Mississippi State wants to expand Davis Wade Stadium at some point, but when will some concrete plans finally be put in place? Hard to say.
Because right now, the focus is largely on the football-only complex of which we learned several details this afternoon. AD Scott Stricklin has talked a lot about expansion, reiterating to me in January that the initial goal is adding 5,000-7,000 seats to the 55,082-seat stadium. Stricklin said back in the fall that his discussions with Populous, the architectural firm MSU is working with, centered around permanent grandstand seating in the north end zone; premium club, loge and skybox seats; and a renovation of the west side.
Stricklin said today that MSU is still moving forward with its expansion plans as far as the concept. But, the nailing down of details is not imminent.
“We’re working to put ourselves in a position where we can do that,” Stricklin said. “You’re talking about a $20-25 million project (the football facility), and a football stadium is multiples of that. So it’s just a big project, there’s a little more groundwork that goes on the front end, since you’ve got to go through the IHL system. It takes a little bit more red tape. We’re going to get there – we’re going to get there when the time is just right, though.”
The key to justifying expansion is creating a sustained demand for tickets. MSU is off to a good start, having sold out 10 consecutive home games, and there’s a waiting list (sort of) for season tickets – State’s about 2,000 ahead of last year’s pace on renewals, so fans who miss the deadline at the end of this month could be out of luck. MSU expects to sell out, like last year, when it sold 43,600 season tickets.
So Mullen likes the direction things are going.
“The fact that we now have a waiting list for season tickets that is continually growing, the fact that we’re hoping for spring practice to get 40,000 people in our stadium – that sits very well with me with stadium expansion,” Mullen said. “That we not just clean up and make our stadium more friendly to the fans that are coming to our current stadium, that they’ve also looked to the future and expand to meet the demands of Mississippi State fans, students, and all the people of Mississippi that want to come see their State team play.”