East Carolina to conduct stadium feasibility study
Published 11:47 am Friday, April 24, 2015
By TOM MCCLELLAN
ECU Athletic Media Relations
GREENVILLE — The East Carolina University Department of Athletics is turning to its strongest ally and greatest source of energy to help plot the future of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium — the Pirate Nation.
ECU has partnered with Conventions, Sports & Leisure International (CSL), an advisory and planning firm, to conduct a market and financial feasibility study to obtain feedback and help generate informed decisions about possible renovations to the 52-year-old facility. Subsequently, the athletics department and Pirate Club will soon be reaching out to its loyal fan base seeking input for what course to chart.
“Our fans have created one of the best game-day environments in college football,” East Carolina Director of Athletics Jeff Compher said. “Not only have they earned a justified voice in this process, but I would like to think it’s also a wise business decision to ask customers about customer service”.
Emails will be sent to all Pirate Club members, season ticket holders and alumni during the week of April 27, encouraging participation in a survey that will gauge interest and perhaps determine a direction for enhancing the fan experience before, during and after the game.
Through on-site tours and an initial assessment, East Carolina and CSL have identified four potential target areas and elements that warrant an early evaluation of interest:
•Premium seating opportunities on the south side (suites, loge boxes, club seats)
•Potential for west endzone on-field premium experience (hospitality tent suite or club)
•Tailgate and parking upgrades
•Technology needs in premium areas
Additionally, the study will also determine the viability and sustainability for the development of condominium or apartment-style units immediately adjacent to the stadium.
“To make responsible and sound decisions, it is critical we are fully aware of what and where the interest level is.” Compher explained. “This survey will be an important element of that fact-gathering process and to determine what our potential resources are.”
The survey should be considered an exploratory step as part of a broader-based strategic plan designed to not only augment game-day enjoyment for fans, but increase revenue potential that could serve as a greater resource for the community.
The interest cultivation phase does not guarantee the implementation of a construction timeline and completing the survey does not commit fans to any immediate or future purchases.
Compher assured the study is only one step in determining whether the stadium renovation will take place. If the results indicate overwhelming support for the added amenities, the proposal would ultimately be taken to the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors for review and approval. He also expressed that should the project be approved, it would be funded by premium seating revenue and philanthropy, without the use of any state funds.
“The potential revenue gain from stadium enhancements also could generate additional resources for other renovation projects that are a part of a developing athletics master plan,” Compher added. “It would strengthen the department’s fiscal foundation.”
While the Club Level was added as part of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium’s upper deck expansion in 1999, there have not been any additions on the south side of the facility since the existing press box was erected in 1978.