CSU begins process of paying off $239 million in stadium debt

Matthew Bailey

With $239 million in outstanding debt left over from the construction of the Colorado State University Stadium and half of the stadium’s fiscal year completed, CSU is following previous bond repayment projections.

The on-campus stadium is pictured ahead of its debut on Aug. 26, 2017. Colorado State University is following previous bond repayment projections with $239 million in outstanding debt left over from the construction of the stadium. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

In an email to the Collegian, Steven Cottingham, the deputy director of athletics at CSU, wrote that he considered this past football season record-breaking in attendance. The revenue, which includes ticket sales among other means, and income grossed by stadium events this fiscal year minus expenses, should amount to approximately $21.5 million.

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“Projections were part of the approval process for the bonds,” Cottingham wrote. “The primary source of bond repayment is the revenue generated annually by the stadium, not the capital campaign.”

These projections indicate that revenue alone will total to over $660 million by 2047, 30 years after the stadium’s opening.

According to these projections, the Colorado State Stadium should gross approximately $112 million altogether by 2022, and that amount should exceed $1 billion by 2047, according to Cottingham.

“The fixed interest rate bonds are repayable over 40 years,” Cottingham wrote. “Optional prepayment is available in 2025.”

Revenue earned by the stadium includes ticket sales, seat donations, net profit, tailgating fees, advertising and sponsorship, stadium naming rights, rentals, and earnings from other events. Income profit includes current stadium income and incremental net stadium revenues.

Expenses include salaries and benefits, supplies, general operating services, professional services, repair and maintenance costs, utilities, and game-day expenses, amongst other entities.

No student fees or tuition dollars were used to construct the stadium. Student fees and tuition are not part of the bond repayment plan.” -Steven Cottingham, CSU deputy director of athletics

Although the repayment process for the stadium will take years, it is important to remember that a large portion of the stadium cost was covered by donations, Cottingham wrote.

“No student fees or tuition dollars were used to construct the stadium,” Cottingham wrote. “Student fees and tuition are not part of the bond repayment plan.”

By December 2015, CSU received $36 million in donations that went towards paying stadium construction costs. Eleven months later, the total amount in donations raised to about $87 million, according to Cottingham.

The largest amount of donations came from philanthropic efforts, with a total of approximately $42 million donated, or about half of the total amount of money donated, as of April 2017.

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By April 2017, Cottingham wrote that approximately $34.4 million in donations was received from sponsorships.

Fort Collins-based New Belgium Brewing Company donated approximately $4.3 million to CSU through naming rights, creating a deal to have the company name on the stadium party deck, according to the Denver Post

New Belgium’s $4.3 million made up almost half of the total amount in donations CSU received through naming rights. In April 2017, that amount totaled to $10.4 million.

Cottingham wrote that the $239 million debt figure is essentially the same amount of debt CSU was in when the bonds were issued in 2015.