South Alabama set to Open New Stadium in 2020
The University of South Alabama is set to open an on-campus stadium by the fall of 2020. This move has been talked about locally for years and is finally set to become a reality. The new facility is set to cost an estimated $72 million dollars and will seat around 25,000 fans.
While Today’s vote is a major step toward stadium construction, it is not the final step to approval. There are still funding hurdles remaining to be cleared.
According to the resolution, no stadium funding would come from student tuition or fees. In addition, the university is currently in negotiations with the City of Mobile and Mobile County for debt-service funding. With additional funding coming from “private and corporate support.”
South Alabama plays their home games currently at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, which is roughly eight miles from their campus. To put it nicely, Ladd-Peebles Stadium is “antiquated”.
According to George Talbot, the Senior Director of Communications and External Affairs for the City of Mobile, “The City of Mobile was approached by the University of South Alabama to consider participating in a public-private partnership for construction of a new football stadium to be located on the university campus. The City is motivated to help USA achieve its goal and to continue its growth as an economic engine for Mobile. The City is additionally motivated to secure a long-term home for the Reese’s Senior Bowl, the Dollar General Bowl, the Gulf Coast Challenge and future events that can promote economic development in Mobile. Those events are currently held at the city-owned Ladd-Peebles Stadium, an aging facility in need of significant maintenance and repair.
Negotiations between the City and USA are ongoing and we are optimistic that they will be successful. The project represents a generational opportunity for the City and USA, creating a world-class amenity to be enjoyed by students and citizens alike.”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN GOING FORWARD?
It will be tremendous for the University of South Alabama. It will give them one of the best facilities in the Sun Belt Conference. Which will also be a recruiting advantage against their conference foes. South Alabama has a large alumni base and this new stadium may encourage them to actually attend future football games. Also having the stadium on campus will make it easier for current students to attend games.
Based on a quote from Dollar General Bowl president Jerry Silverstein, that he told to AL.com earlier this month, I would expect a quick announcement that their game will move to the new stadium. The game annually pits teams from the MAC and Sun Belt against each other.
The Senior Bowl is a bit different. All of that game’s operations are based in downtown Mobile, which is much closer to Ladd-Peebles Stadium than it will be to the new stadium on the South Alabama campus. And despite a drop in attendance the last six years, the Senior Bowl draws more than the capacity of the new stadium.
As a resident of the City of Mobile, I will be following all of this intently.
Let us know in the comments what you think about the potential new stadium for the University of South Alabama.