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The sports talk radio in MS seems to bash this idea, saying that JSU doesn't need 50K seats in any new stadium. One host suggested that the other events that supporters are saying the stadium could host would be better housed in a separate new arena in downtown Jackson. I wonder, though, why build 2 smaller stadia when 1 bigger one could not only serve its purpose, but play a bigger role in bring the community together?
If there's no event that ever fills 50,000 seats, then why build such a thing? JSU football can sell 50,000 seats for only one, maybe two games per year, and that's only if they are having a good season. The rest of the games are more like 20,000. We could try to get Saints, Falcons, and Titans to play pre-season games here. Other than that I don't know what events will ever sell 50,000 tickets.
As far as basketball is concerned, well, JSU basketball is not like Syracuse that can fill 20,000 seats... Even big-name concerts almost never play in 50,000 seat stadiums. Other than the Stones, there are no singers that play in stadiums that large.
The 50,000 seat facility opens up the chance of NFL pre-season games, but at the cost of being half empty the rest of the time.
From a purely 'realistic' standpoint blackwatch, sports talk radio is right that JSU does not need 50k seats in any new stadium. What JSU has proposed cannot be supported financially nor with the people in the metropolitan Jackson area. Just yesterday, the AG commissioner requested 47 million dollars from the legislature to make UPGRADES and IMPROVEMENTS to the Coliseum. In all honesty, her request makes sense and would garner more support from the legislature than JSU's request of 75 million for the 'Domed' stadium. Further, what would bring the community together are REALISTIC proposals that are based on what actually CAN be done and not on what people WANT to happen!
Knowledge 06 (are you one of Ms. Singleton's boys?),
The argument for 50k seat stadium from JSU is that it wouldn't be just for JSU, many other events that people from all communities and interests would take place there. There could be concerts from top 40 artists from all music genre's (that typically don't come to Jackson for lack of a quality and sufficient venue), monster truck pulls, rodeos, conventions, festivals, etc. that could meet the needs and demands of a variety of markets in the metro area.
Also, saddling JSU with a 20K seat stadium would indicate to JSU and its supporters that the state does not believe that JSU needs room to grow its athletics program. Keep in mind that JSU averaged about 40k per game in the 1980's and led I-AA schools in attendance as late as the late 90's. So, there is sufficient history and interest to suggest that JSU football could get back to that level, with proper investment and support.
Now is the time to show that support and call for the staet and the metro area suburbs to support and invest in Jackson proper, and watch how the region could grow, with more investment in more segmants of the commnunity. That is how Maynard Jackson grew Atlanta in the 1970's. It is the best route to go in terms of long term, effective, and more democratic planning for this region.
Forgive my ignorance blackwatch but i'm not familiar with Ms. Singleton's boys. Beyond that, let me address your points:
It's nice to talk about 'all communities' when you're referencing the stadium but no other community outside of Jackson has publicly supported this idea. A lot of the events you mentioned (concerts, rodeos, conventions, etc) already come to the area. Granted they are not to the extent that most want but it also has to to with the size of the metropolitan Jackson area. Also, an expansion and upgrade of the coliseum is in the works and will help to further attract those things you mentioned.
JSU currently has a 62,000 seat stadium and those supporters that you talk about don't support those games by actually attending. Those supporters that YOU talk about only talk about support.
As for your attendance numbers for JSU in the 1980's, they are incorrect. JSU never OFFICIALLY averaged 40k per game in the 1980's or in the late 90's. JSU set the the I-AA attendance record in 1997 with average attendance of 38,873 which broke their own record of 34,849 set in 1995. It was not that hard to research that. You have to be careful when using flawed numbers to make a point.(lol) Further, JSU fans haven't shown enough to suggest to anyone that they will get back to those levels. We officially averaged over 14k per game this past season. We followed that up with a bid for a 50k domed stadium. Still scratching my head on that one.
Lastly, comparing Atlanta to Jackson is a false comparison. The Jackson metropolitan area has never been the size of the Atlanta metropolitan area. As a matter of fact, that population of that area is almost 10 times the size of the Jackson area. It's great to thing big but use a place that is a REAL comparison!
The numbers you cite are from the official reports, and are official. But, I'd be careful to assume that those numbers are actual fact. For instance, the attendence for the JSU-Southern game this past year was oficially reported as 20,713 acording to the SWAC stats. I was at the game. If only 20,713 fans were there, the stadium would not have even been 1/3 full. The stadium was actually about 70-80% full, with the only empty seats being towards the top sections and the open end of the stadium. So I would estimate that at least 45K were actually at the game, and I seriously doubt that these schools would give away over 20K tickets for free. Besides, I said that the attendance was about 40K, cut me some slack for the 2k difference in actual documented attendance.
To your numbered points....
1. The scope and scale of the entertainment that the metro area currently attracts is characterized by the lack of a sufficient venue to host more events at a larger scale. The present coliseum is not conducive to many popular concert tours, so we really do not see a representative offering in terms of what the communities would support. I am a huge Stevie Wonder fan. If he came to Jackson, there isn't a venue large enough to adequately hold a concert of his here. A larger venue is necessary to cater to a wider swath of the residents in this area, a remodeled Coliseum just won't be able to accomodate that.
While I agree that many people in suburban communities are against the domed stadium, I am noting that this is the problem with economic development in the metro. Too many suburbanites refuse to support investment in Jackson proper and that hampers the growth of the region over all. The suburbanites who oppose this stadium are used to "cutting off their noses to spite their faces". It is the lay of the land in terms of how many in MS see economic development .
2. I Agree that the support for JSU is not where it used to be. In order for JSU to grow its athletic department there are a few things they need to do. A new stadium, as part of a overhaul of marketing, possible new conference affiliation, etc., could help the program to get back to what it used to be. But, if all you have is 20K seats to fill, where is the room for growth?
The Memorial stadium is a non-issue at this point. It will be torn down. So upgrading it is a waste of money. A better investment would be in a stadium that has multiple uses, wide appeal, and allows for JSU to work better at growing support for its program.
To be continued on next post
blackwatch, YOU say Memorial stadium is a non-issue. As long as it remains the property of JSU, it will remain an issue. JSU can opt out after 3 years but if they don't they are left with nothing and UMC receives the property FREE and CLEAR. Additionally, if JSU moves into another facililty, UMC receives the stadium FREE and CLEAR. You're talking about tearing down a stadium that is younger than stadiums at Ole Miss, MSU and USM. Those schools saw fit to continually upgrade and improve what they had. Wouldn't it make sense for JSU to commission a study that would show the cost to upgrade and improve Memorial stadium vs the dome? You, nor anyone else actually knows if what you are proposing is a better investment because you haven't seen the numbers on the other option!
The comparisons to Atlanta are valid when you look at population growth since the 1970's. The population in MS is a lot lower than GA, but that is not a static, but a dynamic reality. Smart, talented, and progressive people leave MS many times because of a lack of investment in more people and areas of the state, progressive thought and ideas, and opportunity. Atlanta was not always the size it is now. In fact, in the 1970's , the population of the ATL metro area was very comparable to Memphis. Atlanta has attracted the population it has, due to strategic investments in infrastructure, industry, education, and tourism. Maynard Jackson was strategic in ensuring that Delta Airlines and the USPS have hubs in the Atlanta Airport, and that contractors working with the city were as diverse as the city's residents. What this did was attract a diverse number of businesses, people, and investments that in turn helped to develop the educational and physical infrastructure of the area. This began a cycle of investment and opportunity that attracted the people we see there today.
There is no reason why a place like Memphis, or even Jackson, couldn't have done the same thing, but for the leadership and the people with means in these communities seeing beyond petty prejudice, ignorance, and obsolete tradition/ folkways and see what opportunities are available. For the suburbanites to support two separate arenas in the metro area is again another shameful chapter in the self-defeatist legacy of this state. When will we learn?
Georgia has a population over 9 million. Tennessee has a population over 6 million. Mississippi has a population of almost 3 million. Jackson's metro is still not Memphis metro. Memphis alone has a population over 600k. ALL of the metro Jackson area is under that. As it relates to this dome(dumb) idea, it is not a lack of progressive thought or desire that is ensuring this idea will fail. It is a lack of common sense on those proposing it and those blindly supporting it. You can't start at the top without beginning your work on the bottom. You and I will probably agree on a many number of things when it comes to the failings of Mississippi but on this dome issue we are in two different hemispheres. The numbers don't add up and we have to learn to understand when they don't!
The push around Jackson is that the Memorial stadium is in direct line of gowth of UMC to become a medical hub of the deep south. There is no way that the people in state, UMC, and city leadership are going to abandon the plans to expand UMC so that JSU can have a 60+K seat stadium sit empty 90% of the year. The deal that was struck that gave JSU the stadium was always understood to be temporary, while both JSU and UMC decided on how to accomdate JSU football and the UMC expansion. Neither side wants to continue to have JSU play home games in Memorial Stadium. Any investment in an upgrade to that stadium would pale in comparison to what an expanded UMC and a new (on campus) facility would bring to JSU and UMC. So, the future of Memorial Stadium has already been determined, its a goner.
Of course Memphis and Atlanta are bigger than Jackson. But that doesn't mean Jackson metro can't use the blurprint of Atlanta to try and generate economic growth and attract more productive people to actually build a life here. That is what I am pointing towards. Will Jackson ever be the metropolis that metro Atlanta is? I don't know. But that doesn't mean that Jackson can't be more progressive when it comes to planning for growth.
The numbers would add up, if the political will was for people to work together for mutual propserity. Two separate stadiums inevitably harkens back to the days of Jim Crow. One will be for black folks ( JSU) and one will be for white folks (the Fairgrounds/downtown) in terms of events and usage. Inevitably we will see under investment in the JSU stadium and further social and economic segregation like we already see. Again, when will we ever learn?
Mississippi is a dead state and will forever be a dead state because people in Mississippi are too weak to want change. Scared to take chances or risks to better themselves. That's why that state is crap and will always be crap and the only thing they are known for is being racist. Mississippi rarely known for anything good. When you go to the East or up north and tell people you are from Mississippi they either think you're a dumb racist redneck or if you're black you're a dumb submissive black person. People in other states do not respect Mississippi and I honestly don't blame them. When I read comments like the ones coming from Knowledge06 it let's me know I should never come back to that state because the people there are so close minded and stuck in their ways. There are barely any good jobs, barely any entertainment, and the racial tension there makes me sick. I must say sometimes I'm ashamed to have been born there and I hope one day that state would change so I can move back there and be proud to live there again. This dome is the best thing I've heard about Mississippi even consider building , for once they are thinking big. I doubt it would ever happen though because a state like that will never let an HBCU be affiliated with anything that nice. They will fight tooth and nail to make sure JSU doesn't get that stadium. JSU should not give up though. Don't let some people who don't care about Jackson have any input on Jackson's future. Hopefully in a few decades that state will prosper into something beautiful, unfortunately until then, it will just continue to be one of the crap stains of America.
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