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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

USF Approves $340M Football Stadium For 2026 Season

  • School board gives the OK for $200 million in debt to finance construction.
  • Football team would move home games from Raymond James Stadium.
USF Athletics/Beck Group

The University of South Florida is on track to play football games at an on-campus stadium in 2026.

On Tuesday, USF’s board of trustees approved $200 million in debt to fund construction of a 35,000-seat venue that will total $340 million in costs.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the additional $140 million will come from donations, the university’s capital improvement trust fund, and the sale of broadband equipment and licenses.

Since Raymond James Stadium opened in 1998, USF has played its home games at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ home venue, which sits more than 10 miles away from the school’s campus. USF’s average home attendance during the 2022 college football season was 29,650, and the stadium’s upper levels were often closed.

Having a more accessible stadium will likely draw more enthusiastic crowds, especially from USF’s nearly 50,000 students — more than in-state rival Florida State (nearly 45,000 in 2022). 

In addition to new revenue streams, the football stadium could help USF’s chances of one day joining a Power 5 conference if a league like the Big 12 — which will add the University of Central Florida next year —  continues to expand.

Performance will be key to that goal, though — and USF hasn’t made a bowl game since a strong run of appearances from 2015-18.

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