New USF-RayJay deal in works (w/document)
Even as it studies the possibility of an on-campus football home, USF soon could be entertaining a new proposed lease agreement with Raymond James Stadium.
A draft of the agreement -- six years with a five-year option -- is part of the agenda for Tuesday's meeting of the Tampa Sports Authority's executive committee. The term includes a termination clause with a 24-month written notice.
The draft must be approved by the executive committee and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before presentation to USF. The school's prior lease with the stadium expired after the 2016 season.
Terms of the agreement indicate USF will pay no rental fees, and only direct costs associated with its games. It must collect and pay to the TSA the same ticket surcharge as its prior lease deal: an amount equal to 8 percent of the price of the tickets sold, not to exceed $2.50 per ticket.
Direct costs for use of the lower bowl and two club lounges is estimated to be $172,000 for games with fewer than 24,000 participants, and $185,000 for games with more than 24,000 for the 2017 season. Rates for future years will be determined each July.
Those costs have increased gradually over the past decade. USF had an announced average attendance of 37,539 for seven home games in '16, and an actual average (per TSA) of 27,887.
The agreement calls for USF to play at least six home games annually. If it plays a seventh during a fiscal year, the school would receive 20 percent of combined TSA revenues, the net of license fees and other event related expenses.
The Bulls are scheduled to play seven home contests in 2017.
Additionally, the agreement states USF retains the right to permit the sale of alcoholic beverages at home games. USF also may conduct its annual spring game at Raymond James Stadium at no additional license fee, though the school agrees to pay any direct expenses associated with this game.
The draft of the agreement comes amid a rising clamor for an on-campus football stadium. Upon formally introducing Charlie Strong as the Bulls' new football coach in December, athletic director Mark Harlan said the feasibility study of an on-campus stadium continues.
"I feel like once you get a stadium on campus, it's their home," Strong said that day. "It's what they defend, it's their house. And that's going to be critical, and that's going to happen."