Saturday’s win against Penn State is a moment many students will remember for the rest of their lives. Nearly 70,000 football fans flocked to Lincoln Financial Field and transformed South Philadelphia into a college-football town.
The atmosphere was electric, the stadium was covered in Cherry and White, and the football team made history by beating its rival for the first time in 74 years.
The game brought so much pride to the university that President Theobald sent an email to the student body thanking them for “inspiring” school spirit.
It was a great day to be an Owl—a day that wouldn’t have been possible with an on-campus football stadium.
Lincoln Financial Field has an official capacity of 69,176, making it the biggest stadium in the American Athletic Conference, and outsizing many stadiums designated for schools in Power 5 conferences—the five conferences with the higest total revenue.
This capacity allows Temple to host big-time football programs like Penn State and Notre Dame, which is necessary to building a program’s culture.
It is unlikely that Temple administration could oversee the construction of a football stadium seating anywhere near the capacity of The Linc.
Its capacity would more likely resemble the similar urban stadium in New Orleans recently built by Tulane, which seats 30,000.
A stadium seating anything less than roughly 50,000 would greatly diminish Temple’s ability to lure big-name programs anywhere near North Broad Street. Since 2008, the smallest stadium Penn State played a non-conference game in was Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome, which seats just less than 50,000. The next smallest stadium was The University of Virginia’s Scott Stadium, which seats 61,500.
In an interview with The Temple News last month, Theobald said The Linc’s capacity exceeds what the team requires, especially with the Philadelphia Eagles, the owner of the stadium, steadily increasing the rent for the Owls to take up shop.
“We don’t really need 80,000 seats,” Theobald said. “Given the cost that they would like us to pay, we need to look at other options. We’re looking possibly on campus, possibly sharing with Penn. We’re going to need to answer that question.”
Penn’s Franklin Field seats 52,593, which could suffice for big-name programs, but would still be in the basement for high-caliber programs. Even if Temple’s administration decided on this plan, trading out rental stadiums for a smaller, lower quality stadium at a rival school creates its own set of problems.
We acknowledge what the university is trying to do, but don’t want to relinquish the powerful image of a sold-out professional football stadium propelling our football program into national relevance.
They could do what Nova does for basketball and rent out the Linc for big games.