IOWA CITY (AP) — When Iowa opens the 2006 football season, an $88 million Kinnick Stadium renovation with 46 luxury suites and wider seats for fans in the bleachers should be complete.
Top donors and corporate sponsors — including Martin G. Carver, Bill Krause, John Pappajohn, Coca-Cola, Hy-Vee and Wells Fargo Bank — will pay from $45,000 to $110,000 each year for the opportunity to cheer for the Hawkeyes in luxury.
Each suite has room for 12 to 18 fans who will have private restrooms, upscale dining and beverage options and access to a large lounge area.
But it’s their money that is paying to renovate the 75-year-old stadium.
“That’s absolutely vital,” said Athletics Director Bob Bowlsby. “The suite revenue, along with the club seats, paid for everything, 100 percent.”
Fans in the original seating areas will have new restrooms and concession stands, and seats in the bleachers will be larger by and inch and a half per seat. That will eliminate two seats per row in the east and west stands. The stadium will still hold about 70,000 fans, but an official capacity won’t be available until summer.
The 46 suites, on the first and third levels of a new press box, are expected to yield about $2 million annually in revenue. About 310 indoor club seats, in the middle of the first level, add another $1.5 million. Another 1,100 outdoor club seats, on the second level, will generate about $2.49 million.
Bowlsby said it would take about 25 years of revenue from the suites and club seats to pay off their debt service. Suite-holders agreed to a three-, five-, or seven-year lease at $46,360 per year plus an amenities charge of about $3,000.
All the suite and indoor club seats have been sold. A few outdoor club seats remain.
A new grand entrance on the south end, also scheduled for completion by the time the season opens, will feautre a bronze sculpture of Iowa legend and 1939 Heisman Trophy winner, Nile Kinnick.
Renovations already complete include a new scoreboard, bleachers and locker rooms at the south end of the stadium.
The Hawkeyes kickoff Sept. 2 against the Div. I-AA Montana Grizzlies.