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So far, Cal’s sale of stadium luxury seats is a nail-biter

Friday, September 16, 2011

imageAlthough those 3,000 special endowment seats—at between $40,000 and $235,000 a pop for 50-year rights—for football at Memorial Stadium (shown before the current retrofit began) are not yet half sold, Cal athletics director Sandy Barbour tells The Bay Citizen’s Ryan Phillips she’s confident it’ll happen. “Given the year we went through, in the last 12 to 18 months, frankly I’m very pleased with where we are. Is it a little behind what our very ambitious projections were? Yeah, there’s no doubt about that.”

Add: Cal is counting on the money to pay for much of the $350-million stadium renovation/retrofit and to help endow intercollegiate athletics, which drain about $9 million a year from the university’s increasingly uncertain budget. Here’s the take from Roger Noll, a leading authority on stadium financing and a Stanford economist:

“It’s ambitious, and it’s optimistic. And, unfortunately, they’re going to have to commit to spending $350 million before they know whether they’ll get the revenue.”

Bottom line: Pressure’s on. But not tomorrow, when Cal kicks off its home-away-from-home season against tiny Presbyterian College at AT&T Park.

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