While Dr. Robert Wittâ€™s economic analysis turned out to be prophetic (who knew that hallowed Bear Stearns was on such shaky ground?), there has never been a better time to expand Bryant Denny stadium.
The reasons for expansion are both economic and athletic. It just makes good sense to do it now. Hereâ€™s why.
1. If the economy is going into a recession, then a massive building project spending several hundred million dollars would boost the economy. The construction would create jobs for a host of persons, and would inject needed dollars into the local economy. The University is an economic engine for Tuscaloosa; it must always remember that. When you think about how important a role UA plays in the region, the university has a duty to spur the economy.
2. The cost is only going to rise. Steel prices have soared due to demand in Asia, and other developing countries. But it isnâ€™t just steel soaring. All commodities are going up: Coal, metals, everything. You need coal and a host of other resources to make steel. With the surge in oil prices, it will cost more to deliver commodities to steel plants, and get steel delivered to construction sites. In other words, the situation is such that steel prices, and other construction based commodities should remain high or rise in the coming decade. Any delay in expansion will only increase the cost. Building it today is just cheaper than building it tomorrow.
3. The demand and excitement over UA football is at a high. While the waiting list grows, and the prices just keep going up, the average fan has little hope of getting into the stadium. More seats should meet the demand with little shock to the ticket buyer. In fact, it should help control ticket costsâ€”perhaps stabilizing them enough to allow average fans to one day be able to afford tickets. That is not guaranteed; however, I can guarantee without an expansion the demand will only drive prices higher and higher in the next decade.
There can be no doubt the positives from expanding the stadium. Nick Saban has said fans play an important role in creating the positive environment necessary for success. He attributed recruiting success to the A-Day excitement from 2007â€”it was partially responsible for positive buzz from recruits.
Having more fans at A-Day and attending football games would only increase the positives. Who knows, maybe with more and louder fans the University could once again have a home field advantage.
It just makes economic and football sense to expand the stadium now. In fact, it is almost a moral obligation to do it nowâ€”it would save money and help the local economy. Dr. Witt, build that expansion.