War Memorial Stadium requires approximately $17 million in repairs and upgrades to stay in useful condition, according to a feasibility study released last month by Conventions Sports & Leisure International LLC.
Overall, 34 improvements were suggested to the Little Rock stadium. According to the report, most stadiums outlive their usefulness after 45 years. War Memorial Stadium will turn 70 years old in September.
The report came just weeks before the Arkansas Razorback football team is scheduled to play its Red-White Spring Football Game at the stadium. The Razorbacks have played at least one football game at the venue each year since it opened in 1948. For a period of time, the team played more games at War Memorial Stadium that in Fayetteville.
The Razorbacks will play their spring game at War Memorial this Saturday, with kick off at 1 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
The team will also play Ole Miss at War Memorial Stadium in October. It is the last scheduled game for the Razorbacks before the school’s contract with the state Parks and Tourism Department expires. It has not yet been determined whether or not a new contract will be tendered.
Since 2000, the number of games played by the Razorbacks at the venue has steadily declined. The late Frank Broyles, long-time Arkansas athletic director, reduced the number of Little Rock games from three to two in 2000, coinciding with the completed expansion of Fayetteville’s Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Recently ousted athletic director Jeff Long, in 2013, reduced the number of Razorback games at the venue to one a year. As a result of his decision, the University of Arkansas was required to pay the $400,000 a year to make up for the missed game. According to previous reports, the Arkansas athletic program loses roughly $1 million in revenue when playing at the 55,000-seat War Memorial instead of 72,000-seat Razorback Stadium.
Long was replaced this winter by Hunter Yurachek, of Houston. Yurachek has not yet made his intentions known as to the fate of Razorback games at the historic Little Rock venue. Another significant expansion of Reynolds Razorback Stadium is expected to be complete by the start of the 2018 football season, adding even more seats to the Fayetteville stadium.
War Memorial Stadium also announced this week the launch of a new website, logo and stadium branding. This phase of development is under the supervision of the Department of Parks and Tourism.
Visitors to the site can now find policies, event information and tailgating reservations all in one place. The site also easier to navigate, according to reports.