Upper deck seats could be closed at UH home football games

Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:09:20 PM HST   Updated On: Dec 19 2013 09:25:29 PM HST

Saving money and increasing home-field advantage for the Rainbow Warrior football team.

Click here to watch Justin Fujioka's report.

That's what University of Hawaii Athletics Director Ben Jay says would happen if the upper level at Aloha Stadium is shut down.

That and a decreased capacity at UH football games, dropping from 50,000 to 35,000 seats.

Jay says that's more than enough to accommodate a crowd that's been averaging 25,000 - 30,000.

"It's not a done deal yet," said Jay Thursday. "It's just an idea that we're exploring with the stadium."     

Jay says the University could save money on personnel and cleanup if they shut down the upper level at Aloha Stadium.

UH pays those fees on top of rent to the stadium authority for each home game.

"They have to make money in order to cover their budget, and it comes to we're not seeing any of the revenues from that," Jay added.

More and more empty seats means less and less of that revenue.  

"If they're not selling them off, I guess just close them off," said Marc Silverstein a UH student.

But the idea is not sitting well with some, especially season-ticket holders who choose the upper level because it's covered and comes without a premium price.

If they're forced to move, Jay says they would not be forced to pay the premium.

"We'll find areas down in the lower level like that," Jay said. "We're re-thinking the entire seating plan of the stadium."

Not everyone is seeing eye to eye with this audible play.

"It's a little unfair if they're, you know, being constrained like that." said UH student Edward Entienne. "But it's worth a shot to see if, you know, we can increase the school spirit."

Jay says the closure would help with that school spirit.

"With all the people sitting down together like that, it's going to be a louder facility," Jay said.

"I think it'll be more fun because there would be less open seats so everybody would be all together," said student Kelli Nakayama.

Fun that Jay hopes will lead to bigger crowds.

"If the crowd warrants it, we can open those sections," Jay concluded. "That's not a problem."

Jay could not say how much UH would save.

He says the department is already experimenting with a similar upper-level closure at the Stan Sheriff Center for men's volleyball matches.


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