Jan 31st 2018 | Posted in Mary Scott Nabers' Insights by Mary Scott Nabers

We’re only days away from the 52nd Super Bowl and there’s lots of activity in Minneapolis. Construction is winding down on an expansion to the football stadium that will accommodate even more spectators and the ever-expanding needs of media coverage. The game will be played in the city’s $1.1 billion stadium and visibility will never be greater.

And, interestingly enough, dozens of other cities throughout the country are in various stages of planning for new sports facilities/stadium construction. The past year resembled a rollercoaster when it came to planning for new stadiums. Sports construction spending in 2018 is expected to total $4.1 billion and will reach nearly $6 billion by 2019. There are 75 stadium projects in the U.S. that are either currently active or scheduled to begin soon.

To the alarm of many, the recent tax bill came perilously close to cutting off a major project funding source – tax-exempt bonds.  The provision to do that was removed at the very last moment – what some would later call the eleventh hour. Because of that, 2018 may get off to a slow start but with tax-exempt bonds back in place, local officials say there will be an abundance of stadium construction in 2019.  At both the local level of government and at the university level, demand for new sports complexes is at an all-time high. The cost associated with new construction and upgrades to college sports facilities should add up to $1.5 billion this year. Here are a few upcoming opportunities.

The Jefferson County Commissioners and the city of Birmingham have announced a partnership to launch a new convention center and stadium. The project will include a 45,000-seat stadium and a 90,000-square-foot meeting facility that will be financed through a public-private partnership. The complex will be used for both professional and collegiate games. Estimates for the project put the total cost at $123 million. Construction should begin sometime in the summer of 2018.

Colorado Springs is considering constructing a multi-million-dollar sports stadium and event center located in the downtown area. The plans include a 10,000-seat multi-use stadium with both indoor and outdoor accommodations and also a performance stage. Organizers hope the project will qualify for $28 million in state funding. While there is no specific timeline, the city plans to hear public comments on this project at the February city council meeting.

Mecklenburg County in North Carolina recently approved $32 million for renovations to the county’s Memorial Stadium. The project will include extensions such as a new concession area and a new plaza that will have additional seating. The county intends to start renovations by the end of 2018.

The University of Delaware’s football stadium will get a $60 million facelift. Plans include construction of a five-story, 90,000-square-foot extension that will serve as a game day coaches room, a media box and box seats for another 400 spectators. Three floors will include training and medical facilities for university athletes. Construction will begin after the 2018 season.

Kansas University has earmarked $350 million for football stadium renovations over the next five years. Planned upgrades include the construction of a $15 million indoor practice facility, $130 million for other renovations and $170 million for west side improvements, including stadium seating, boxes and a suite tower elevator. This construction will begin in spring 2018.

Temple University is planning now for a 35,000-seat, on-campus stadium. The university recently filed a project submission for review by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. Approximately $1.25 million has been allocated for a feasibility study that will begin later this year. The stadium will be a multi-use, indoor athletics building with a significant retail component.

Companies interested in large construction opportunities in 2018 should definitely not overlook these types of projects.


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Mary Scott Nabers

As President and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., Mary Scott Nabers has decades of experience working in the public-private sector. A well-recognized expert in the P3 and government contracting fields, she is often asked to share her industry insights with top publications and through professional speaking engagements.