"There is no place like Nebraska, dear old Nebraska U. . ." This song is mystically carried by the wind throughout the state of Nebraska as the Husker football team takes to the field. Memorial Stadium is the only place to be on these enchanted fall afternoons as the stadium is transformed into the state's third-largest "city," where the "Best fans in College Football" come nationwide to be a part of the magic.
Nebraska's home sellout streak started on Nov. 3, 1962. Since that game, Husker fans from across the nation have poured into Memorial Stadium for an NCAA record 201-consecutive "sold-out" games. Last year's Homecoming game with Colorado marked the 200th straight home contest in which the Husker zealots have packed the venerable Memorial Stadium. Red-and-white clad Husker enthusiasts will make the "pilgrimage" to Lincoln for seven afternoon games this autumn, featuring three squads that played in bowl games a year ago.
Big Red "fever" not only affects the faithful who jam Memorial Stadium, but the "epidemic" spreads throughout the land as loyal legions of fans gather around radios and television sets to cheer on their beloved Huskers.
On game day, the pulse of the city quickens as chants of "Go Big Red" echo through the streets of Lincoln. Season after season, year after year, Memorial Stadium on the University of Nebraska campus is one of the truly special places to enjoy a college football game.
A year ago, a new tradition started at Husker games. With the addition of the HuskerVision replay boards and NU's new state-of-the-art sound system, Husker fans can now watch NU players make their way from the "tunnel walk," down Husker boulevard and onto the field, as the Allan Parson Project's "Sirius" brings the frenzied, sellout crowd to a feverish pitch.
Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Sports Information Office
July 1998 - The University of Nebraska quickly paid for a luxury box addition by selling the 10 closest to the 50-yard line for $2 million apiece.
THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
October 29, 2005 - When it comes to big time sports in the State of Nebraska, nothing, but NOTHING, beats out Nebraska Cornhuskers football. And here in Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska, Memorial Stadium stands proudly as the landmark on the northern edge of downtown, welcoming football fans from across the state. And Nebraska football has an amazing sellout streak, a current NCAA record, which began in 1962 and which will reach 275 games by the end of the 2005 season.
Lincoln has much of the feel of a college town…the stadium and campus are on the north end of the city, and the university blends in nicely with the downtown core and the state office buildings and facilities. Tucked adjacent to the campus is Historic Haymarket, an old warehouse district stretching over several blocks and bound by brick streets. The neighborhood is replete with antique and specialty shops, sidewalk cafes, sports bars, hotels and restaurants. On game days the streets are packed with fans and folks just looking for a good party.
Also not to be overlooked is Haymarket Park, just a ½ mile west of Memorial Stadium, another in the wave of retro minor league ballparks and home for Huskers Baseball and the independent league Lincoln Saltdogs. Their parking lots are open on game days for tailgating and the ballpark offers pregame entertainment and concession stands are also open for business.
Memorial Stadium opened in 1923 as a much smaller facility, and numerous expansions and upgrades bringing the venue to a capacity of over 81,000 by the 2006 season. The current renovations will include additional seating in the north end zone, state of the art video scoreboards and premium seating. Nonetheless, take a walk around the outside perimeter of the building, and much of the original façade remains in place just as it was when it was built. Inscriptions are carved above each corner of the stadium, commemorating those Nebraskans who served and sacrificed in conflicts going back to the Civil and Spanish American Wars.
In addition to a colorful tailgate scene, pregame activities include a music stage on the practice field north of the stadium and food stands a plenty. The west side of the stadium has a fine museum with plenty of photos and exhibits… definitely worth checking out.
One of the cool traditions here at Nebraska is the “Tunnel Walk”, where Cornhuskers players mingle with the fans through the end zone concourse as they make their way onto the field.
Besides the sea of red jersey clad fans, you know you are in a special place just by looking at the façade in the seating bowl and seeing the list of 5 national titles and 43 conference titles. The storied program boasts of many academic all-Americans and football stars.
Lincoln, Nebraska is off the beaten path in terms of America’s sports cities, but make no mistake – Nebraska Cornhuskers football is one of THE elite and special college football experience and a must see for the sports traveler. We would be happy to return here any time!
NEBRASKA CONSIDERING STADIUM EXPANSION
May 27, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Lincoln, Neb. - University of Nebraska officials have opened a dialogue with fans about the
possibility of expanding Memorial Stadium. The school sent out 20,000 emails asking fans for their input through a survey. “What we hope is there is a large demand, and what we think is the case is reality,” said Paul
Meyers, NU's associate athletic director for development and ticketing. “We just felt it was important not to guess on something like this but get the facts.”
The e-mail states to “please understand that there is no guarantee that this project will come to fruition” and that there is no “timeline for construction to begin or end.” But it also says “we are aggressively looking into the future of Memorial Stadium.”
Meyers said there are no designs or blueprints for how additional suites, club seats or regular seats would be added to East Stadium. Or how many.
“That's down the road still,” Meyers said. “We always sit back and dream what we'd like to see. But I think prior to doing that you have to know what the people want.”
Nebraska has about 3,000 individuals on its waiting list for season tickets. It has whittled down its luxury suite waiting list in recent years to about 15 names, which Meyers calls “legitimate prospects, but no commitments.”
Memorial Stadium's capacity is listed at 81,067 after its most recent makeover was completed in 2006.
In 1999, 42 suites and 2,400 club seats were added to West Stadium, and the initial 10-year contracts for those suites recently were renewed on 10- or five-year plans. The Huskers added 13 suites and more than 6,000 seats to North Stadium in 2006.
August 5, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
University of Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne said that he'd "feel comfortable" adding about 5,000 seats to the 87-year-old facility, based on the result of a fan survey. Osborne told the Lincoln Journal Star somewhere around 1,500 to 2,000 of those would be club seats, with a likely addition of between 20 to 30 luxury suites. All these seats would be in the East Stadium. While being clear to point out that nothing has been finalized and that the plan has not yet been approved by the Board of Regents, Osborne told the newspaper: "We have discussed this a little bit with the administration just to let them know the results of the survey." Of the more than 2,700 people who completed the Internet survey, the newspaper reported 86.8 percent responded favorably to expansion. Osborne said construction could not begin for a year.
NEBRASKA PLANS MEMORIAL STADIUM EXPANSION
October 7, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Lincoln, Neb. - The University of Nebraska is preparing an announcement concerning an
expansion of Memorial Stadium, according to the Omaha World Herald.
Expansion plans for 81,067-seat Memorial Stadium have been expected since Nebraska four
months ago surveyed season ticket-holders and fans about potential interest, the newspaper reported.
Paul Meyers, NU associate athletic director for development, said results confirmed that demand was "very strong" for additional seating and suites.
One reason for expansion, Osborne told the World Herald, is keeping Nebraska competitive. He noted that with the move to the Big Ten, Nebraska will be competing with some teams with very large stadiums - and as a result, large athletic budgets.
"One of the reasons we're taking a look at enlarging the stadium is there are three stadiums in the Big Ten that seat over 100,000," he said. "That naturally allows you to bring in more revenue."
In July, Meyers hinted that work done to the East Stadium probably would not move capacity much higher than 90,000. Results of the survey showed that respondents considered the home sellout streak - now at 307 consecutive games - just as important as moving up the ranks in attendance, the newspaper reported.
Nebraska was No. 10 in home attendance in 2009 at 85,888 per game. Attendance figures can exceed stadium capacity because they include players, coaches, staff members, stadium employees, band members, auxiliary workers and others who may not have seats.
The next project would come on the heels of the North Stadium expansion completed in 2006. The Huskers added 13 suites and more than 6,000 seats, which went along with construction of the Osborne Complex and Hawks Center, according to the World Herald.
In 1999, 42 suites and 2,400 club seats were added to the West Stadium.
NEBRASKA ANNOUNCES STADIUM EXPANSION PLAN
October 14, 2010
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Lincoln, Neb. - University of Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne has announced a $55.5
million expansion for Memorial Stadium, according to the Omaha World Herald.
"I'm not a subscriber that you have to keep up with the Joneses, but you have to at least be in the league," Osborne said as he unveiled details including 30 more luxury suites.
Also in the works or already under way: a new practice facility for Husker baseball; $20 million in renovations to the Devaney Center; an expansion of Memorial Stadium's weight-training facility, not to mention a new basketball practice facility and a $168 million city-owned arena where the Husker basketball teams will play.
Nebraska becomes one of four football elites in the Big Ten when it joins the conference next year, Osborne said.
The other three programs - Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan - each have football stadiums that seat more than 100,000 fans and athletic budgets that exceed $100 million a year, the newspaper reported.
"That puts us in pretty fast company," Osborne said.
In contrast, Nebraska spends about $75 million a year, and Memorial Stadium's official seating capacity is about 81,000, although it routinely draws about 86,000.
Osborne said the expansion would put Memorial Stadium's capacity in the 90,000 range, while ticket sales and related revenues would boost the athletic department's budget by an estimated $7 million a year.
However, Osborne said NU does not want to risk outgrowing its streak of 307 consecutive sellouts.
The stadium expansion would be completed in time for the 2013 football season, assuming the University of Nebraska Board of Regents approves.
A central feature would be a three-story grand lobby to preserve and highlight the stadium's original Gate 20 entrance and its east facade.
The World Herald said the project, to be built behind and over the East Stadium balcony, would add the equivalent of a three-story building to the east side of Memorial Stadium. Osborne and Vice Chancellor Prem Paul pledged that some of the new space will be allocated for academic research.
The proposed 22,000-square-foot indoor baseball and softball facility near Haymarket Park would include batting cages, pitching mounds, a turf system suitable for infield practice and a netting system for live hitting. The $4.75 million facility would free up space in the Hawks Championship Center so that the weight training facility can be expanded with a $2 million gift from former Husker Ndamukong Suh.
The athletic department already has accumulated about $25 million in gifts and contributions toward the project. Osborne anticipates another $15 million in private donations toward the project, with the remaining $15 million to be financed with bonds to be repaid through ticket sales.
NEBRASKA REGENTS APPROVE ARENA PROJECT
February 3, 2011
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Lincoln, Neb. - The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved a $20 million project to
renovate the Devaney Sports Center, converting the Huskers' home for basketball since 1976 into the full-time home for volleyball beginning with the 2014 season, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
Plans call for the arena to be downsized, with seating for 6,000 to 9,000 fans. Nebraska volleyball's current home, the NU Coliseum, holds around 4,000 and has been sold out for every match since 2001.
In an athletic department survey last year, 75 percent of respondents said increasing the number of seats for volleyball was important. With Nebraska's basketball program set to move to a new downtown arena in 2013, renovation of the Devaney Center for volleyball became possible.
To pay for the project, the athletic department is seeking private donations through its "Expand their Experience" fundraising program, the newspaper said. In addition to the Devaney Center, the nearly $100 million-combined plan includes funding for the expansion of Memorial Stadium, as well as new practice facilities for basketball, wrestling, baseball and softball.
The renovated Devaney Center will include new club seats and luxury suites. The arena's south side will be rebuilt, with the existing ramp replaced by a glass-enclosed lobby equipped with escalators. Restrooms and concession stands will be expanded and concourses upgraded. Mechanical and electrical systems will be redone.
Work on the project is expected to start in September but won't begin in earnest until the yet-to-be constructed downtown arena is nearing completion. Once done, the Devaney Center also would be home to NU wrestling and gymnastics meets, as well as state high school tournaments.
NEBRASKA EXPANDS STADIUM PROJECT
March 10, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
Lincoln, Neb. - University of Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne plans to ask the Board of
Regents for permission to increase the renovation of Memorial Stadium's east side from $55 million to $63 million and to add a total of about 6,000 seats, instead of the previously planned 5,000 seats, according to the Omaha World Herald.
"It appeared as though there was more demand for suites and skyboxes than we thought and maybe some potential for added club seating," Osborne told the newspaper. "We feel this will be very cost-effective."
Osborne said the latest expansion plans would answer pent-up demand for tickets without jeopardizing Nebraska's record string of stadium sellouts. That streak stands at 311.
"It appears we have anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 people waiting for one type of seating or another," he said. "We feel there's adequate demand to build this much - we don't want to overshoot and build 10,000 or 15,000 seats and have some of them sitting empty."
The project would begin in the next few months and be completed in time for the 2013 football season, he told the World Herald.
Memorial Stadium's current official seating capacity is 81,067, although it routinely draws about 86,000 when players, news media and stadium personnel are counted. Assuming that the sellouts continue, Osborne said the expansion likely would make the Nebraska facility one of the three or four top-drawing college football stadiums.
The NU Board of Regents previously approved the $55 million East Stadium project in October and selected Clark Enersen Partners architects to design the project in December. Most of the financing will come through private donations and athletic department funds.
The regents have authorized the athletic department to issue up to $28.5 million in revenue bonds to be repaid through ticket sales, but Osborne said he thinks that the project can be built with only about $15 million in debt.
If approved by the regents, the revised expansion plan would add about 3,000 general admission seats, about 2,000 heated and covered club seats and 1,000 to 1,500 luxury suite seats, he said.
NEBRASKA TO GET EARLY START ON STADIUM WORK
May 5, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
Lincoln, Neb. - The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved a plan for an early start
on construction to select portions of Memorial Stadium's East Stadium.
The Lincoln Journal Star said the board's agenda noted that a presentation to the business
affairs committee about the maximum price of the project is not scheduled until June.
If construction waited until then, about six weeks of work time could be lost prior to this year's
first football game on Sept. 3.
It also was estimated that an earlier start and purchase of the structural steel for the project could save about $365,000, the newspaper said.
The new plan calls for construction to begin in May. Memorial Stadium's expansion project, which figures to cost about $63.5 million, should be completed in the summer of 2013.