Rebuttal to CSU “Blue Book” Stadium options


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Dear Editor:

Please replace CSU’s Summary of Options with this document.
CSU says its information is “internal and external,” but it’s
unattributed, “cherry picked,” and biased. Information below is
verifiable via internet. It uses CSU median numbers for costs
and for donations, unless blatantly erroneous. It considers
important circumstances impacting the General Fund. One, is a
football program that at best breaks even. Two, is a football
program that consistently produces top 25 teams and
corresponding profits, calculated as $240,000,000 over 30

Minimum Hughes: $31,500,000
Initial Cost is $39,000,000 (CSU median figure). If donations are
$7,500,000 (CSU median figure), Net Cost is $31,500,000
from the GF (General Fund). With “top ranks and
corresponding profits” (possible even next year), the
General Fund gains all revenues above the cost of the

Hughes 2050: Cost equals $3,800,000/year/30 years.

Initial Cost is $97,000,000, including: Hughes Minimum at
$39,000,000 and adding 4,000 seats at $17,000,000 (source,
CSU). Then, to build the equivalent of Boise State’s 2008
Stueckle Sky Center, a stadium upgrade virtually identical to
“Hughes 2050,” costs $41,000,000 today (source, Insee)…
$37,500,000 in 2008. Stueckle has all the “premium” aspects
CSU plans, 80,000 more square feet than CSU plans, two
elevator towers, and the world’s largest movable window.  If
donations are $30,000,000, Net Cost is a $67,000,000
revenue bond. With “program at best breaks even,” the GF
pays $115,000,000; with “top ranks and profits,” the GF
gains $125,000,000.

Campus, Phase One: Cost equals $11,100,000/year/30 

Initial Cost is $236,000,000, including: Hughes Maintenance at
$9,000,000 (cost of maintenance until Fall, 2018), the CSU
construction estimate of $189,000,000, and a minimum 20%
cost overrun (that every concrete stadium has had) of
$38,000,000. If donations are $42,500,000, Net Cost is a
$193,500,000 revenue bond. With “program at best breaks
even,” the GF pays $332,600,000; with “top 25 ranks and
profits,” the GF pays $192,600,000.

Campus P3: Cost equals the equivalent of 
$15,900,000/year/30 years

Initial Cost is $295,000,000, including: Hughes Maintenance of
$9,000,000, CSU’s construction estimate of $225,000,000, a
20% cost overrun of $45,000,000, and a Debt Reserve Fund
(financed either privately or by CSU) of $16,000,000. Net Costs
first include $28,000,000 for Hughes Maintenance and Debt
Reserve (if financed). Second, the “lease” payments—after
applying $47,500,000 in donations—are $477,000,000
($15,900,000/year/30 years). With “program at best breaks
even,” the GF pays $505,000,000; with “top 25 ranks and
profits,” the GF pays $265,000,000.

What about promoter CLS’s revenue projections? Forget them.
Their unrealistic analysis pretends the football program’s free.
But program profit and not projected revenue determines the
stadium’s cost to the General Fund. Boise State (in a stadium
now having everything CSU wants) gives an apt example of
“program profit corresponding to top 25 ranks,” $6,800,000
revenue above program costs for 2012 (source, Sportsmoney).
If the Rams have tremendous success most seasons, earnings like Boise’s would provide about $240,000,000 profit, over 30 years, towards a stadium. (That’s factored in above.)

Remember, that in attendance, location, admissions, game‐day
experience, donations, etc., sports economists see no benefit in
this project realistic enough to justify spending general funds.
And Options 3 and 4 seriously harm the General Fund.
Remember also, though the local economy benefits
temporarily from any CSU building project (Options 2‐4), the
opposite’s true for students. They will have to pay for it. So
honesty about costs matters.

Registered voters disapprove of the main campus stadium

In July 2014, SOSH paid for a unbiased, scientific poll of registered Ft Collins voters.

One question was asked by Triton Polling and Research:

What do you think of the proposal to build a new football stadium on CSU’s main campus?

59.9% of the respondents (1099) stated moderately or strongly disapproved.

See the results of the poll at the attached link.

triton poll

Link to download the video of the event:

It’s time to take responsibility and study the real impacts to our community if an on-campus stadium is constructed

Colorado State University is still trying to raise money to building an on-campus stadium, and the Save Our Stadium Hughes group is still trying to stop it.
There are more reasons NOT to build than to proceed (environmental issues, no parking (their initial plan is to park at Hughes and bus fans into town), and spending $300 million on a stadium that will hold 40,000 fans with 4,000 in a standing room only area-Hughes is currently 32,500).
SOSH has started an on line petition drive to get the city council and state legislators to study the financial and environmental impact of the stadium on the Fort Collins community. CLICK BELOW
Please sign this petition and send it on to your friends!
 This football stadium is ”NOT A DONE DEAL”.

Links to intriguing articles

Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham: Dreaming is believing

Denver Post, November 24, 2013

Don’t Ram Through an Unethical Stadium 

Northern Colorado Business Report, Oct 2013

Colorado State University bets on a stadium to fill its coffers

Faced with declining State funding, school believes football project will score
Wall Street Journal, Sept 28, 2013

Cal State scrambling to cover stadium bill

June 16, 2013

Tony Frank proposes tuition increase for 2014

Rocky Mountain Collegian, Oct 17, 2013

City seeks role in stadium project

Coloradoan, Oct 19, 2013

Axed CSU stadium bid language raised ‘pay-to-play’ concerns

Amid criticism, university officials pulled their request for donations from contractors who would work on the proposed $226M stadium.
Coloradoan, Oct 14, 2013

Soapbox: CSU’s bid process for stadium project above-board
By Amy Parsons, vice president for University Operations
includes an Editor’s note since its original publication
Coloradoan, Oct 16, 2013

CSU: ‘miscommunication’ led to controversial, withdrawn football stadium contract language

Coloradoan, Oct 16, 2013

Declining student attendance hits Georgia; At Campuses Across the Country, More Reasons Than Ever to Skip the Game
Wall Street Journal, Sept 26, 2013.

University of Massachusetts bets big on football program despite poor attendance

NPR, October 18, 2013

League of Denial: The NFL concussion crisis
Frontline, October 8, 2013



Zimbalist presentation links

The Changing Economics of College Athletics
and Football Stadiums”

Presented by Dr. Andrew Zimbalist

To a crowd of over 150 Ft Colllins community members, Dr. Andrew Zimbalist recently spoke regarding the changing economics of college athletics and football stadiums.

His presentation can been seen on the following youtube link:






Dr. Andrew Zimbalist to speak in Ft Collins Sept 23

You are cordially invited to attend

The Changing Economics of College Athletics
and Football Stadiums”

Presented by Dr. Andrew Zimbalist
Monday, September 23, 2013
       Noon            Fort Collins Public Library     201 Peterson

 Dr. Andrew Zimbalist is a Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics at Smith College. He was introduced as “the country’s leading sports economist” on Public Broadcasting’s Wall Street Week with Fortune and is recognized as an expert in comparative economic systems, economic development and sports economics.

 Dr. Zimbalist is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Sports Economics. He has authored 21 books and dozens of articles on the economics of sport. His books include The Economics of Sport, I and II and Unpaid Professionals: Commercialism in Big Time College Sports and The Bottom Line: Observations and Arguments in the Sports Business.

He has consulted extensively in the sports industry for players associations, teams, cities and leagues. He has also testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, the New York State Senate, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Knight Commission.

 This presentation will help the Fort Collins community understand the broader economic implications of a new stadium in the changing world of intercollegiate athletics.