Robertson Stadium served the University of Houston well for years, but in 2010, UH decided it wanted something more—an impressive campus edge feature that would boost revenue, brand, energy, and the game-day experience. The answer arrived in the form of the 40,000-seat TDECU Stadium, which opened in 2014. TDECU Stadium’s features and benefits have reshaped Houston’s brand. One such feature is its strategic seating program—with strategic being the key word. Because seating programs aren’t about what will look nice or how many seats will fit, but how many seats are demanded and what investments will pay off—what revenue will be generated, and how they’ll support operating requirements and potential debt service obligations.
To determine the demand for premium seating at TDECU stadium, UH called in B&D, and the team began with a comprehensive market evaluation and premium-seating analysis of selected comparable markets, conference institutions, and peer institutions. Those findings combined with the results of further analyses (e.g., concept refinement focus groups, financial analyses, surveys) determined the following level of demand and seating mix:
TDECU Stadium’s ultimate design closely followed the recommended seating program:
Three years later, the decision has proven to be a wise one: The stadium has sold out of its premium seating offerings since opening. Further, David Bassity, UH’s senior associate athletic director for strategic communications and digital media, says, “Houston fans who have secured season tickets in the premium-seating areas have consistently enjoyed their game-day experience, and the renewal numbers reflect that. The variable seating options and premium amenities have greatly contributed to the success of premium-seats sales.” And in 2016, the Houston Chronicle reported, “With the move from Robertson Stadium to TDECU Stadium, UH saw an increase in annual football revenue from $1.5 million to $5 million-$6 million.”
The stadium has also helped redevelop UH’s athletics brand by making conference realignment possible, making recruitment easier and more successful, and improving the student-athlete experience.
Spurred by this success, UH’s athletics program has entered a period of striking growth. Multiple other projects are now underway, each bringing in revenue and bolstering excitement around the Cougars.
This is an excerpt of an article published in Sports Business Journal. Read the full article.