There was speculation about whether the controversial firing of former head coach Butch Davis would have any financial effect on the new facility. But so far, athletic director Dick Baddour said he doesn’t feel like that has been an issue.
Rams Club donors have the opportunity to purchase seat licenses at costs ranging from $750 to $2,500 per seat, not including the price of the game ticket. The Blue Zone also contains 20 suites on the fifth floor of the complex, 18 of which were leased for $50,000 each before the season began.
Karlton Creech, director of tickets and parking for the Rams Club, said the administration has been working hard to market the premium seating to Rams Club members — which is vital to paying for the $70 million project.
“Part of our strategy to fill the seats is to get prospective buyers in there for these games early in the season, and several of those people who we got seats for last week turned into buyers this week,” Creech said. “And we’ll just continue doing that.”
One of the amenities of the Blue Zone is a 20,000 square foot indoor social space which includes food and beverage services.
Steinbacher said project developers worked with the N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission in order to attain a license that would allow them to sell alcoholic beverages in the Blue Zone.
Because The Blue Zone is considered a fundraiser, with revenue going toward scholarships and athletic facilities, the permit was granted even though alcohol is not sold in other parts of the Kenan Stadium.
But beyond the game day amenities, there’s more to the Blue Zone than meets the eye.
The Loudermilk Center for Excellence also includes an academic support center for student athletes, a weight room and office space.
Marketing for the project began in October 2010, and the funds for construction came from Blue Zone seat licensing as well as private funds and donations.
And while a lot about North Carolina football has changed in recent months, Baddour said the initial success of The Blue Zone is a testament to the continued support for the program despite adversity.
“I really do believe that (support is) happening,” Baddour said. “People are focused on this team and wanting to see this team be successful and trying to figure out how they can be a part of that.”
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