Less than a month ago, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said that he wasn’t willing to settle and that he’d like to see the university step up its commitment to improving the football program.
Harsin’s request became reality Thursday when the athletic department announced that it intends to move forward with plans for a renovation of the east side of Albertsons Stadium, despite declining attendance and ticket revenue.
The long-discussed East Side Renovation will include an exterior facelift, expanded concourse, upgraded amenities, premium seating, academic center and a dedicated home for BroncoLife — a program that helps student-athletes transition to college, be positive influences on campus and plan for their careers.
This will be the first significant upgrade to the stadium since a bleacher expansion in 2012 and the completion of the football facility in 2013.
“It is a rare opportunity to take on a project that will impact every student-athlete in our department and our fans,” Boise State Athletic Director Curt Apsey said in a press release. “That’s what is so special about the East Side Renovation. This project benefits everybody.”
A timeline for the project — and estimated cost — will be established once it has been determined how quickly necessary revenue streams will be generated. The entire project must then be approved by university leadership and the Idaho State Board of Education.
Boise State said the project will be funded with a combination of private fundraising and money associated with new premium seating options.
The renovation will not affect season-ticket holders for the 2020 season.
Once the project is complete, the east side of the stadium will have new seating options, including a reconfigured lower bowl and premium seating. Ticket holders displaced by the renovation will have priority in the reconfigured lower bowl based on their rank, and all other season-ticket holders will be able to select new seats during the normal upgrade process.
The new premium seating will comprise approximately 300 club seats and 36 four-person loge boxes. The indoor club space will have expanded food and beverage options.
“Our mentality is about being in a constant state of improving and getting better,” Harsin said in a press release. “That’s the entire ‘Attack The Future’ push that defines our program.
“Enhancing the east side of Albertsons Stadium with additional premium seating, upgraded fan amenities and experience options, and developing an area that will benefit our student-athletes academically, nutritionally and in life skills and career development, is absolutely vital to the success of our program. This project is a game changer for Bronco football on so many levels.”
The push to upgrade the stadium comes during a period in which attendance has fallen, and the athletic department’s ticket revenue has decreased every year since at least 2016, according to budget records obtained by the Idaho Statesman in December. Average football attendance dropped from 35,404 in 2012 to 32,070 in 2019. Season-ticket sales plummeted from 24,109 to 16,580 during the same span, with prices staying roughly the same.
Boise State hosted the Mountain West Conference title game in December, and attendance was only 23,561 to watch the Broncos beat Hawaii. The Broncos also hosted the 2018 league championship game, and attendance was just 23,662.
For more information on the renovation, visit BroncoSports.com/Eastside.