Happy Friday Cougs, and happy Avengers Friday! Yes, today is the unofficial "Nerd Super Bowl", as the dorks-n-such line up to watch the spectacular world of make believe on the big screen. And if you have to know, yes, I'll be there this weekend too, ready to have a nerd-gasm. I'm not a comic book guy, but I am always up for a "night at the Theater".
A funny line from The Office last fall, about movies and "the Theater". Andy's parents say they have to leave a party early, for they have theater tickets. Andy asks what they are seeing, and his parents reply? ".....Moneyball."
And of course I am still counting down the days/minutes/seconds until THE DARK KNIGHT RISES! So there you go.
Anyway, I was thinking the other day about the Martin Stadium renovation. Things are really coming along, as witnessed by some recent pics, like these from the Cougfan message boards:
And a new video from a few weeks ago came out from KHQ, where they did a feature story on the progress thus far:
Note - if you can't see the embedded video, you can find it here.
Looks great to me so far! Martin Stadium really is "rising". And you can really get a feel for the sheer size of the new structure, and how much different things are going to be once September gets here.
But in terms of the Pac-12 north anyway, where does the new stadium upgrade actually rank with our cohorts? Let's take a look-see....
CAL GOLDEN BEARS
Stadium situation: After a somewhat lost season played in AT&T Park, home of the SF Giants, the Berkeley Bears move back to the friendly confines in Strawberry Canyon. And all indications so far? It's going to be SPECTACULAR!
Costs: Should come in at about $321 million, give or take a few mil here and there.
Bottom Line: About as complete a renovation as you can get, virtually a total tear-down and redo. While the stadium will be ready for football by August of this year, based on the timeline it appears that what they call "major construction" of the project won't officially be completed until early 2013
It's going to be pretty damn cool once it's done. If you have been to a game down in Berkeley you know first-hand that it's a great setting. The stadium had become a dinosaur, and even possibly a real danger in case of earthquakes, etc. They were due for this thing to get started and now it's going to be a jewel in the Bay Area.
Stadium Situation: The Ducks underwent a massive renovation back in 2001-2002, turning an outdated facility into one of the best on the west coast - if not the country.
Costs: About $90 million from the last renovation, which included adding 12,000 seats and 29 luxury boxes, bringing the capacity to 54,000 but capable of holding more due to standing-room-only situations. Oregon has sold out 79 straight home games, dating back to 1999.
Bottom Line: Oregon says it has no plans to expand even further, however, AD Rod Mullens was quoted last fall that "We haven't launched anything formally" but "we are paying attention" to demand for Oregon home games. While nothing has been announced, doesn't it at least seem like ANOTHER update is coming to Phil Knight's palace, sooner rather than later?? I've heard Bill Moos say several times in the last few years that back in his Oregon days, they always 1) created demand on the field, then 2) expanded the stadium accordingly. I mean could there be any more of a nightmare scenario than expanding a stadium only to have more empty seats?? But Oregon had nearly 60,000 at a game last year due to standing room only, and as hot a ticket as the Ducks are right now, you know it's a matter of time before they add another 6,000 or so seats.
Stadium Situation: Our state "cousins" to the south, Oregon State has been doing the same kind of thing that our own Cougs are currently doing in terms of expansion phases, only at a quicker pace and a larger scale.
Costs: $80 million for phase one starting in 2005, and now up to $115 million in total from the additional phases.
Bottom Line: in 2005, phase one was completed, bringing seating capacity to 43K, and then other phases were completed in 2006 and 2007. Now the seating capacity is officially 45,674, and with the newer phases they added the football only facility as well as an 80-foot video scoreboard. Future upgrades are planned, where eventually Reser Stadium will approach 55,000 seats.
Stadium Situation: A huge renovation in 2006 has transformed the Farm from an empty, cavernous place to a really nice, modern facility.
Costs: $90 million
Bottom Line: There really won't be any reason for renovations at Stanford for a while, as there really shouldn't be after what was a complete rebuild just 5+ years ago! What's interesting is how they not only ripped out the track at the old facility, but also gave up 30k+ seats in the process (from 85,500 to the 50,000 you see now). I'm still kind of amazed they pulled off what they did for under $100 million dollars?
Stadium Situation: Like Stanford and also Cal, a complete renovation is under way, as UW will play at Century Link for 2012.
And yes, even I will admit it - the end result is going to be nice in 2013.
Costs: Some of the reports vary in terms of costs, but I have seen $250 million consistently. This would include everything, including the football operations building built into the structure.
Bottom Line: Like Stanford, UW is ripping out the track and getting the fans closer to the action with the new facility. The seating capacity will decrease, but only slightly, to just about 71K. A football operations building will be built into the structure, always a key in recruiting. Several other upgrades will be visible throughout, from bathrooms to open concourses to luxury seating.
So there you have it, from the Pac-12 north anyway (note - Arizona and ASU have some changes in store as well, but I thought it was most important to take a look at our own division, just to see where we stand in our own neighborhood?).
I know there is a major sense of excitement around the football program right now, and with Mike Leach and the stadium renovation and the new Pac-12 TV money, rightly so. This is an exciting time to be a Pac-12 fan, period, but it's great to see the Cougs trying to keep up with the competition. The good news is that more phases are planned for Martin Stadium, so we are really still in the middle of what is yet to come. Moos has the grand vision of the next phase, which should include a football only facility built into the west end zone.
That said, we clearly have a ways to go to try and level the playing field(s)? While this phase of Martin Stadium is still heavily under construction, we have to do everything possible to make sure the NEXT phase goes through. While WSU will never be in a position to WIN this so-called arms race among the conference superpowers, we certainly have to have the mind-set that we can keep up and compete in the recruiting wars. And when you really look around, everyone in the division has done some major work in the last decade. Flush with new cash and an enhanced level of prominence with the Pac-12, Martin Stadium has to continue to rise!
All for now. Enjoy your Friday, and as always, GO COUGS!