Clay: What are you hearing on WMS?

Is Ole Miss likely to be the SEC grand finale or do you see more SEC games in the Capital City’s future? Also, any insight in to when a decision will be made one way or the other?

KATV ran this interview with Hunter Yurachek this weekend in which he addressed the WMS situation. Basically, no decision made yet. Read between the lines as you will:

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I believe more games will be played in Little Rock. That definitely is what Gov. Hutchinson wants. I will be surprised if more games are not scheduled in the future. It’s what I’d do, too.

Hopefully, if games are played there, they can come up with some money to improve the stadium.

I wouldn’t hold your breath on more money for WMS, unless they can find a private donor to do it. The Gov is all on cutting taxes so budgets are going to be tight for the agencies so expecting Parks and Tourism to drop a big chunk on WMS isn’t likely.

Do you think they can justify the expansion on 6 Fayetteville home games, or better yet, market/sell it on 6 games? I think 7 is no problem, and I understand the thinking that 8 in Fayetteville might be too many, but I’m not sure how $64k for 6 games will play.

Excellent news!

While Little Rock is easier for me to see the Hogs, from a business standpoint it raises numerous questions. Almost 20,000 fewer seats and a outdated venue versus a updated venue that has enjoyed close to a 100 to 1 ratio of renovation investment. Recruiting limitations and additional costs for the home team are other considerations.

I understand the significant role War Memorial Stadium has in the evolution of the Razorback brand, but how long does it take for Hogs to satisfy that debt? It seems that other than high impact venues, it appears difficult for most Universities to give up home games.

Keith, there is revenue involved that is not just tickets sold. I think the overall health of the Razorback Foundation is at stake with the move out of Little Rock. There are already many solid donors (and I’m not talking about massive gifts) that have decided against giving because they are upset at the move away from Little Rock. That should never have happened. Some of those had been giving for three or four generations. I think it’s a university for the state and that playing a game in Little Rock is a significant part of reaching to the state. I have friends that I know who have decided to drop being a Broyles Matthews donor and just cherry pick one game a year and buy off stub hub and pay up. For instance, they might give $20,000 a year to a charity, their church, instead of to the foundation. They gave up good season tickets. They’ll still pay $4,000 for good seats to watch a couple of games and might pick a road game and drop a nice bit of money for that trip. But they are not happy with what happened to Little Rock games and decided to spend their money differently.

More and more of that will happen if no games are played in Little Rock.

Yes, the stadium needs some updating. But it doesn’t need a lot to be able to play one game. Mainly, the replay situations needs to be fixed. I don’t buy all of the stuff about the locker room and other areas. I’ve seen poor interview situations (Missouri has no place for interviews) in the SEC. So that is wasted money for one game.

I live in Fayetteville. It’s a pain to go to Little Rock for games. I must be at work at 8 a.m. on Sunday to get the magazine finished each week. Sunday is a long day. And, I drive back from a night game in Little Rock, I’m getting to bed at 3 a.m. But I look forward to that battle each year because I know that there are fans all over south Arkansas and east Arkansas who got to see the Razorbacks play who might not see the team otherwise. I get it.

Sometimes it’s not about me. And, turn that around and say it about yourself. It’s not about you. It may be about someone else.

First, good post, Clay. It is painful to read, but it is good to read.

Second, UA is the only major school I know of that is “blackmailed” like this. That should give us a moment’s pause.

Third, that we got into this mess is the real issue. I don’t like the “business” side of this where it feels like we are kicking the can down the road.

This is not intended as a “Great Stadium Debate” post! I respect folks on all sides of this. From a business perspective the move out of WMS seems rather necessary…until it is screwed up to the point we can’t leave.

How do you know you won’t recoup that money from NWA or elsewhere. Are you saying that $3m+ will be lost in donations due to no games in LR? I’ve been going to games since 1967, obviously lots of them in LR, but I don’t base my donation level on where the games are played, and I don’t think “real” Razorback fans would either. Seems sort of ironic, some are concerned about themselves, too…

You miss the point. Yes, you might recoup that money from Northwest Arkansas. It’s not just about the money. It’s about the people. You do not turn your back on those folks. You do not want to just make it a Northwest Arkansas fan base. It kills me that people do not see what moving all games to Fayetteville does. For the life of me, I do not understand why you would want to walk away from those who have given so much to the program. It’s one game.

I do believe that if the Hogs are to continue playing in Little Rock that the annual Dallas game needs to end. It would be good, maybe, to play in Dallas every other year against a non-conference opponent. That way there would never be two “home” games away from Fayetteville. Texas A&M wants out of that contract; UA should oblige whether at the end of it or sooner, if that would not jeopardize the school’s relationship with Jerry.

The Arlington game does present considerable problems along with playing a game in Little Rock, too. I don’t know how you can play two SEC games away from Fayetteville. That’s the huge issue in all of this. Has it run its course, the Arlington game? Maybe.

I can easily see it going away after 2024, but I doubt before then. I think the Mizzou game on the Friday after Thanksgiving would be a good candidate, but not until the Arlington game has run its course.

Lol, I’m one of those who have given so much, and I fully understand that the games should be played on campus, I’m not the one threatening my support. Are you saying that these people can only go to a game in LR, that doesn’t sound like lot of support. I don’t live in NWA, so don’t group me with someone only wanting the games in my backyard.

Clay is 100% spot on… in order to have a chance to compete successfully against our conference brethren the entire state needs to be united. Games in Little Rock makes the Hogs accessible to the common fan from east and south Arkansas.

I hope - and believe - Arkansas will be playing meaningful games at WMS Long after I’m gone and that’s a very good thing!

Why can’t the entire state be united by playing the games on campus? Why wouldn’t you want an additional 20,000 of these fans at these conference games, wouldn’t that be a better atmosphere? We would you deny 8000 students the opportunity to see their classmates play?

At some point games in LR will stop. Don’t know when, but it will.

I respect both sides, but at some point you’re going to have to cut the cord.

It would appear that now is the perfect time to rip the bandaid off.