Finley Stadium will be continuing a partnership with both First Tennessee for the naming rights of the pavilion. The terms for naming rights are $100,000 yearly for 10 years with a two percent inflation increase automatically built in. First Tennessee has been a great partner, and the agreement further cements a great relationship, said Gordon Davenport Jr..
Capital improvements to the facility including a new, large video board, premium seating with backs and armrests, new air conditioning units and wheelchair accessibility have had a positive effect on the experience of people attending events at Finley Stadium this fall. The stadium has been thriving with almost constant use and there are already 250 events booked in 2019, Executive Director Chris Thomas told the Finley Stadium board of directors on Tuesday. Many of these are returning events, he said.
Some highlights include The Chattanooga Marathon and Riverside Street Meet at the beginning of March. UTC will hold the UTC Spring Festival on March 29 and 30. This “football showcase” takes the place of the annual spring game. The two day Chattanooga event, will have carnival games, a concert, a 5K run, food and beverages in the Pavilion on Friday night, and fireworks, in addition to the football showcase.
Vintage Market Days are scheduled for four dates and the High School Jamboree will be held on August 15-17. The UTC opener is Aug. 31 and Octoberfest 2019 will be Oct. 11-13.
Maintenance is ongoing at the 21-year-old facility. In the past several years, TVs have been upgraded to HD, seats have been reupholstered, some sky boxes have been revamped, a new roof has been put on, and new artificial turf was installed. Astroturf has been scheduled to do annual maintenance on the field. That has been a good investment in order to make sure that the field is in top shape, said Mr. Thomas. Other issues will need attention in the next five years that are not readily visible, said Mr. Davenport.
With only 6-8 weeks remaining for football and operation of the Chattanooga Market, the stadium is already working toward winterizing the facility, said the executive director. Now attention is turning compiling a list of what maintenance needs to be done in the next year.
The video board has “changed the atmosphere” watching a game, said Mr. Davenport, but UTC is the only partner that has expertise to use it. The stadium board would like to have other users have access to it, by making a moderate investment in training available for them. From the beginning, it was recognized that there would be a learning curve associated with the board, said Mr. Davenport. The board needs to figure out where to go from here.
There may be a special meeting called to discuss contracts for soccer, prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Finley Stadium Board, which is tentatively scheduled for Dec 4 at 11:30 a.m. It is a work in progress, said Mr. Davenport. He said, "We are continuing to work in good faith with all parties around that topic."