In letter sent to Aloha Stadium Authority, UH requests changes moving forward

Sports

The University of Hawaii at Manoa athletic director David Matlin, president David Lassner and vice president for budget and finance/CFO Kalbert K. Young have formally requested a set of changes for when the University of Hawaii football team moves into its new home venue.

In a letter obtained by KHON2, UH notes that it was told approximately five days before the public announcement that Aloha Stadium would not be accepting events with any fans moving forward and that under an “optimistic” projection, the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) will not be ready until 2024.

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As the university looks for a different place to play its football games for at least the 2021, 2022 and 2023 seasons, it also requested a set of circumstances from NASED that would benefit the school. The hope for UH is that these changes are sustainable and help the school moving forward as it pertains to profit from the stadium, as well as maintaining its NCAA Division I FBS status.

UH expressed a desire to be more involved with the NASED project, noting that although it is the ‘anchor tenant,’ it has no input on the RFP (request for proposal) towards NASED. UH also said it was told that if required legislation is not passed this year, then the NASED project is dead.

The State’s Comptroller Curt Otaguro, who oversees the public works division involved in the planning of the stadium said, a state bill to move the project forward was rejected over a technicality in last year’s legislative session. He said they are working with the House and Senate to include a new version of the bill in this year’s session.

Otaguro also responded to the requests made by the university and said it is too soon to know concrete plans for the new stadium as a bid from a developer has yet to be selected.

“And only then will we find what the developers will actually provide in terms of the actual design of a stadium,” Otaguro said. “What they envision the district to look like and what it would include, and the timeframe, and the cost.”

A bid for the project is slated to be selected by the end of the year. Otaguro said UH has a seat on the Stadium Authority board and will be included in the plans.

The changes requested by UH from NASED, as stated in the letter, are below.

  • “UH Football receives paramount consideration in scheduling”
  • “UH pays no rental or facilities cost for football games”
  • “UH receives all ticket receipts including preferred seating donation (PSD) revenue for football”
  • “UH receives revenue from premium parking”
  • “UH receives a minimum of 1/2 of luxury boxes to sell for UH Football”
  • “UH receives revenue from ‘Club’ area membership fees for UH Football games”
  • “UH receives a minimum of 1/2 of net concession and merchandise revenue”
  • “UH receives a minimum of 1/2 of net parking revenue”
  • “UH receives rights to sell Advertising for UH football games and retain the funds”

In the letter, UH says considerations like the ones above are received by ‘almost every other Division 1 FBS football team.’ The hope for UH is that the requests become ‘fundamental requirements’ for the NASED stadium.

Otaguro said he is open to having discussions about the requests with the parties involved in the development of the project, but said that should come once a developer bid is accepted.

“I believe it’s a bit premature for them to start asking for revenue sharing, and demands on the stadium in a district that we just don’t really know,” Otaguro said. “We cannot commit to that and neither can the stadium authority at this time.”

A UH spokesperson says the school officially stands by the letter but has no further comment.

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