ANNAPOLIS, JULY 12 -- The Naval Academy, which hopes to make its football team more entertaining and successful, also has embarked on a program to boost the comfort of its most loyal -- and wealthy -- fans.
Athletic Director Jack Lengyel today disclosed details of a test marketing plan that could result in the construction of 48 luxury suites and a 640-seat club at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The stadium, which opened in 1959, has 30,000 permanent seats.
Whether the $9.2 million project comes to fruition depends on the response. Lengyel said that if 80 percent of the proposed seats were committed by the end of the 1990 football season, the luxury accommodations would be ready for the start of the 1991 campaign.
Wealthy alumni and corporations that deal with the Navy were principal targets of an initial mailing to 600 prospective purchasers. A key inducement, as it is for all sports luxury-suite users, is a provision of the 1988 Tax Reform Act that permits an 80 percent tax deduction.
Each of the 48 Admiralty Suites would contain 12 seats and would be priced depending on location -- from $1,500 per seat per year in the end zone to $3,500 per seat between the 35-yard lines.
Each of the 640 seats in the Annapolis Bay Club would cost $500 a year, with initial purchases on a 10-year basis.
To satisfy the tax requirements, these fees would be considered donations, with actual tickets additional. A season ticket for the six home games during the upcoming season would be $90.
"We think this project will move the United States Naval Academy into the 21st century," Lengyel said. He added that he expected construction costs to be paid off in five years, with substantial profits thereafter.
With a complete sellout, the 1,216 seats would generate revenues of more than $2 million annually.
No federal money will be used for the project. The Naval Academy Athletic Association, which funds all Navy sports, has signed a contract with University Partners Limited, which is working on similar plans with four other schools.