COLUMBIA — Quality, not quantity.
That’s the message Missouri associate athletics director Tim Hickman preached to a handful of reporters as he led them on a tour of the revamped east side of Memorial Stadium.
Although the $46 million facelift — part of a two-year project expected to be complete by the Tigers’ Aug. 30 home opener against South Dakota State — will not add any additional seating to Memorial Stadium, Hickman said he hoped the construction would improve "the game-day experience" for Missouri football fans.
“The capacity isn’t a big change,” Hickman said. “It’s the type of seating. It’s the amenities. It’s the type of experience our fans will get on game day.”
Hickman projected total capacity to be around 71,000 for the 2014 season, a figure similar to the 2012 capacity.
“As you can recall, we used to have bleachers at the top of the hill,” Hickman said, referring to the grass hill behind the north end zone. “In essence, we’re swapping those out for sideline seats, which is a better view, we think.”
The structures added to the east side include a new upper deck bowl that seats 4,200 with a concourse attached to it. Additionally, construction removed nine rows of premium seating and replaced the space with six new rows — all outdoors — that have access to an indoor club area.
“It (the club area) will have all the amenities,” Hickman said. “A bar, lounge seating, bathrooms, and a food service area.”
Another goal of the renovations is to create a more hostile environment for Missouri opponents. By bringing the hill behind the north end zone closer to the field and swapping those seats out for the newly-constructed ones on the east side of Memorial Stadium, more fans should feel “on top of the playing experience.”
“We’re staying with the modern trends that are going on in the industry and giving our fan base what it wants,” Hickman said.