Mar 21, 2022 - Sports

New USF stadium tests alumni's generosity

A rendering of a new USF football stadium

Illustration courtesy of USF

The University of South Florida has chosen a spot on the northeast edge of its Tampa campus for a new football stadium, but now comes a tough question:

  • Will the alumni of a relatively young university be willing to pay for it?

State of play: USF, founded in 1956, has played home games at the Bucs' stadium since the football program debuted in 1997.

  • A new stadium could cost up to $400 million and would likely only happen with major donations from the school's wealthiest alumni.

What we're hearing: This is the first time Bulls alumni have been asked to give on this scale, and they've been hesitant so far, a source tells Ben.

What's happening: USF announced in early March that longtime philanthropists Frank and Carol Morsani pledged $5 million toward the stadium in hopes of sparking other donations.

Yes, but: If other major donors have stepped up in the two weeks since, USF hasn't announced it.

What we're watching: The stars seem to be aligning politically for USF to get a significant chunk of funding from the state, especially with former Speaker of the House Will Weatherford chairing the USF board of trustees.

  • Weatherford, managing partner of the private investment firm Weatherford Capital, has emerged as the stadium's biggest booster, and this is a legacy-making project.
  • We asked Weatherford late yesterday whether more big pledges have come in since the Morsanis' $5 million, and he said he couldn't discuss fundraising but is "confident we can finance and build a high quality stadium on the USF campus."

Extra credit: The Tampa Bay Business Journal has a deep dive on stadium funding that is worthy of your time.


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