to allow them a fair choice of seats in the stadium. We want to do a responsible and respectful seat allocation method that works for folks. I can't tell you what that will look like because we don't know how many of those people are going to make a deposit. Once we see the deposits and see how many of the people who made the one-time gift made a seat deposit for the new stadium and also see how many people are new and don't have seats right now, then I think we will be able to come up with a method that will address all of this fairly."
So, you will somehow include in the priority method a way to reward the loyalty of the people who purchased those one-time seat gifts when the current stadium was built?
"Absolutely! How we will do that, though, we don't know, but nothing is off the table as far as we are concerned. We might give them bonus points. We could take all of those folks who gave the one-time gift and handle them separately. We could identify some seats in different areas of the stadium that would be held for those folks. We could let them pick, then let another group pick. Anything that is a logical solution is something that we will consider. But it is difficult and would irresponsible for us to say how that will work until we see the deposits."
How will the people who purchase seats select their seats in the new stadium?
"We are actually going to have to do the seat selection before the stadium is completed. Due to that, you won't be able to go and walk around in the stadium.
"It will be more like how people selected their seats in the football stadium where you have the 3D model and you can go into each section and see how each field view looks like. Then, you select your seats
"Of course, you don't have to do it online. We'll do like we did with football where if someone wants to come in we will walk them through the process."
Something that has been brought up is the fact that many people have friends that sit beside them in the current stadium. They have mentioned that they would like to continue sitting beside them in the new stadium. Will it be possible for those folks to select seats beside each other?
"Absolutely! That is very important to me as well. I would want to sit next to the people that I have always sat beside. You can pretty much do that in all the sports that we have.
"What we ask people to do is decide what is most important to them when they select their seats. If the most important thing in selecting seats is who you sit with, then you can coordinate with those folks. Let's say there are three families that want to continue to sit together. Then, what we tell them is they can all drop down to the person who has the lowest priority in the Bulldog Club among those three families and pick seats together when that person can select."
How would those three families let you know that they want to do that?
"What we did in football is if they wanted to delay and pick with someone else who has a lower priority, then all they need to do is tell us what they are doing. After they tell us, we will let it ride and let them pick when the other person's time comes.
"There is always going to be a way for people to pick seats by each other. We know that is very important."
Is the stadium going to be built slightly higher off the ground than the current stadium? The reason I ask that is because of the section called The Backstop. People will be able to stand in that field level section and watch the game. I assume the regular chairback seats will have to be higher up than they currently are due to the new Backstop section.
"That is a great question. As far as The Backstop section is concerned, when you are standing in that section the drink rail in front of you will actually be at field level. The grass will be at that same level. It will be built down in the ground."
How many spots will be available in the Backstop section?
"We are shooting for 500. It's just like the Gridiron in the football stadium. (In addition to purchasing a spot in The Backstop section) you would (also) have to have a chairback ticket to be able to access that area. "
Do you have a basic idea as to how many chairback seats will be purchased?
"We have a general idea. But 70% of our alumni base is 50 years old or younger. That means more than half of our alumni base is younger than you would have had to have been to purchase seats in the current stadium. A huge number of MSU alumni have never had the opportunity to purchase seats in the stadium. So, we really don't know what that demand is going to be. It would be a little premature to decide what our seat count is going to be before we even know how many people are actually interested in purchasing season tickets. We don't want to overbuild or under build.
"The other thing is we are building Loge Seats and Club Level Seats. We don't want to build too many or not enough. So, we need to know the demand for those seats as well.
"We also need to have enough chairbacks for when we have regionals here. We have to have enough tickets for when teams play here. We also need seats for scouts, player parents. We would also ideally want to have some chairback seats available for sale on gameday. Whatever the demand is for chairback season tickets, we would also want to build additional chairbacks to accommodate all of those situations."
In the Q&A section online, there is nothing mentioned about how much seats will cost after the initial 10-year period. Do you know if it will the same amount as the first 10 years, $900, $1,500 and $1,800 or will it be a different amount?
"That is something that we don't know right now. So much could change. The Palmeiro Center will be 25 years old then. Or we might need to add additional seats to the stadium. I don't think anybody could know what things are going to be like 13 years down the road. Certainly, we want it to continue to be affordable."
I want to clarify something. Let's say I purchased 6 seats in the current stadium. I want to purchase 10 this time. Am I correct in saying that I can purchase 6 seats at the discounted $900 price and the other 4 at $1,500 each?
"That is correct but you can pick them together."
Let's say someone has financial difficulties and can't pay the last portion of their chairback seat obligation. The portion that they have already paid is non-refundable. Do they completely lose that money?
"It is non-refundable but if they would like to redirect it to another Bulldog Club initiative or if they have football seats that require an annual contribution we could redirect that money into a different fund on the Bulldog Club side."
Here is a question about the Left Field Lounge. How are the people in the Left Field Lounge going to pick their spaces in the lounge area?
"Our desire is to try and get people as close to where they already are. And we have heard that quite a bit. But until we have the design stage done I don't know if we will know exactly what the layout will look like, how the spaces will be configured. But we are going to do everything that we possibly can to locate people as close to where they are now."
What will be the square footage of each Left Field Lounge space be?
"We want each one of them to be roughly 360 square feet (18 x 20), basically the same size they currently are. And we will have multiple designs to choose from. We want to maintain the texture that is out there right now. We don't want it to look uniform. That is part of the charm of the Left Field Lounge, the texture, the depth, the variation in height and width. And we want to maintain that. Some people may simply want a flat bed spot with nothing on it. They may just want to roll their grills in there and put in chairs and a table. Other people may want it tiered. And other people may want some seats installed on it. We will probably have three standard designs that people can choose from."
Am I correct in saying that the student groups will be located in the right field area of the outfield instead of the left field area?
"That is correct. Ideally, we want them to be located in the same area because we want them to be in an area where they can congregate together."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.