Nov. 30, 2007
This is the latest installment of our monthly feature called, "Ask the AD." If you have questions for Saluki Director of Athletics Mario Moccia, feel free to submit them by e-mail.
I have heard that SIU is considering utilizing an outside company to handle all advertising and sponsorship sales. Are there really companies that do this? Is this a good thing for SIU? Can an outside company generate more revenue than by doing it in-house?
You have heard correctly. A few months ago, we issued an RFP to several companies to assess their interest in Saluki Athletics from a multi-media rights standpoint. There are companies that specialize in this field, such as Learfield Communications, ISP, ESPN Regional, Host Communications, Nelligan, etc. This can be a good financial deal for the athletic department, as the selected company would assume ownership of our rights, pay us a guaranteed amount and also pay a percentage over and above an established hurdle amount. They have the ability to bundle our radio, TV, internet and traditional inventory (such as signage and game program ads) to maximize profits. They would also focus on the creation of a Saluki radio network and national sales. An outside company can generate more than we could in-house, we believe, as they would have a person concentrating on selling each day of the year, while our marketing person has to worry about marketing all sports, selling tickets, executing promotions, creating radio, TV and print ads, etc. Expect an announcement before the year is over.
I graduated from SIU in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. I was wondering, as well as some of my colleagues, as to how and when the designers will be chosen for the design work of the new stadium?
360 and Image architects have already been selected for the design of the project. We are now attempting to secure a construction manager and a general contractor, who will be making those design decisions in conjunction with the folks from the University physical plant operations.
Why do we not get to see more of our Salukis playing in Chicago?
Well, the football team played in DeKalb this year and will play Northwestern next year, so that is a good start. We will have a game at Northern Illinois in men's basketball next season and DePaul in women's basketball next year, as well. I would love to have more men's basketball games in Chicago or a "promoted" game in the near future. As always, schools have to want to play us, and at this time, several Chicago-area schools are not interested in a home-and-home series. Trust me, we will keep working on this, as we would like nothing better, as well.
You mentioned possibly joining the MAC or Sunbelt as a football conference. What about joining Conference USA?
I believe I mentioned those leagues as two of the possible Football Bowl Subdivision conferences we could play in, if we upgraded our football program to the FBS level. C-USA could be a possibility as well, but the travel costs for all the sports would be enormous, and I don't see how we could make it work financially unless football was bringing in a significant amount of additional revenue.
I see the new football stadium is u-shaped, instead of having two sections like McAndrew. Shouldn't the fans and the students get a vote in the design ? I realize the coach and you may like this design because it copies what they have in Montana. I believe the majority of fans would object because they might wind up with end zone, or even worse, lawn seats. The Mac may be old, but their are no bad seats for football.
We are certainly receptive of anyone's opinion, but I don't believe voting on a facility is productive, either. This isn't actually a copy of the University of Montana but rather an attempt to have a stadium like many in the country in which you feel "like you are inside," if you know what I mean. Mizzou, Illinois and any other big-time stadium doesn't have just an east and west component. We plan on having the stands as close to the field as the law allows. The end zone seats will actually be much closer to the field than most of seats in the Mac. In short, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how good the view from the end zone is.
I am concerned about the current design for the new football stadium. It appears to have limited "quality" seating (e.g. between the 20-yard lines). Why? If I'm traveling to a game, I would much rather buy a ticket to get a quality seat than sit in the end zone. Why can't there be more seats between the 20s, and forget the end-zone seating to compensate? Or perhaps add a second tier?
To elaborate on the previous answer, the coaching staff and I wanted to build a football stadium, not a football field. We wanted the fans and teams to feel like they were in an enclosed stadium like all of the top teams in the nation. I just can't picture any new football stadiums that have just an east-west component. The horseshoe design should provide an edge to the home team with a loud crowd almost right on top of the field with nowhere for the sound to go. The stadium will, in fact, be modular, and a second deck or tier could be added if the need presents itself.
Will the bleacher seating in the renovated arena at least be padded and have back rests? Also, will we get the bleachers that have the "walk ways" to the seats enclosed, so we don't have to worry about children falling through the gaps as we do today?
We are not to the point to finalizing this yet. We are attempting to get as many seats into the arena as possible, and this is why the upper level will have some bleachers seats. Chairbacks reduce the seating capacity of the arena. We will try to make the bleacher seats as comfortable possible, and I know they will be much better than what currently exists. The upper level will be a continuous permanent seating area, so there will be no gaps for anyone to fall through. I know exactly what you are referring to, and it is a bit unnerving.
How far in advance does a football or basketball season schedule start to materialize, and what are some of the other factors that go into it?
Football is pretty tied up for a while. We have a conference schedule through 2013, and our FBS opponent contracted through 2011. If we can get SEMO on board for an additional two years, then we will be almost complete for the next four years. Men's basketball is more year-to-year, and we try to play highly ranked RPI teams. Some of the factors are relationships, geography, RPI and fan interest.
Can we get a recording of some dogs barking to play over the arena speakers during a defensive stand by SIU?
We have had constant discussions on how to increase our fan excitement on critical downs. This could be one possibility. Right now, we have the ringing bell from an AC/DC song, which seems to get the fans attention, but I'll pass this suggestion to our Assistant AD for Marketing, Mark Gazdik.
Great news getting the radio deal in St. Louis. Any headway on getting a station lined up in the Chicago area?
This remains a goal of ours, but I am guessing it would cost a pretty penny. This is one of the ways I believe a multi-media rights company could assist us, as they are more of the experts in this area and can leverage any existing relationships to get us on the air in the Chicago marketplace.
I was wondering if you could confirm or deny that the construction on the new stadium cannot start until Morris Library is completed? As I understand things, this would then allow for the Physical Plant to relocate southwest of campus in facilities that are currently occupied by Morris Library materials.
I have never heard this in any of my discussions with the Physical Plant or anyone at SIU.
Why do the men's and women's basketball posters and the pocket schedules only list the home games?
This was an omission on our part and we are going to be printing new pocket schedules, so our fans will know when we are playing on the road.