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State board approves financing plan for USF's $340 million on-campus stadium

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  • | 1:00 p.m. September 9, 2023
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USF got approval from the state Board of Governors to build a 35,000-seat stadium.
USF got approval from the state Board of Governors to build a 35,000-seat stadium.
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  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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The University of South Florida is one step closer to getting an on-campus stadium, with the Florida Board of Governors voting in favor of the financing plan for the building, USF officials say.

The facility is slated to open in the fall of 2026. 

The presentation was led by USF board chair Will Weatherford and USF President Rhea Law, who detailed the plans for the 35,000-seat stadium by saying "how the project will positively impact the university community and broader Tampa Bay region as it hosts USF football and women's lacrosse, as well as concerts and other events."

USF officials, in a statement, say they believe the stadium will "provide an opportunity to enhance campus culture, serve as a powerful recruiting tool and raise USF's overall profile."

"Bulls Nation deserves to have a stadium on USF's campus," says Weatherford in the release. "Our time has come. Our 50,000 students, our alumni, faculty, staff and our greater community all deserve the benefits that come with a stadium on our campus."

The proposal will cost $340 million. The USF Financing Corp. will issue debt of up to $200 million that the university will repay from several sources, including operating revenues from the stadium and other revenues generated by USF Athletics, USF officials say.

USF says it has other funding sources for the project, including:

  • Capital gifts ($50 million, of which nearly $40 million is already raised)
  • The Capital Improvement Trust Fund ($31 million)
  • Contingent cash contribution from the sale of educational broadband service licenses ($25 million)
  • Administrative overhead from auxiliary expenditures ($15 million)
  • Auxiliary funds ($11.5 million)
  • Proceeds from a 2017 Federal Communications Commission auction ($8 million)

Approval from the state board follows Thursday's announcement that USF received a $25 million gift from Tampa General Hospital to name the Center for Athletic Excellence, an operations facility that will be included as part of USF’s new on-campus stadium project. It will feature dedicated clinical space for TGH, USF officials say.

The gift will also name the university's athletics district.

The stadium will be built on the east side of the Tampa campus, on a site known as Sycamore Fields, in close proximity to residence halls and other student facilities.

The University of South Florida serves approximately 50,000 students who represent nearly 150 different countries.


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