With the new and much healthier revenue streams coming to the Pac-12 conference after the announced MegaTV deal with ESPN and Fox, a number of teams in the conference have taken a fresh look at expanding or improving their stadiums. Some schools had their plans in motion already but for those in the considering phase like Oregon State it brings those desires one step closer to fulfillment. It does seem a worthy time to have the debate. The plans closest to fulfillment are for the Cal Bears and Washington Huskies who both have major projects either underway or soon to begin. Cal will actually begin play in 2012 in their upgraded and seismically enhanced stadium. So what about the Beavers? What are our plans?
The good news is some work has been done. When it may be implemented depends on if the Beavers can keep up the over 99% attendance they had in 2010. In a radio interview DeCarolis stated that he knows Pat Reser would be willing to come in with a sizeable contribution should we continue to have sellouts or very near sellouts for atleast a couple more years. That sounds like a challenge for Beaver Nation! If you are not a season ticket holder perhaps consider joining the Valley Viewers with seats at just $149 a year. They were sold out last year but should still have some left for this fall. So lets imagine the scenario where we averaged 99%+ capacity for 3 more years and DeCarolis wants to move forward with a Phase 3 of Reser starting in the late spring or early summer of 2015. What exactly will the plans look like? How much do we build? Well, again we do have a couple renderings to take a look.
The first plan we will look at has been the traditional Reser Phase 3 plan. It includes mirroring the new east side on the west and that is pretty much it. Seating capacity would only rise to 50K.
The scoreboard would remain where it is and it would be a new west side with less club and loge seats. It definitely though has the look of a quality Pac-12 stadium. Another nice aspect is the dramatic sightlines of the double-decks would be fully showcased. They almost have a Flushing Meadows U.S. Open feel and look sharp on TV. One gets the sense that Larry Scott wants venues to have atleast 50K capacity in order to be a good host for a conference championship game and with this plan we would be right there.
Okay, so what is the other option? Well, it would be a little bolder in its ambition. Because of the rising costs for such large projects, it may make sense to take care of construction to the “Final Phase” of Reser. This would include a complete double decker horseshoe around the majority of the stadium, including the south endzone. The scoreboard would have to be moved on top of the Valley Football Center. The end result would be 55+K seats and an environment that would surely be one of the loudest and most energized in the conference. It also would Pac-16 proof us for games against Texas or Oklahoma should the Pac-16 become reality in the latter half of this decade. As you can see below this would give OSU a feel approaching that OSU in Ohio.
I must say that as a proud season ticket holder myself that I can’t wait to host a Pac-12 championship game in Corvallis. Either of these proposals would be great additions to Oregon State Athletics. Considering how it could be quite difficult to complete the changes in just one offseason, it will be interesting to see just what happens. Regardless, these are the most likely results that we will have one of sometime later this decade. Which plan would you endorse for our next major expansion? Do you like just mirroring the east side to the west and being satisfied with that for another decade or completing the whole enchilada all at once and getting our final horseshoe with 55K fans sooner? It’s a question we need to begin asking ourselves now. We must be ready as the decision time for us in the Brave New World of the Pac-12 draws nearer.