Ronnie Green talks about sports-related upcoming Board of Regents meeting agenda items, including a new multimedia rights agreement, the provision of alcohol at Pinnacle Bank Arena and the plan to plan for future considerations for Memorial Stadium renovation and development.
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[00:00:12.210]Well, as everyone knows, earlier today,
[00:00:14.130]the Board of Regents meeting agenda for next Friday dropped,
[00:00:17.820]and there were three really big issues
[00:00:19.440]that will affect
[00:00:21.990]the university and Husker athletics, in particular,
[00:00:24.570]and we're delighted to be joined by the Chancellor of UNL,
[00:00:26.940]Ronnie Green, here tonight.
[00:00:30.660]Usually, the agenda comes out a week or so in advance,
[00:00:32.580]so it came out today.
[00:00:33.413]And you did meet with some folks in the media today,
[00:00:35.400]just to kind of explain some of the things,
[00:00:37.080]and these are three pretty big items
[00:00:39.000]that are gonna be voted on next week.
[00:00:40.440]Yeah, they are Greg.
[00:00:41.340]They're big, they're important.
[00:00:42.540]They're gonna be transformational in a lot of way,
[00:00:45.180]things for Husker athletics
[00:00:47.550]and for our fan base in Husker athletics in particular.
[00:00:51.390]You know, the Board of Regents meets next Friday
[00:00:54.720]at the University of Nebraska Kearney.
[00:00:56.190]They're meeting in the Kearney location
[00:00:58.830]this particular meeting,
[00:01:00.060]and these three items are on their agenda,
[00:01:02.850]so kinda pending Board of Regents approval on the 30th.
[00:01:07.680]They all are ones that have a big future impact
[00:01:12.180]on Husker athletics.
[00:01:14.640]The first is a new 15-year multimedia rights contract,
[00:01:21.030]that's been in development for some time.
[00:01:24.180]You know, as some will know,
[00:01:26.790]we went inside to Husker athletics,
[00:01:30.300]with Husker Athletic Partners formation a year ago,
[00:01:34.320]at the end of our agreement that we had previously
[00:01:36.720]with Learfield IMG for all of our multimedia rights.
[00:01:40.500]So, this first item is kind of transformational
[00:01:43.920]in putting those multimedia rights
[00:01:46.530]back into a private contract with Playfly,
[00:01:51.420]who is proposed to be our new partner in that space,
[00:01:54.690]and is a 15 year contract,
[00:01:57.420]that is very nationally leading in many ways
[00:02:01.260]for Husker athletics.
[00:02:02.580]So that's one of the agenda items
[00:02:05.010]up for consideration by the board.
[00:02:08.250]A second item relates to the provision of alcohol
[00:02:13.410]at Pinnacle Bank Arena
[00:02:14.910]for our men's and women's basketball games moving forward,
[00:02:19.980]again, pending approval by the board,
[00:02:22.770]with this upcoming season for 2022.
[00:02:26.880]This has been under consideration for some time.
[00:02:30.060]Pinnacle Bank Arena
[00:02:31.620]is a joint public authority complex here.
[00:02:36.540]We opened that in 2013, very successfully.
[00:02:39.390]We've had nine seasons
[00:02:40.650]of our Husker men's and women's basketball teams
[00:02:43.590]in that facility,
[00:02:45.424]and it is set up well for the provision of alcohol.
[00:02:50.250]We've been talking about this for some time,
[00:02:52.590]and that is now also up for approval
[00:02:56.130]on a two year pilot with Pinnacle Bank Arena.
[00:02:59.610]It'll give us an opportunity to see how this works,
[00:03:02.160]what it looks like,
[00:03:04.200]before we consider, at the end of that two years,
[00:03:07.050]how we continue to move ahead.
[00:03:09.240]And then the third item
[00:03:11.070]is one that's allowing us to plan to plan,
[00:03:14.730]if you will.
[00:03:16.530]Next year, 1923,
[00:03:19.770]looking back 100 years ago,
[00:03:21.360]when Memorial stadium was built,
[00:03:23.340]we'll have our 100th anniversary
[00:03:24.930]of the iconic Memorial Stadium
[00:03:27.210]here at the University of Nebraska.
[00:03:29.100]And there's been a lot of conversation,
[00:03:31.770]and again, also a lot of planning and thinking about
[00:03:35.190]what the needs are in Memorial Stadium
[00:03:39.090]for the next 50 years,
[00:03:41.070]for the next long period of time of its history.
[00:03:44.850]And this third item is asking the board
[00:03:48.660]to waive a couple of their processes
[00:03:52.080]in the way we do capital planning
[00:03:54.600]and construction at the university,
[00:03:57.210]that will allow us to put a planning and design step
[00:04:00.780]that would normally happen after the board approves
[00:04:04.170]the program statement for a new project, so think Go Big,
[00:04:08.610]project that we're now completing, in the way that was done.
[00:04:13.380]But to move that process ahead of the program statement
[00:04:17.520]and allow us to plan
[00:04:19.860]a greater length of time back ahead of that,
[00:04:23.070]so all three of these are big items for the board.
[00:04:26.250]Looking forward to that board meeting
[00:04:27.900]next Friday in Kearney.
[00:04:29.190]Chancellor, as it relates to the alcohol at PBA,
[00:04:31.920]how much of that was based on revenue generation
[00:04:35.190]just compared to fan amenity,
[00:04:36.660]'cause we're always tryin' to make sure
[00:04:37.800]the fan is having a good experience.
[00:04:39.330]It's primarily based on fan amenities,
[00:04:42.180]so I know your listeners know this is not a new topic.
[00:04:47.190]There's been a lotta conversation about,
[00:04:50.019]is alcohol provision important to our fans,
[00:04:54.330]an important part of that fan experience
[00:04:57.000]and can it be done safely and effectively and efficiently,
[00:05:00.900]all of those kinds of things?
[00:05:02.520]And this is really about the fan experience
[00:05:06.180]and the fan amenities.
[00:05:08.550]As I said, Pinnacle Bank Arena is,
[00:05:12.450]it's an easier path for us,
[00:05:14.850]because they operate the facility.
[00:05:18.540]This would be under their operation,
[00:05:21.180]and they're prepared and obviously do that,
[00:05:24.000]and are professionals at doing that already.
[00:05:27.180]So that is the reason we're considering PBA
[00:05:31.350]as the first step in this process
[00:05:35.010]with alcohol provision in Husker sports.
[00:05:37.410]Major survey went out last spring to Husker nation,
[00:05:40.410]what did they respond,
[00:05:41.243]over 20 some thousand people took the time to fill that out.
[00:05:45.173]How valuable was that?
[00:05:46.006]And how much is that helping you as you start to plan,
[00:05:48.030]as you talked about, upgrading this place?
[00:05:50.730]Yeah, well, I think Trev has said,
[00:05:53.037]you know, Trev Alberts, our AD, is doing such a great job,
[00:05:55.410]has said that that whole planning process
[00:05:59.190]around the stadium itself
[00:06:01.650]with a task force that he's been workin' with
[00:06:03.960]since last fall
[00:06:06.630]and the survey that was done
[00:06:08.340]about amenities in Husker sports
[00:06:11.070]in particular in the stadium.
[00:06:12.540]There was a huge response rate.
[00:06:14.760]I think 22,000 people responded to that survey,
[00:06:18.420]and they, relative to alcohol,
[00:06:22.560]that question was largely,
[00:06:24.300]I've kind of, while there were a few people that said,
[00:06:28.267]"Yes, we absolutely want alcohol in the stadium,"
[00:06:32.700]there were a few that were adamantly opposed
[00:06:34.920]to alcohol in the stadium.
[00:06:36.180]The vast majority of the fan base said,
[00:06:38.977]"Yes, they think it would be a positive thing," right,
[00:06:42.300]so there's a lot of data there
[00:06:45.480]behind this for sports
[00:06:46.587]and a lot of experience that we have with this
[00:06:50.640]across intercollegiate athletics as well.
[00:06:53.280]So I think a very positive step moving forward
[00:06:56.820]with the initiation of alcohol sales at PBA
[00:07:01.350]for men's and women's basketball.
[00:07:02.670]We're lookin' out over the Go Big project,
[00:07:04.380]and it is a big project,
[00:07:06.090]but the undertaking of doing something with the stadium
[00:07:08.640]might even dwarf that, right.
[00:07:10.350]That's a huge deal.
[00:07:11.880]Well, we're planning to plan, right,
[00:07:13.530]so we don't wanna get too far ahead of ourselves here.
[00:07:15.780]But I think everyone can envision,
[00:07:19.620]Memorial Stadium is, outside of the state capital,
[00:07:23.820]maybe the most recognized facility, and culturally,
[00:07:27.870]most important facilities in the state of Nebraska.
[00:07:30.780]I think we all know that and understand that and feel that,
[00:07:33.960]and while we have done a lot of enhancement
[00:07:37.050]to Memorial Stadium over its 99 year history,
[00:07:41.310]certainly, it doesn't look today
[00:07:42.750]like it did when I was a graduate student here in the 1980s,
[00:07:46.320]and it certainly doesn't look like it did in 1923.
[00:07:50.550]It is a 99 year old facility, right,
[00:07:54.870]that was built at a time
[00:07:57.240]when the fan experience was different than it is today
[00:08:01.500]and different than it's likely to evolve to
[00:08:04.890]as we move forward, right.
[00:08:08.610]we know there are significant things
[00:08:10.980]that need to be done to the stadium
[00:08:13.530]to enhance it for its next era of life.
[00:08:17.340]So yes, I would anticipate it will be a big project,
[00:08:21.510]probably a big project over time
[00:08:25.080]that you're living in that facility,
[00:08:27.990]at the same time
[00:08:28.823]that you're thinking about the renovation
[00:08:31.047]and development of it for its next generations as well.
[00:08:34.740]You have projects going on all over campus.
[00:08:37.830]I mean, it's pretty impressive what's happening on campus.
[00:08:40.320]Right, well, we were talkin' with the media earlier today.
[00:08:43.920]We were talking about
[00:08:46.260]the fact that we have over a billion dollars
[00:08:49.320]of construction, renovation, development of facilities,
[00:08:54.210]across the UNL campuses currently,
[00:08:57.480]either that we just finished, or we're in the process of,
[00:09:00.360]or we're in the initiation phases of.
[00:09:04.830]Much of that enabled by LB384,
[00:09:08.400]Deferred Maintenance Package,
[00:09:10.050]that we're doing the first $400 million of projects
[00:09:12.870]across the university system,
[00:09:14.280]many of them here at UNL.
[00:09:17.730]So yeah, we got a lot going on.
[00:09:20.400]I mean, when I look down the street,
[00:09:22.620]we're sittin' here in your studio today
[00:09:24.570]and lookin' out at the Go Big project out the window,
[00:09:27.810]and go down the street, down Vine Street,
[00:09:29.550]it's just one construction project after another.
[00:09:32.670]So one of the things about this board request
[00:09:36.390]for change in process
[00:09:38.520]to allow a planning group and project management group
[00:09:41.580]to get ahead of bringing a program statement
[00:09:44.430]to the board for consideration on Memorial Stadium,
[00:09:47.280]is that we can go out and find that project manager
[00:09:50.820]that will be able to help us do that
[00:09:53.190]and do that very well and plan appropriately,
[00:09:57.300]while we are fully engaged
[00:09:59.460]in doing all of the other projects here
[00:10:01.770]that we have underway at the university.
[00:10:04.800]So, I'm excited about it.
[00:10:06.390]Last thing, all three of these,
[00:10:07.800]the MMR, the alcohol sales at PBA,
[00:10:10.170]and the procedural thing
[00:10:11.790]for planning purposes down the road,
[00:10:13.650]these were all well thought out, right,
[00:10:15.810]these were not just knee jerk.
[00:10:17.955]A lot of planning
[00:10:18.788]went into this.
You know, the,
[00:10:20.520]one of the things that I really appreciate about Nebraska
[00:10:22.980]is we think long and hard about what we do,
[00:10:25.620]and we really put the diligence
[00:10:28.920]into thinking behind all of these things.
[00:10:31.500]I mentioned to the media this morning that,
[00:10:34.080]take the alcohol question for Pinnacle Bank Arena,
[00:10:38.520]I'm in my 7th year in this position,
[00:10:41.370]I started talking with the city of Lincoln about that
[00:10:44.850]the first two months I was in the position.
[00:10:47.880]I remember distinctly talking
[00:10:49.440]with Mayor Chris Beutler at the time here in Lincoln,
[00:10:52.560]about what that would look like,
[00:10:55.020]what we would need to consider,
[00:10:56.490]and what would be entailed
[00:10:58.350]in that happening at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
[00:11:01.440]So we take our time
[00:11:03.720]to really think through those things carefully,
[00:11:06.630]and while this is a little different process,
[00:11:10.170]relative to the Memorial Stadium piece,
[00:11:13.320]than what we would typically do with university facilities,
[00:11:16.290]this is the right thing to do
[00:11:17.850]is to really put behind
[00:11:20.460]all of that conceptual planning ahead of us,
[00:11:23.910]really coming forward with
[00:11:25.440]this is what we desire as a program statement
[00:11:29.040]to go to the Board of Regents.
[00:11:30.810]Great to see you.
[00:11:31.770]Sorry to bother you on the bye week,
[00:11:33.480]but now we've got homecoming coming up,
[00:11:34.830]and we'll chat again
Yeah, lookin' forward
[00:11:36.657]to homecoming next week.
[00:11:37.490]Lookin' forward to two great volleyball games this weekend,
[00:11:39.810]and Go Big Red.
[00:11:40.830]There he is, Ronnie Green with us here on Sports Ticket.
[00:11:42.690]Time to tell you to buckle up, put the phone down,
[00:11:44.160]a reminder from the NDOT Highway Safety Office.
[00:11:46.830]More of the show comin' up next.
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