By Lance Tominaga.
Monday’s news that the University of Hawaii intends to hold all Rainbow Warrior football home games at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex for the next three years certainly caught many UH fans by surprise. But was it a surprise in the positive sense or negative sense? It depends on who you ask.
Many longtime supporters of the program have always touted the idea of having an on-campus stadium. And now, with Aloha Stadium seemingly no longer a viable venue, the school is trying to make the most out of a bad situation by turning this idea into reality.
Such a drastic measure is bound to come with potential pitfalls, of course. Then again, there are also some exciting benefits to this move. Let’s weigh the pros and cons:
♦ Having the games on campus should certainly increase student attendance. (Seriously, no more excuses, guys!) It would promote a true college football atmosphere, and hopefully by the time the new stadium in Halawa is completed – I’m guessing 2029, right before the rail is pau – maybe student support will build enough to carry over to the new place.
♦ UH Athletics will be in a better position in terms of managing expenditures and revenues. Under its current agreement with Aloha Stadium, UH doles out roughly $100,000 per home game yet does not get a share of any Stadium revenues. In a recent letter, UH stated, “…the financial model under which we have been playing our home games at Aloha Stadium does not work for UH.”
♦ With an estimated capacity of 12,000 to 15,000 spectators, the games will be a more intimate experience. Every event should be a sellout, and the crowds will be loud. Repeat after me: “LET’S…GO…RAIN…BOWS!”
♦ It will be a new experience. Let’s face it, when Aloha Stadium debuted in 1975, it was Goldie Hawn (Google her, kids). Today, the stadium is more Oldie Yawn. It’s weathered, rusted and looking its age. Just as importantly, fans will no longer have to put up with grumpy security personnel telling them that their vehicles are parked seven inches over the limit.
♦ This isn’t going to be cheap. To get the on-campus site ready in time for the 2021 home opener against Portland State, UH will have to increase the seating capacity, replace the existing turf, install a new scoreboard, and build other amenities needed to host Division I college football games.
♦ How will existing season ticket holders be accommodated? Let’s hope these loyal fans are given every opportunity to continue attending Rainbow Warrior games.
♦ Ummm, bathrooms? Parking? Tailgating?
♦ How will a smaller venue affect recruiting? (Hopefully, it won’t have a negative impact. Think about it: a packed venue of 15,000 rowdy fans should still look better than 20,000 fans scattered apart in a cavernous 50,000-seat facility.)
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