Tiger Stadium

A view of Tiger Stadium stands tall on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, on LSU's campus. 

Decreased capacity in Tiger Stadium will lose the University tens of millions of dollars, according to officials. LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward said minimizing the impact on student-athletes is a top priority in an Aug. 7 statement.

“The financial realities of the spread of COVID-19 in our program are significant,” Woodward said. 

Tiger Stadium’s maximum capacity depends on state restriction. Phase 2 permits 50% capacity, and Phase 3 would allow 75%. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards extended Phase 2 until Sept. 11 last week. The Tigers are scheduled to kick off the football season with a game against Mississippi State on Sept. 26.

In addition to reduced seating capacity, visiting team tickets will be capped at 500. All press boxes will be limited to 50% capacity and postgame press conferences will be held virtually.

The athletic department set up the Victory Fund in response to the lost revenue. The fund will go toward scholarships, healthcare and academic support for student athletes.

The athletic director encouraged Tiger fans to donate to the tax-deductible fund, calling it “critical.” 

Woodward said the athletic department prides itself on being operating independently from the University, not relying on funding from students, tax dollars or public funding. 

The department is offering additional Priority Points to donors for the first time in history, adding extra appeal. Fans can earn five priority points for every $1000 donated. 

The football program generated nearly $92 million during the 2018-2019 season, according to an NCAA report. This accounted for more than half of LSU Athletics' total revenue of $157 million during the same period. 

Sports administration junior Mason LeBlanc said he understands the gravity of the situation.

“I think the fund was a great idea,” LeBlanc said. “Football is undoubtedly one of the largest programs here at LSU, and to lose half of that revenue would be devastating to the athletic department. They’re taking the right steps.”

Many fans, like human science and education junior Schoen Jones, are interested in seeing what the season will look like in September. 

“COVID has changed almost everything,” Jones said. “Even though football is going to look a lot different this year, I think LSU is going to do everything it can to take care of both its student-athletes and its fans.”

Despite the challenges that lay ahead, Woodward said he remains positive.

“In spite of our very real challenges, I remain optimistic about our future, in large part because of your support, your passion and your commitment to our student-athletes,” he said.

 

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