Temple is Bluffing with Football Stadium Talk

One artist's mock rendering of what a future 30K stadium would look like at Temple (don't know where he expects to get that parking space from).

What an on-campus stadium might look like, without the parking lot surrounding it.

Comparatively speaking, there are so few major supporters of athletics at Temple that the word of someone who is should mean a lot. Temple is not like Oregon, where you can see a billionaire like Phil Knight on the sideline of every football game.

The supporter, who makes several billion less than Knight, said he was told at halftime during the Temple vs. North Carolina State March Madness basketball game that a stadium for football was a “done deal.” The Temple vs. North Carolina State game—won by the Owls, 76-72—was March 22, 2013. In a little over three months, that game will be two full years in the rear-view mirror.

No one has seen a shovel yet and that’s why football stadium talk at Temple is just that. Right now, Temple plays its football games in the $521 million Lincoln Financial Field, home to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles want triple the current annual rent Temple pays from $1 million to $3 million.

It’s a steep price, but the Owls should pay it for a number of good reasons. First, it would cost over $300 million to build their own and you to not have to be a bargain-hunter to know that something that costs $3 is a better buy than $300 .

Also, the Owls currently have a beautiful on-campus stadium and it is called The Liacouras Center. After Temple beat No. 10 Kansas and defending national champion Uconn, it was less than half-full yesterday for a conference game against UCF. The LC is a 15-year lab experiment that predicts how life will be in a future on-campus football stadium.

Plenty of seats available at Temple's beautiful on-campus stadium yesterday.

Plenty of seats available at Temple’s beautiful on-campus stadium yesterday.

There is a much more important reason the Owls should continue to play football at the Linc, though, and that’s to make them a much more attractive option for a Power 5 conference somewhere down the road. Although Houston, North Texas, Tulane and Akron have built nice 30,000-type seat stadiums in the last five years, none of them are options for a Power 5 invite any time soon. Very few Power 5 teams not grandfathered in (like Wake Forest) have stadiums with 30,000 seats.

Temple, with the fourth-largest media market and a 70,000-seat stadium and a great basketball program, would be a candidate down the road if it is ever able to figure out a way to just fill more than half of it. Temple has to figure out a way to do that and its money would be better spent supporting football head coach Matt Rhule’s efforts to do that, not chasing some on-campus stadium pipe dream. If Rhule is not able to do the job, Temple would still be better off spending money on a big-time coach who is and not a small-time stadium.

An on-campus stadium jeopardizes any chance Temple has of putting on big-boy pants. A stadium is a nice dream for many Temple fans who want to camouflage a paltry lack of support, but winning and winning big in football is the larger issue that needs to be addressed first.

Spending $300 million on winning is a much more cost-effective option than bricks and mortar.


29 thoughts on “Temple is Bluffing with Football Stadium Talk

  1. You make a lot of good points Mike. I don’t think building a smaller stadium will preclude Big 5 teams from contracting to play the Owls because the Linc will be available even if it costs a million dollars. Many schools including Cincy rent out the pro stadium for the better drawing games. Moreover, building a stadium would make it that much harder to kill the program.

    • Couple of very good points John, especially that an on campus stadium would make it more difficult to kill the program, even with a guy like Rhule coaching. Plus if you look at the ACC, both Duke and Wake Forest play in stadiums that seat under 35K. The biggest questions for me with all of this stadium talk are:
      1. Financing, Temple doesn’t have the big donors, as you pointed out in a previous post the membership in the Owl Club is pathetic and if this if going to happen fund raising needs to start sooner rather than later.

      2. City politics will most likely add years and/or expense to get this project first approved and then underway. I’m not sure how much this administration realizes how different these kind of negotiations are here as opposed to Indiana

  2. Yes, 3 million per year for the Linc vs. 300 million for a new stadium. Seems that even with annual increases along the way, Temple could go upwards of 100 years at the Linc and no one has mentioned anything about ongoing expenses such as maintenance, personnel costs for police, etc. included in a new stadium. At that rate the Linc seems like a pretty good deal. And Lurie knows it too.

  3. Why does everyone always assume that the Linc would be available for games against better Power 5 teams? I’m told Lurie is a d1ck who hates Temple and wants them out of his stadium yet he’d welcome us back with open arms in the future for those big games.

    • Lurie had to be dragged kicking and screaming to allow Temple to play at the Linc in 2003. If we build a stadium, he will lock us out of future games in order to keep his pristine field untouched. He will, however, allow Army and Navy to play there as not to seem unpatriotic. You can kiss Penn State and Notre Dame home games goodbye without extending the lease. Get ready for those teams to be replaced by Charlotte, Old Dominion and Del State coming to North Philly. No thanks.

    • The only way I could see Lurie going for this is if he was assured that these games would get like 60K fans where he would be looking at aside from a single game rental fee, which I imagine wouldn’t be cheap, getting good parking and concession revenues from that size crowd. Outside of that I agree with Mile’s point the OOC teams coming to Philly would be teams like Charolotte, Idaho, UMASS, maybe a MAC team or 2, etc.

  4. Thank you Mike. These have been my points since the discussion started heating up 2 years ago. Yeah a nest of our own would be nice, but it’s a far off cost and direction than where we are at now. Playing at an NFL stadium helps with recruiting and scheduling too. Just need to fill those seats,

    • that’s part of the reason I’m not as patient with Matt Rhule as a lot of these MRAs want me to be. we don’t have time for a 5-year plan. we’re not in the SEC. we”ve got to win this league and a bowl game now, just like memphis did. if we don’t, something is seriously wrong.

      • I agree, my feeling is that 2015 needs to be at least 7/8 wins, in the hunt for AAC title and bowl game or time to make a change.

  5. Guys before we worry about finding a stadium we need to find a full back like mike has been talking about all season.

    • … and a coaching staff worth a damn, like the ones at toledo, georgia tech, louisiana-lafayette, niu, etc., etc., etc. we’re no. 77. woo-freaking-hoo, but i heard we’re recruiting great (like i have the last 5 years). Time for talk is over. Time to see winning seasons and plenty of them consecutively.

  6. With 18 red shirts eligible this year, the Owls should soar. if they don’t, it means that Rhule’s a failure at recruiting as well.

    • recruiting 5 wrs to replace robbie anderson (who we all desperately knew needed to be replaced by a guy with the same skill set) and none (zero) of them being able to make an impact on the field is a telling tale of talent evaluation or lack thereof …if those guys could not get on the field, then go recruit a JUCO Phil Goodman-type. Obviously, he thought they could.

    • That coupled with at least 6 3 year starters returning on defense in addition to another 4 or 5 defensive players on the 2 deep roster who have been in Phil Snow’s system for 2 years and there is really no room for excuses next season. I know the MRAs are already lamenting the “lack of team speed” compared to the AAC bowl teams, but if that is the case doesn’t that reflect on the recruiting effort as well?

      • correct. the ceo is in charge of all facets of the program and therefore should get credit/blame for the results. No. 77 is an unacceptable result.

  7. we lost 5 of our seven last 7 games, hard to sell to any bowl committee. John is dead on, 18 red shirts coming back is a measure of the program’s ability to recruit, and coach up the talent it has recruited. Anything less than 8 wins in 2015 is failure.., PJ is a ‘broken’ QB. His fundamentals in 2014 were awful…,

  8. KJ…cant put all the blame on PJ..whole offense was terrible.In my opinion they need to find out what type of offense they want to be..if you can’t run the ball sit back and let PJ air it out..adding a fullback is not what this team needed last season (especially converting a good LB like Dvorceak) only reason they did this against ECU was because of the elements(using a fullback)..cold and rainy day, they knew they weren’t going to be able to throw. Got out to an early lead and hung on for the rest of the gm. 18 redshirts and a hell of a freshman class from last year I’m excited to see what these guys are gonna do..just gets little old sitting here listening to certain people bash this young team and coaching staff. Rhule can’t turn this program into Alabama over night like most of you want.

    • Ted, I agree that Rhule can’t turn the program into, as you said Alabama overnight but in this day and age he can’t take 5 years to get the program to the level of ECU, Memphis, Houston, etc. as a lot of people seem to want. If it takes 5 years to get this program to be a consistent 7 to 9 win team, it will be irrelevant by then. Also, last year Dvorceak did look good as LB but he was playing FB the year before and was moved from FB to LB. With what looks like good depth at LB and right now no RB on the rooster over 200 lbs, I do think it might b worth the look of moving him back to FB.

    • we don’t have room for rob at LB with nate smith, tyler m., alwan and buddy brown moving up. love to use him as a fullback to give p.j. just a little added protection back there and as an additional blocker/option in the short-yardage running game which we were so deficient in last year. rhule can’t turn this program into alabama overnight, but he should have had us up to toledo and ull’s levels by now and we are just not there.

    • I agree 100% temple football forever. The only site that gives indepth coverage of TU football. Use to be a great and balanced site! With great reads. Now its become the I hate matt rhule site. Its mind boggling how bad the fans commenting have blamed everything on rhule. Now hes the reason the program.of the field is struggling lol this program is back on an upward trajectory. And i can not wait til rhule and the owls go out and win 8 or 9 games next season. Then we will be reading comments about how another coach would have won 11 with this team lolololol

      • *In response to teds comment*

      • dan,
        i think you are confusing “hating coaching schemes” with hating Matt Rhule. I don’t hate Matt Rhule. I don’t think anyone commenting on this site hates him. In fact, I’ve met the man and I talked to him both on the phone and in person and I like him very much. I think John has met and talked to Matt and he also likes him very much.
        what I “hate” is:
        1) running a spread scheme that is not suited to temple’s personnel;
        2) saying he would go back to running the ball after the ecu game and totally abandoning that plan afterward;p
        3) having a kid get a bernard pierce-like breakout game (Jahad Thomas, Tulsa) and then making him disappear in the games after that (after BP had 268 and two touchdowns against navy he became The Man; Jahad deserved to get the ball more after tulsa);
        4) Not blitzing the hell out of Christian Hackenberg when every team that beat him did so;
        5) watching Nate L. Smith return a punt 21 yards against Memphis and then having him disappear for the rest of the season when we had nobody else to return punts
        I could name about 20 more important things to hate, none of them include Matt Rhule the person.

  9. Ted, having a young team doesn’t let the coaches off the hook for putting in place an offense that looked out of joint. Can’t run quick outs without a wide receiver that can make the first defender miss and you can’t run pass plays with empty back fields when the line is young and inexperienced. What you can do is run quick slants, screens to backs and tight ends, and quick passes to the the tight end. The offense was atrocious and it’s all the coaches’ fault because they did not fit the system to the players they had. And while the it was rainy and cold for the ECU game, and it was smart to use a fullback, that is no excuse for not using one in the rest of the games. It all comes back to Satterfield wanting to run his offense whether it succeeds or not. That is not good coaching and it showed during the last half of the season.

    • still scratching my head over rhule’s comments after ecu “we decided to get back to the temple brand of who we are which is running the ball and playing good defense” … matt, what happened to the “running the ball” part? Hello? Does anyone from the media ever have the balls to ask that question? we never heard it asked.

      • Mike, not that they don’t have the balls we just have to realize that right now the Philly media really could care less about Temple football. They cover the games because it’s part of their job description and I get the impression the media members do the minimum necessary to say they did their job. I think that is one of the reasons a lot of us posting here “bash” this coaching staff, this program needs to be competing for the AAC title and a decent bowl game sooner rather than later, like next year not 3 years down the road.

      • I asked that question of Rhule in that ask the coach feature and he said that he had a fullback but that the offense didn’t utilize one. Again, as we said previously, the system trumps winning.

  10. IF Rhule really has things moving up, then we should be expecting 7-8 wins this coming season. 2015 is pivotal.

    • Agree with that completely, unlike Dan’s earlier posting I think the jury is still out as to whether the program is back on an upward trajectory or merely has climbed back to be a mediocre, middle of the pack team. I too think the 2015 season is going to the real indicator as to the trajectory of this program.

      • Eight wins will be a real achievement given that they have almost 2 sure losses on the schedule. 6-2 in the conference is beyond Rhule’s ability I’m afraid.

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