A hot topic for University of Utah football fans has been whether or not Rice-Eccles Stadium should expand. Some argue that it would allow for more fans to attend the sold-out games, while others argue that the games would no longer be sold out if there was more accommodation. On Monday, March 27, the U announced that it has plans for a feasibility study regarding the expansion — the expansion could take place in the south end zone — and it will examine all the pros and cons of expanding the stadium.
As it sits now, Rice Eccles holds 45,807 fans, and since 2010 there have been 38 straight sellouts. That’s all without having the stadium being a complete bowl. The south end zone stands on its own and it is not connected to the west and east seating locations of the stadium. One possible way to expand the stadium is to connect those parts, and then Rice-Eccles would become a bowl.
“We want our football team to be successful and our fans to have the best experience possible,” said athletics director Chris Hill in a press release. “This feasibility study will help us better understand how we continue to do all of that in the future.”
The study would not only look into additional space for fans and the overall cost, but it would also consider things like luxury suites, concession stands, etc. There is also the question of where certain amenities that the south end zone holds right now would be placed, things like locker rooms, media rooms, medical services, etc.
While nothing is set in stone regarding the expansion, president David Pershing wants everyone to come away with a better knowledge of any and all implications of expanding the stadium.
“Understanding the market, costs and feasibility will help us better prepare for the future of the stadium,” Pershing said in a press release. “There’s still much work to be done before taking steps toward renovation. We have to know if the market will support this kind of expansion.”