Florida Board of Governors approves plan for USF's $340 million stadium
The approved stadium will include 35,000 seats and host USF's football and women’s lacrosse teams.
The Florida Board of Governors greenlit a plan for the University of South Florida’s on-campus stadium Friday.
The proposal for the 35,000-seat stadium was approved by the USF Board of Trustees in June. It's expected to cost about $340 million.
The stadium will be built on the east side of the Tampa campus on a site called Sycamore Fields, according to a press release. The expected opening date is fall 2026.
USF President Rhea Law and Board of Trustees Chair Will Weatherford told the Board of Governors that the stadium would benefit the community, according to the release.
“Bulls Nation deserves to have a stadium on USF’s campus,” Weatherford said. “Our time has come. Our 50,000 students, our alumni, faculty, staff, and our greater community all deserve the benefits that come with a stadium on our campus. The stadium will be a rallying point that brings people together and helps connect and inspire generations of Bulls fans far and wide.”
$200 million of the costs will be borrowed and paid over 20 years with an interest rate of around 5.5%. USF will repay the loan from several sources, according to the release, including revenues from the stadium and USF Athletics. Funds will also come from sources like capital gifts, the Capital Improvement Trust Fund, and proceeds from a 2017 FCC auction, which includes the sale of WUSF TV's broadband.
"This project is about doing what's right for the entire community, and that begins and ends with a sound and transparent financial planning for this project," Weatherford said. "This Board of Governors has my personal commitment that we will not enter into any financial arrangement that places this university's financial integrity at risk."
But two memos from the state’s Division of Bond Finance say USF's estimate of ticket revenues for the new stadium were too high, and warn that the school may need to cut the athletics budget or need funds from the university endowment if they miss fundraising goals.
The Board of Governors’ decision comes a day after Tampa General Hospital announced a $25 million donation to USF to support its athletics district.