1501 South 11th Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59717-2750
Tel: (406) 994-2053
Toll Free: (800) 457-1696
Fax: (406) 994-6081
President & CEO
1. How much money has been raised so far?
Numbers are updated at www.montana.edu/EZ regularly. Private donations are being matched 1:1 with university-approved financing up to $4 million (for a total of $8 million). Although the president has agreed to match up to $4 million, this funding is not a gift, but a loan that will be repaid with future athletics revenues. The number on the progress bar at the EZ Campaign website includes both private donations and the financing match.
2. Given the current economic conditions, why are we pursuing this project now?
Bobcat Stadium is at capacity. Ten of the past 12 home games have been sell-outs. Ticket sales have averaged 104 percent of stadium capacity this year, thanks to the addition of temporary bleachers and sales of standing-room-only tickets. Over the past five years, ticket sales have averaged 99 percent of capacity. The stadium may not look filled to capacity at times because students do not have reserved seats, so they tend to stand during the game and compress towards the field, leaving the upper rows empty. When the students move to the lower bowl in the end zone, they will have ten times more rail space and be closer to the action, so this effect will be minimized.
3. How many seats will the End Zone Project add?
The first phase of the project will add 4,500 seats. The current end zone bleachers seat 2,000, so we will have a net gain of 2,500 seats. If we are able to raise the $10 million necessary to completely bowl-in the south end zone, we will have an additional 2,700 seats, for a net gain exceeding 5,200 seats.
4. What will be the capacity of Bobcat Stadium when the renovations have been completed?
Current sell-outs have been around 15,000, but that includes temporary bleachers and standing-room-only (SRO) tickets. The new grandstand seating will eliminate some of the areas where the temporary bleachers are and where fans with SRO tickets have traditionally watched the game. So, the new capacity total will exceed 17,000.
5. What are the plans for season ticket holders currently in the end zone bleachers?
Season ticket holders currently in the end zone bleachers would have the option to remain in the end zone. With the projected capacity of the new end zone grandstand seating at 7,200, there will be plenty of seats to accommodate current season ticket holders.
6. What will be the impact on students' game day experience when the student section were located in the lower bowl of the new end zone grandstand?
There are a number of advantages for students:
- A new student-only ticketless gate would give students easy access to their seating area.
- The end zone grandstand would be brand-new: new seating, new restrooms and new concessions.
- Purchases at student-oriented concessions in the new addition could be made with a Cat Card.
- There would be 10 times more rail space than there is in the current student section, so more students could be closer to the action.
- Members of The Spirit of the West Marching Band would no longer be separated from their fellow students.
- There would be a clear view of the scoreboard at the other end of the field.
7. What will be the impact on the Bobcat football team with the student section located in the lower bowl of the new end zone grandstand?
Football players love it when their fans become "the 12th man" at home and have an impact on the game. Students are often our most vocal fans and would give our team a competitive advantage in critical situations:
- When the visiting team is driving towards the south end zone and the Bobcats are making a defensive stand, a loud, proud crowd can disrupt play-calling and make it hard for the offense to hear the count.
- Students waving arms, towels and thunder sticks can be distracting to the opposing team's kicker.
- When a game is on the line in overtime and the home team gets to choose which end of the field to play on, the fans in the end zone can be the difference between a win and a loss.
8. How many seats would students get in a larger Bobcat Stadium?
Currently students are issued about 3,000 free tickets per game. With the larger stadium capacity, students will be allocated 4,100 seats per game.
9. Where will the new scoreboard be located?
Location of the scoreboard has not been finalized in the design scheme. However, a location at the north end zone is being given greater consideration in an effort to provide maximum visibility to the stadium grandstands and fans.
10. The promise has been made that no student fees or tuition will be used to pay for this project. That promise has been made before and broken. How do we know that won't happen again?
This project is different from the project in 1997, and there are a number of reasons why what happened then will not happen with this project:
- The law that applies to the way this construction project is happening (with the leasing of a portion of the stadium to the project manager, the MSU Foundation) prohibits the use of state dollars, which would include student tuition and fees.
- The use of tuition and student fees is stipulated by the Board of Regents and the university will not be asking the Regents to use tuition or fees for this project.
- The financing portion of this project, which is a loan, not a gift, is backed up by a variety of sources of athletics revenue, which would include football ticket sales, revenue from sky suites, revenue from new concessions stands, basketball ticket sales, advertising and more.
- In true Montana fashion, we will be presenting a conservative financial plan to the Board of Regents for approval.
11. Why are improvements to Bobcat Stadium a campus priority?
The stadium is just one of the university's priorities. Athletic competition generates excitement and donor interest. So far 20 percent of the EZ Campaign donors are giving their first gift to MSU; 80 percent of the donors that support the EZ campaign are giving their largest gift to the university. Private support is rolling in for this project and this giving trend can translate to support for other MSU programs in the future.
12. Why is it that we always seem to find money for athletics?
Despite all the attention that athletics gets in the press, the reality is that approximately 93 percent of the funds distributed from the MSU Foundation go to support MSU's academic mission. Only six to seven percent of what the foundation has raised is restricted to athletics, and approximately the same percentage of the foundation's endowment is designated for athletics.
13. Why aren't we putting all this money and effort into equipping classrooms and laboratories?
The university is investing in all aspects of campus facilities. Just this fall we celebrated the completion of three instructional facilities totaling over $50 million. The $15.7 million Animal Bioscience Building and the $32 million renovation of Gaines Hall added over 100,000 square-feet of new state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories to our campus. Hamilton Hall is now the home of MSU's new two-year program after a $4.3 million renovation project. The previous year, students and faculty enjoyed renovations and improvements to classrooms in Reid Hall and Roberts Hall.
14. There are a lot of needs on campus. Why don't we spend the money elsewhere?
Money raised for the EZ Campaign has been designated specifically for the project by donors. The MSU Foundation would be failing in its mission to be good stewards of donor dollars if money raised for the end zone project was diverted to other projects.
15. Why are we concentrating on athletics?
Athletic contests generate excitement for our students and the entire community. Visitors generate revenue for local businesses. The university increases its visibility through television and radio broadcasts that reach across the state and beyond. School spirit and alumni pride is enhanced and positive memories of the excitement of college athletics can lay a foundation for future giving.
16. Why aren't we raising money for scholarships?
The additional seating provided by this expansion could result in an additional $200,000 - $300,000 annually for student-athlete scholarships from increased Bobcat Club memberships.
17. When will we see the improvements to the stadium?
Assuming that the Board of Regents approves the construction and financing plan, demolition will begin as soon as possible after the end of the football season. The goal is to begin construction in the spring of 2011 and have everything completed in time for the home opener Sept. 10. With the Griz coming to Bozeman in 2011, Bobcat Stadium should be the loudest it's ever been for the annual rivalry game.
18. Is the Bobcat Stadium expansion laying the groundwork for a move to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC)?
No. The stadium expansion is based solely on need and the desire to enhance the game day experience for our fans. We are not in a position to move to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level at this time. We would need an annual athletics budget of around $20 million to move to the WAC, which is about $8 million more than our current athletics budget.
19. Will there be handicap accessibility in the new addition?
Yes. The addition will meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Accessibility, from the parking lot to seating, will all be addressed.
20. What is the deadline for raising the funds necessary?
All pledges must be turned in to the MSU Foundation by this year's Cat-Griz game (December 16, 2010) to keep the project on track. Pledges can be fulfilled over five years.
21. Are you using other Foundation funds for this project?
No. Only donor funds earmarked for this project may be used.