A Historical Study of the Path from Off-Campus to On-Campus Stadia: Stakeholders, Resources, and Contexts

Tiffany Demiris – Louisiana State University
Chad Seifried – Louisiana State University

The facilities arms-race presents opportunities for intercollegiate football programs to envision state-of-the-art stadia to address various campus needs and stakeholder preferences. The present work utilizes a historiographic approach to review athletic playing grounds and stadia at Colorado State University (CSU) from 1892 through 2014 to provide insight on how modern venues like CSU’s Canvas Stadium emerged within the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. Using CSU as an archetype, the current study offers a rationale for why some schools may choose to move back to campus after playing in large off-campus stadiums. Within, key stakeholders, contexts, and resources are identified from and various patterns and institutional factors are revealed to help us understand what influenced the decision to move back to campus. Since, other institutions either began the process of or expressed interest in moving back to on-campus venues, the present study provides a framework for programs to follow in crafting a successful bid to build a new, on-campus facility. This includes: generating buy-in from invested stakeholders (e.g., students, alumni, and local community), positioning a new venue as a multi-purpose project capable of cultivating relationships and revenues, and demonstrating potential effectiveness and efficiency utilizing available resources.