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49ers remain on track for football
A tough economy and some disappointment in the number of prospective buyers who have followed through with a commitment to buy football seat licenses is not slowing the Charlotte 49ers’ efforts to start a football program in time for the 2013 season.
Although circumstances have changed since the school’s board of trustees first approved moving head on football in September, athletics director Judy Rose said Tuesday the 49ers remain on track for a program that would begin in a temporary on-campus stadium and eventually move to a new, on-campus facility.
Any of Charlotte’s football goals are contingent on the selling of at least 5,000 FSLs. As of Tuesday, just over 1,700 have been purchased. The school’s board of trustees is scheduled to meet again in mid-September when it will likely expect to see a significant improvement in FSL sales to keep the program on target for a 2013 startup.
“Every time when something has been important for Charlotte, people have stepped up. The community has stepped up,” she said. “I think (football) is important to Charlotte, not just to UNC Charlotte.
“We talk about serving the region and we talk about serving it academically. We need to serve it not just academically, but in the cultural life we have and we have to serve them athletically as well.”
Rose on Tuesday touched on several issues to illustrate the school’s commitment to the football program:
-The school already has a commitment from one anonymous donor for at least $1 million toward the program’s costs.
-A marketing campaign targeted toward selling the remaining FSLs will begin later this month through digital media.
-There will be a July 13 kickoff of a 217-member sales force, each member of which will be tasked with selling 10 to 20 FSLs.
-Sixteen firms have submitted proposals for the design of a football fieldhouse and stadium. An architect could be selected by the end of the month.
The fieldhouse will be located behind the current Wachovia Fieldhouse (used for baseball, soccer and softball). The stadium will be located where the recreation fields currently are located behind the baseball stadium.
“I am optimistic we will get the FSLs sold,” Rose said. “I think the commitments that were made were good intentioned. It was a show of personal commitment, but there was no skin in the game at that time.
“I don’t want it to get lost that in order for (football) to happen, these FSLs have to be sold. We have four months to make a lot of headway.”