Martin upgrade: Time is now to buy best seats

ON SEPT. 6, WHEN WSU opens Pac-10 play in Pullman against Cal, fans will see the dramatic results of phases I and II in the evolving renovation of Martin Stadium. Yet the most important upgrade -- the $40 million phase III construction of 2,200 premium seats -- still looms. How quickly it takes to go from blueprints to reality hinges on how fast fans pre-order that suite, loge and club seating.

So far, so good. Since public fundraising phase for phase III kicked off on May 14, WSU has secured signed commitments to fill approximately 35 percent of the 2,200 premium seats, which will be located on the north side of the stadium.

Construction on phase III is targeted to begin in January with completion set for before the start of the 2010 season.

But in order for that start date to become a reality, Washington State needs to increase sales of those seats to 60 percent of the total number by the beginning of August. That would allow WSU to use the revenue from those early sales to secure critically needed bonded financing for the project.

"People are going to be blown away when they come to see that first football game in September. But from a visual, revenue and recruiting basis, the addition of the premium seating is something that will help all the athletic programs. It's something that just makes us better," predicts Justin Felker, associate director of development for the WSU Athletic Foundation.


Mock up looking east to north.

WSU forecasts that the revenue generated from the 2,200 premium seats will produce $3.7 million per season – almost equaling the $4 million generated each season by the stadium's existing 35,000 seats.

People who have signed commitments to buy suite, loge or club seats will receive priority for the location of the seats based on the size of their donation to the project. A gift of $500,000 spread over five years guarantees the opportunity to buy a suite; $100,000 a loge box; and $5,000 a club seat.

Early interest in the suite and loge seats is high, Felker said, while "club seats are our biggest area of concern right now."


Mock up of the remodeled plaza area.

"I'm very confident we will hit the August deadline. It's more a matter of educating people on the process of purchasing the premium seats," he said.

The club level will include 1,280 outdoor and 144 indoor seats. The outdoor seats will cost between $1,700 and $2,000 annually, depending on location. The indoor club seats will cost $2,500 per seat per season.

Felker said the 35 loge boxes, which features covered seating and can hold up to six, is the hottest ticket right now.

More than 30 people have expressed interest in purchasing the 18 suites, which can seat up to 24.

"Word of mouth is really helping us a lot right now," Felker said. "We just need to present the need and the Cougar Nation responds. This is something that can really make a difference. We know Cougars will rally around this new deadline and that we'll not only hit it, but exceed it."

NOTES:

* For more information on contributing to the Martin Stadium upgrade and/or to secure premium seats, contact Felker at jfelker@wsu.edu.

* For details on the $2.4 million scoreboard that is going up in Martin Stadium this season, click to previous CF.C story New board goes up in August .


Wider concourses are just one of the enhancements underway.


Phases I and II will be completed by season opener Sept. 6.


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