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LR to Conduct Feasibilty Study for Football & Marching Band
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arkstfan Away
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Post: #11
RE: LR to Conduct Feasibilty Study for Football & Marching Band
I think it is a really big challenge.

Just working through a few categories of spending reported to the state, I think LR could do it for about $3.5 million on a ULM style budget. Understand that is budget that has produced one three-way shared title in football, one tennis title and one baseball title and tends to lead the Sun Belt in last and next to last place finishes.

ULM's Sun Belt conference all-time records:
Football 52-63 .441
Baseball 118-180 .396
Men's basketball 70-112 .385
Women's hoops 72-128 .360
Softball 84-162 .341
Soccer 17-92-5 .171
Volleyball 18-172 (four winless seasons) .095

I see no point in adding football if there is no interest in competing for titles in any sport.

Realistically, the annual operating budget has to increase by at least $7 million as an ongoing outlay.

The land currently tabbed for a new baseball stadium has to be used for football practice facilities, offices, training facilities, meeting rooms, and weight rooms. You could maybe put a football building in and use the soccer field but then you have scheduling issues and women's soccer can't get stuffed into the "worst" spots all the time and still build a baseball stadium.

If you intend to compete, figure $15 million as the absolute bare bones building. If you want indoor practice facility (most people you will recruit against have one) figure another $5 million. In short really requires $20 million to $30 million upfront to be competitive just in capital costs and you probably stay at Hogan Field.

As to the market.

LR is squirrel ass crazy. If it is hip, cool, trendy, popular, Little Rock will support it.

When Trojan hoops were cool trendy and popular the Trojans drew large crowds. Become nationally irrelevant people disappeared.

I mean look at the holy of holies, the irreplaceable Arkansas tradition, Hog football in Little Rock. They've struggled to sell tickets in Little Rock and I don't mean just FCS opponents or low tier FBS. Mark "I've Always Supported UALR Football" Stodala less than three years ago was begging people to buy tickets for Arkansas - Georgia because there were a few thousand unsold tickets on the Thursday before the game.

As I recall it ended up officially being a sellout but there were people who bought up tickets to give away to youth clubs.

Despite the years of moaning about how games at WMS were the most fun and loudest, mediocre to bad Hog football wouldn't keep them coming out despite the purported great atmosphere.

Cracking through the local media is a challenge. You have to deal with KARK generally won't report a sports story that doesn't have a School Out West component, KATV generally owns the Hog fans, KTHV has a dedicated Hog segment, I have no clue what KLRT does. Dem-Gaz has been using one person to cover every college other than SOW.

I don't buy into the "football is big" thing. I think it's BS.

Television viewership in Birmingham for college football is roughly equal to college football viewership in New York City. With a 6-6 squad, UAB drew 21,000 with the help of home games against Troy and Alabama A&M, the year before 10,500, usually hanging around 15k most seasons after two decades of play. Birmingham isn't college football crazy, it is Bama and Auburn crazy.

Obviously Ohio loves college football, the Buckeyes average 107k per game, but Akron 10,300, BGSU 15k. Kent St 10,900, Miami 17,000, Toledo 20,600. Ohio is crazy about Ohio State and the others have their niche or don't. Michigan can draw 110,000 while 8 miles down the road Eastern Michigan has generally averaged under 15k. If people love college football EMU is cheaper and easier to go to, they love Wolverine football.

The idea that there is this mass that is just dying to see "college football" is bull. UAPB is just down the road and averages 4,000 to 6,000, UCA is even closer and didn't do 8,000 last year, yet when AState was a I-AA playoff team we were averaging 12,000 to 15,000 even with having to play first round games on campus during Thanksgiving break.

For football to be successful, you have to have people who feel invested in the program and want to by tickets.

Here is a breakdown of collegiate plates for the 15 schools with most plates issued. All it tells us is how many people are willing to plunk down an extra $35 to have their favorite school's logo on their license plate. It ought to give us some sense of fan interest, because these generally aren't the more casual folks.

UArk 36,062
AState 4552
UAPB 2465
UCA 1328
Tech 844
Ouachita 614
Henderson 607
UAM 587
Hendrix 554
SAU 530
LR 508
Harding 392
School for the Deaf 375
UAMS 329
Lyon 184

That would concern me if I'm getting ready to commit to $20 million in capital projects, a year of non-revenue football playing as a club team, two years of FCS, and then two years of transition to FBS (though you can start getting the fat guarantee checks in year two of transition).

UAPB
07-13-2017 02:50 PM
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mjs Offline
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Post: #12
RE: LR to Conduct Feasibilty Study for Football & Marching Band
(07-13-2017 02:50 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  I think it is a really big challenge.

Just working through a few categories of spending reported to the state, I think LR could do it for about $3.5 million on a ULM style budget. Understand that is budget that has produced one three-way shared title in football, one tennis title and one baseball title and tends to lead the Sun Belt in last and next to last place finishes.

ULM's Sun Belt conference all-time records:
Football 52-63 .441
Baseball 118-180 .396
Men's basketball 70-112 .385
Women's hoops 72-128 .360
Softball 84-162 .341
Soccer 17-92-5 .171
Volleyball 18-172 (four winless seasons) .095

I see no point in adding football if there is no interest in competing for titles in any sport.

Realistically, the annual operating budget has to increase by at least $7 million as an ongoing outlay.

The land currently tabbed for a new baseball stadium has to be used for football practice facilities, offices, training facilities, meeting rooms, and weight rooms. You could maybe put a football building in and use the soccer field but then you have scheduling issues and women's soccer can't get stuffed into the "worst" spots all the time and still build a baseball stadium.

If you intend to compete, figure $15 million as the absolute bare bones building. If you want indoor practice facility (most people you will recruit against have one) figure another $5 million. In short really requires $20 million to $30 million upfront to be competitive just in capital costs and you probably stay at Hogan Field.

As to the market.

LR is squirrel ass crazy. If it is hip, cool, trendy, popular, Little Rock will support it.

When Trojan hoops were cool trendy and popular the Trojans drew large crowds. Become nationally irrelevant people disappeared.

I mean look at the holy of holies, the irreplaceable Arkansas tradition, Hog football in Little Rock. They've struggled to sell tickets in Little Rock and I don't mean just FCS opponents or low tier FBS. Mark "I've Always Supported UALR Football" Stodala less than three years ago was begging people to buy tickets for Arkansas - Georgia because there were a few thousand unsold tickets on the Thursday before the game.

As I recall it ended up officially being a sellout but there were people who bought up tickets to give away to youth clubs.

Despite the years of moaning about how games at WMS were the most fun and loudest, mediocre to bad Hog football wouldn't keep them coming out despite the purported great atmosphere.

Cracking through the local media is a challenge. You have to deal with KARK generally won't report a sports story that doesn't have a School Out West component, KATV generally owns the Hog fans, KTHV has a dedicated Hog segment, I have no clue what KLRT does. Dem-Gaz has been using one person to cover every college other than SOW.

I don't buy into the "football is big" thing. I think it's BS.

Television viewership in Birmingham for college football is roughly equal to college football viewership in New York City. With a 6-6 squad, UAB drew 21,000 with the help of home games against Troy and Alabama A&M, the year before 10,500, usually hanging around 15k most seasons after two decades of play. Birmingham isn't college football crazy, it is Bama and Auburn crazy.

Obviously Ohio loves college football, the Buckeyes average 107k per game, but Akron 10,300, BGSU 15k. Kent St 10,900, Miami 17,000, Toledo 20,600. Ohio is crazy about Ohio State and the others have their niche or don't. Michigan can draw 110,000 while 8 miles down the road Eastern Michigan has generally averaged under 15k. If people love college football EMU is cheaper and easier to go to, they love Wolverine football.

The idea that there is this mass that is just dying to see "college football" is bull. UAPB is just down the road and averages 4,000 to 6,000, UCA is even closer and didn't do 8,000 last year, yet when AState was a I-AA playoff team we were averaging 12,000 to 15,000 even with having to play first round games on campus during Thanksgiving break.

For football to be successful, you have to have people who feel invested in the program and want to by tickets.

Here is a breakdown of collegiate plates for the 15 schools with most plates issued. All it tells us is how many people are willing to plunk down an extra $35 to have their favorite school's logo on their license plate. It ought to give us some sense of fan interest, because these generally aren't the more casual folks.

UArk 36,062
AState 4552
UAPB 2465
UCA 1328
Tech 844
Ouachita 614
Henderson 607
UAM 587
Hendrix 554
SAU 530
LR 508
Harding 392
School for the Deaf 375
UAMS 329
Lyon 184

That would concern me if I'm getting ready to commit to $20 million in capital projects, a year of non-revenue football playing as a club team, two years of FCS, and then two years of transition to FBS (though you can start getting the fat guarantee checks in year two of transition).

UAPB

Those license plate numbers are interesting and I believe pretty telling about local support for UALR- 2 of those are in my garage every night. I have a hard time believing UALR football could be successful in this city- but the Little Rock Rangers are drawing about 5 times what I expected. Still the costs seem overwhelming.
07-13-2017 03:27 PM
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arkstfan Away
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Post: #13
RE: LR to Conduct Feasibilty Study for Football & Marching Band
(07-13-2017 03:27 PM)mjs Wrote:  Those license plate numbers are interesting and I believe pretty telling about local support for UALR- 2 of those are in my garage every night. I have a hard time believing UALR football could be successful in this city- but the Little Rock Rangers are drawing about 5 times what I expected. Still the costs seem overwhelming.

Depends on how you define success.

To me success would be having the capacity to have one of the best 5 football complexes in the Sun Belt, having the capacity to hire a staff and bring in a few walkon caliber players and work with them, then the next fall playing club football, the next year playing FCS. After the second season of FCS announcing the transition, playing a third year of FCS as an FBS transitional, then a year of transition playing an FBS schedule, then finally joining FBS and by the fifth season of FBS play, make a bowl game.

Absolute minimum, I wouldn't want to see an FBS school on the schedule any sooner than the fifth season of play.

Ideally, I'd want to play club two years, and four years of FCS before starting transition but that's a hard hard sell, people put up the dollars they want to start seeing Tulsa and Memphis rolling in.

The club level athletes won't be very good because schools offering full rides are going to get them.

But FIU, FAU, USA, GaSt, UTSA have shown you can go from nothing to something and make a bowl fairly quickly and USA isn't that much larger than UALR but people don't understand how isolated Mobile is, they are actually closer to LSU than Bama and Auburn and they have a whomping large endowment. They are also trying to put together the money to build their own stadium because their stadium is a 40k version of War Memorial with even worse amenities. They also have the advantage of not answering to a university system.
07-13-2017 03:58 PM
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chiefsfan Online
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Post: #14
RE: LR to Conduct Feasibilty Study for Football & Marching Band
(07-13-2017 02:36 PM)mjs Wrote:  
(07-13-2017 11:25 AM)RamblinRedWolf Wrote:  First off, yes football is king in the south and I think there would be an immediate "niche group" that would develop and turn out for games. (I won't speculate and say how many but if there are 2-3,000 that show up for Hendrix games and even several hundred for Lyon games in Batesville, I have no doubt in my mind there'd be a couple of thousand intrigued, football hungry peeps that would show up to War Memorial). The biggie will be how quick can they become competitive and start having successful seasons? Everybody loves winners and winning does more than look good on paper (ask Astate fans and peeps with the recent massive budget increases and facility improvements)

Another thing to keep in mind is how they're marketed in Little Rock. Perfect example is the Little Rock Rangers-I thought it was dead on arrival when they were first announced. But not only did they establish themselves at the perfect time (with this sudden revival of popularity with soccer in the country) but they've been really smart and really focused on trying to appeal to the "young and hipster crowds" by getting food truck vendors involved, along with the local breweries giving people another excuse to tailgate at War Memorial. I know quite a bit of people my age and who I went to school with that turn out to Rangers games quite frequently, even some that are season ticket holders now.

Yes, the Rangers have apparently done a really good job. I thought they were crazy when they announced they would play at War Memorial- their league only requires a 500 seat "stadium", and thus UALR's soccer field would have fit the requirement (maybe a small bleacher would have been need to be added). While they obviously have over 50,000 empty seats, every game, their attendance was reportedly 6th out of the 90 teams in their division. Too bad Little Rock doesn't have a 5K soccer specific stadium. Maybe working with UALR to increase their capacity to 2500 to 3000 would still be a good idea.

You guys really should look at working together with the Rangers to create a 3-4K seat stadium that they would have primary use of, but you guys would get to use for Soccer as well

Could draw in recruits easily just showing you have an actual stadium to play in compared to most of the rest of the country.
07-18-2017 09:26 PM
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PTJR Offline
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Post: #15
RE: LR to Conduct Feasibilty Study for Football & Marching Band
(07-18-2017 09:26 PM)chiefsfan Wrote:  
(07-13-2017 02:36 PM)mjs Wrote:  
(07-13-2017 11:25 AM)RamblinRedWolf Wrote:  First off, yes football is king in the south and I think there would be an immediate "niche group" that would develop and turn out for games. (I won't speculate and say how many but if there are 2-3,000 that show up for Hendrix games and even several hundred for Lyon games in Batesville, I have no doubt in my mind there'd be a couple of thousand intrigued, football hungry peeps that would show up to War Memorial). The biggie will be how quick can they become competitive and start having successful seasons? Everybody loves winners and winning does more than look good on paper (ask Astate fans and peeps with the recent massive budget increases and facility improvements)

Another thing to keep in mind is how they're marketed in Little Rock. Perfect example is the Little Rock Rangers-I thought it was dead on arrival when they were first announced. But not only did they establish themselves at the perfect time (with this sudden revival of popularity with soccer in the country) but they've been really smart and really focused on trying to appeal to the "young and hipster crowds" by getting food truck vendors involved, along with the local breweries giving people another excuse to tailgate at War Memorial. I know quite a bit of people my age and who I went to school with that turn out to Rangers games quite frequently, even some that are season ticket holders now.

Yes, the Rangers have apparently done a really good job. I thought they were crazy when they announced they would play at War Memorial- their league only requires a 500 seat "stadium", and thus UALR's soccer field would have fit the requirement (maybe a small bleacher would have been need to be added). While they obviously have over 50,000 empty seats, every game, their attendance was reportedly 6th out of the 90 teams in their division. Too bad Little Rock doesn't have a 5K soccer specific stadium. Maybe working with UALR to increase their capacity to 2500 to 3000 would still be a good idea.

You guys really should look at working together with the Rangers to create a 3-4K seat stadium that they would have primary use of, but you guys would get to use for Soccer as well

Could draw in recruits easily just showing you have an actual stadium to play in compared to most of the rest of the country.

And why would spending bucks on a non-revenue sport make sense while this football idea is being considered? Baseball is already waiting for the funding for a ball field.
07-18-2017 10:34 PM
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arkstfan Away
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Post: #16
RE: LR to Conduct Feasibilty Study for Football & Marching Band
There apparently is some level of interest in adding a USL soccer team but WMS won't work.

Rather than starting from scratch, the better solution is bring in a jackhammer and remove a few rows worth of concrete from the east side and then build a new retaining wall that will allow for a wider field. Even better would be tear out the north and south end zone bleachers and sell them for scrap.

What you are left with is still large enough to handle the state playoffs, regular season high school, Salt Bowl, and UALR if the money is there.
07-20-2017 03:37 PM
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mjs Offline
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Post: #17
RE: LR to Conduct Feasibilty Study for Football & Marching Band
(07-20-2017 03:37 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  There apparently is some level of interest in adding a USL soccer team but WMS won't work.

Rather than starting from scratch, the better solution is bring in a jackhammer and remove a few rows worth of concrete from the east side and then build a new retaining wall that will allow for a wider field. Even better would be tear out the north and south end zone bleachers and sell them for scrap.

What you are left with is still large enough to handle the state playoffs, regular season high school, Salt Bowl, and UALR if the money is there.

Once the hogs are gone, War Memorial could be remodeled into a nice, 30K venue that would work for soccer, UALR football, a possible bowl game, concerts, etc. Real hard to imagine sitting like sardines, on burning hot metal bleachers, for Guns & Roses next weekend. Maybe the time is right for the city to invest in the stadium, UALR football, etc. Still not sure about the viability of UALR football, but now is the time if it ever going to happen.
07-21-2017 12:00 PM
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