When a project estimated at more than $25 million is being built, some may wonder how it is being funded.
While ETSU has a website dedicated in part to funding transparency for its new football stadium, including a pie chart, the terminology may seem abstract.
The largest portion of funding (45 percent) comes from “leadership investment.” Amounting to $12 million, these investments are gifts from businesses and individuals that are excited and hopeful about the still-new football program.
For instance, local businessman, philanthropist and active ETSU benefactor Scott Niswonger (ETSU’s Niswonger Foundation) contributed $1 million towards the stadium; companies like Roadrunner Markets, Dunkin Donuts and Food City have pitched in, as well.
The next largest, 31 percent, is a bond from student fees. Apart from tuition, every student pays a fee every semester; these fees account for just over $8 million.
Companies like Dunkin Donuts and Roadrunner Markets that contributed to the leadership investment also provided for the “corporate marketing bond.” These are the advertisements that will be located throughout the stadium.
For instance, Food City paid for the right to have its logo on the field at Bristol Motor Speedway for ETSU’s 34-31 victory over Western Carolina. These advertisements amount to a six percent-portion of the funding model.
“Premium seat bonds” and “premium seat gifts” round out the model, accounting for 15 percent and three percent, respectively. These are largely comprised of those who are paying for seats in the suites between the 40-yard lines.
Mike White, associate athletic director for communications, said with the football team’s successful weekend at Bristol — which was the Buccaneer’s most attended game ever at nearly 14,000 people — and enthusiasm from the area, there is a lot to be excited about for ETSU athletics.
“We have seen a great amount of momentum for our programs over the last two or three years, especially now with football now off to a great start,” White said. “It’s really fun to see, not only campus but the whole community get behind ETSU Buccaneer athletics.”
He added, “We hope the momentum carries off to all our other sports, especially what our men’s and women’s basketball teams can accomplish this year.”
The effect goes all the way up to successful ETSU alumni like Kenny Chesney and NFL coach Mike Smith, who are chairing a committee for fundraising and have publicly expressed excitement for the return of Buccaneer football.