As of the deadline for seat sales, how many have you sold?
"We have deposits on a little over 3,500 seats. That is about 91% of what we were selling as season tickets. We like where we are with that number. Of course, we are still taking deposits. The deadline was when the price changed for the seats. It went up to $1,800 per chairback seat. That is a 10-year period. You pay $1,800 per seat and that gives you the right to buy a ticket for that seat for a 10-year period. It is payable over three equal installments."
I believe it was mentioned in the baseball release that 96% of the left field lounge people purchased their spots.
"That's correct. We have had some great conversations with folks who buy spots in the Left Field Lounge. We had a meeting with them, Scott Stricklin and the architect team, on a Saturday after the baseball season was over and had a really great conversation with them. The fact that so many of them came back onboard and purchased their spot is a good sign."
That means about 4 didn't purchase their spots. What are you going to do with those four spots?
"We are going to take some time to figure out how we will make those available. Once we are finished with the design and the architect tells us what it will look like and we get everybody who made their deposits slotted in the right spot, then we will figure out how we want to make those available."
Speaking of the design, is there a possibility that there may be more than four available if the design allows for more spots to be built?
"I think that is a possibility. I don't think we know right now. That is one of the reasons we want to wait. We don't want to make a decision now when we don't know all the possibilities."
After talking to the Left Field Lounge folks, did the design of their spots in LFL change?
"It changed a little bit. What the architects are going to do is present a number, 4, 5 or 6 different option on the layout of the spots. We will then let each person pick out the design that they want for their spot. We don't want it to be cookie cutter. We want each spot to have a lot of texture, a lot of depth. We don't want it to look uniform.
"If you look at it now, some folks have a flatbed trailer that just has table and chairs on it, some folks have two tiers, some folks have a flatbed spot with a little riser in the back with some stadium seats on it. We are going to give them those same type of options. If they have stadium seats that they have mounted on their rigs right now, then we will give them the option to take those same seats and we will install them on their new spots. We are going to try to maintain some of their look."
Did that come directly from the meeting that you had with the Left Field Lounge folks?
"Yes, it kind of evolved from conversations that we had with them and conversations that we had with the architects. I think the positive with the design team that we have working on this is we have Wier Boerner Allin Architecture out of Jackson, MS who are Mississippi State fans and alums. So, maintaining that culture in Left Field Lounge is very important to them. The national firm that we are working with, Populus, is kind of a stadium specialist. They don't have the history of the Left Field Lounge but they are fascinated by it because there is nothing else like it. And they love it. It is important to them that they help maintain that culture because they want to be able to tout that they were a part of it."
What will the actual size of the Left Field Lounge spots be?
"It will either be 8 by 18 or 10 by 20, somewhere in that range. We are going to work to get the same space for them that they currently have. Our commitment to them is we will work to get them the same size space, the same type layout, and in the same general area that they are already located with the same people that are already around them. What seemed to be most important to them was that they get to stay around their current neighbors, keep their grills, bring their own food. And we are committed to making that happen. That is important to us. Left Field Lounge is really about the people who are out there and what goes on out there."
Were all the skybox suites purchased?
"That is another area that we are still taking deposits. We took deposits for 15 suites. We have 17 total, including the baseball alumni suite. So, we pretty much equaled what we have now. But we aren't finished with the design. If there are still people who want to make a deposit on a suite, then we will incorporate that into the design. As for the price, the deadline didn't change anything for suites. Their prices stay the same. The same for the (Left Field Lounge) Lofts. We will continue to take deposits for the suites, the lofts and the club. The deadline didn't affect those folks."
What about the folks who made the one-time gift many years ago, how many of those purchased seats again?
"Of the folks who made deposits on seats, two-thirds of them were the ones who made that one-time gift. Most of those folks have come back onboard."
Now that you have money pledged, when does the actually building process start?
"I think a lot of that depends on what happens during the course of the next five or six months. We are still in a capital campaign phase as well. We are still raising capital gifts to help support the project. Plus, we won't know until later in the fall what the final design will look like. We needed to know how many seats we needed to build. We also needed a stadium that can hold 15,000 people but we also needed something that will work for 4, 5, 6,000 people. You also want it built in a way where no matter where you are sitting or standing you can see the game. That is a pretty challenging thing to build for the design team."
Switching gears, when will people start receiving their men's basketball season ticket applications?
"We are very close to having renewals sent out. It looks like it will be Tuesday or Wednesday (of this week) when they start going out. If everybody renews from last year, then we won't have a lot of seats to offer for sale. We sold a lot of seats last year. We only have about 1,800 seats to work with, all in the upper level and probably on the south end."
Have you seen and heard the excitement level among MSU fans for men's basketball?
"Yes, it has been amazing. When we announced Coach Howland (as the new head coach) we had people calling to order their season tickets right then. When Malik Newman signed we had people want to order tickets right then. We are constantly getting calls from people wanting to buy their tickets.
"I think the challenge for us will be with that limited amount of ticket inventory and our (Bulldog Club) membership growing - we are over 12,000 members now - will be trying to sell those tickets in the right way. We don't want to oversell. We will probably be in a situation where we will put them on sale and have a (Bulldog Club) rank restriction on them. That will be for a window of time. Then, if some are still available, we will put them on sale for the rest of the membership. We will have a deadline by which people can get their rank up by adjusting their pledge or by giving a gift."
What about season tickets for women's basketball?
"That is close to being ready too. We had to wait a little bit longer to get their schedule finalized. But we have had a huge amount of interest in them. They are so much fun to watch. And they had a great recruiting year, too. I think we will see a huge bump in ticket sales for them."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.