NU Regents OK Big UNL, UNMC Proposals


    The University of Nebraska Regents on Friday unanimously approved 3 major proposals for the Husker athletic department and one for the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

     The UNL athletics proposals are a 2-year trial program allowing alcohol sales at Pinnacle Bank Arena for men’s and women’s basketball games, a new 15-year multimedia rights deal with Playfly Sports Properties, and approval for AD Trev Alberts to select a design team and construction firm for Memorial Stadium renovations.\

       Because Pinnacle Bank Arena is owned by the City of Lincoln, the city council will need to give a final stamp of approval. A vote is scheduled for October 24. The city will get 90% of the net revenue from alcohol sales, which will still be prohibited for football.

      UNL kept the broadcast and streaming rights to Husker sports in house last year when its previous contract with Leafield IMG expired after 16 years, but concluded the more prudent course was to again go with a private firm.

      The contract with Playfly Sports takes effect today and is guaranteed to bring Nebraska about $300-million dollars through 2038. Playfly has similar deals with Michigan State and Maryland. It also handles the Big Ten Conference.

    UNL has not made any decisions about what renovations might be made to Memorial Stadium, so there’s no price tag yet. Alberts has said the south end zone, concession areas and concourse are all likely to be part of such a project, which might reduce capacity by making new seats wider and more comfortable. 

     The Regents also approved the UNMC plan for an Innovation Hub on 3 acres already owned by the university as part of its Saddle Creek redevelopment project, which includes a 7-floor office facility scheduled to open in late 2025.

      The Innovation Hub is described by UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey Gold as a “ flexible lease space (that) will support entrepreneurial businesses in a collaborative environment, generate income for UNMC, and spur regional development.”

     UNMC will own part of the private-public venture, called The Catalyst. Planning and design work is already done with major construction work expected to begin later this fall and completion anticipated in spring 2024.