Big 12 News

New Kansas Football Stadium Capacity to Shrink by 5,000 Seats

Dec 26, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold looks on during the first quarter against the UNLV Rebels in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas Athletic Director Travis Goff met with members of Downtown Lawrence Inc. on Wednesday morning to give an update on the status of David Booth Memorial Stadium, which is in the middle of a $448 million renovation.

One of the biggest updates provided was that the new stadium, which is scheduled to be complete and ready for the 2025 season, will have its crowd capacity cut by over 10%. According to Goff, the new capacity will be in the low 40,000-seat range, which is well below the current capacity of 47,233.

“Whether that’s 40,624 or 42,000, we will see what happens there,” Goff said, per KUSports.com.

 

Now, Goff did confirm that the stadium will be built in a way that allows it to expand in the future, and even past 47,000 seats, if Kansas does decide to update the east side of the stadium.

The current plans set within the nearly half-billion-dollar project will leave the east side of the stadium virtually unscathed, as the focus is on the west side of the building and a conference center on the north end of the stadium.

While the hopes of updating the east end of the stadium were high at the onset of this project, it appears increasingly unlikely that will happen anytime soon, as the renovations have run into financial snags.

 

With a smaller capacity crowd set for the future of KU football, many fans are probably disheartened by the news. However, it’s not all bad news.

In the five years prior to the resurgence of Kansas football in 2022, the average attendance for a home football game in Lawrence was 29,008 fans. In 2023, that number rose to 45,888, an increase of 58.19% (according to D1ticker.com).

The loss of ~5,000 seats isn’t the end of the world, as it’s likely to drive up demand for tickets and keep the stadium closer to a capacity crowd at all times.

Plus, we’ve seen raucous environments with capacity crowds smaller than that in other places, and there’s no reason that KU’s home-field advantage can’t be just as potent as it was before when the new-look stadium opens.

Kansas will play its home games away from Lawrence this season, with two nonconference games at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, and four Big 12 games at Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

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