UH Manoa football homecoming could provide different revenue, renew interest in on-campus stadium

Sports

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The University of Hawaii football team is moving back home.

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With Aloha Stadium shut down, the Rainbow Warriors will be playing on campus at the T.C. Ching athletics complex this coming season. While it’s far from the 50,000 seat stadium, UH could make up the revenue in other ways.

The University did not get parking, concession or advertising revenue from Aloha Stadium when the Rainbow Warriors played there. That money could be a big factor for Manoa’s 2021 homecoming after UH lost $4-million last fiscal year and is projected to lose upwards of $9-million this fiscal year.

“They might be able to equal that even though there would be less seats because they would be keeping all of the revenue including the parking, including the tickets, including the hot dogs and hamburgers,” said former UH regent Jeff Portnoy, who was in charge of the athletics committee.

In their last year with fans in 2019, UH averaged about 23,000 tickets sold at home football games. That was without a strong student section due to Halawa’s distance from Manoa.

“It’s on campus and that means students can walk over. I think that’s been important. That’s been a real factor missing in an off-campus stadium like Aloha Stadium, how few students come,” Portnoy said.

In 2019, Manoa was researched as a site for the New Aloha Stadium, but was given poor grades because of lack of private development, no rail access, traffic, community acceptance and political viability, despite the site being supported by Governor David Ige.

“Nobody ever got serious about it to be honest. It never got to my level and I kept bringing it up,” Portnoy said.

The New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District published the draft environmental impact statement on Dec. 23, which the public can comment on until Feb. 8.

“The Stadium Authority has always and will continue to support the University of Hawaii Athletics Program as they prepare to play football on-campus in 2021. We will continue to work with the University while addressing the operational and financial impact that COVID-19 has had on our overall programs.”

Aloha Stadium Authority

The project’s target date for stadium completion was originally set for 2023, but could be moved back due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the fact that a developer has yet to be chosen.

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