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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 30, 2009

UH could save if crowds are up

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Aloha Stadium Authority and the University of Hawai'i are weighing a plan that could lower the school's costs for using the facility in relation to the size of its football crowds.

For example, if the Warriors hit a target attendance of, say, 40,000 for a game, they could qualify for a reduced clean-up fee. "The more fans and revenue they bring into the stadium, the more relief they could see," said Kevin Chong Kee, authority chairman.

UH was not charged rent for the 2008 season but paid $778,592 in so-called "out-of-pocket" expenses, including $104,846 in combined clean-up and refuse disposal charges, according to the parties.

At its monthly meeting Thursday, the authority asked the attorney general's office to study some proposed changes to its administrative rules to allow stadium manager Scott Chan, with authority approval, to negotiate tenant deals. In addition, a committee headed by authority member Alan S. Tamay-ose, a certified public accountant, was formed to identify other potential cost savings.

UH athletic director Jim Donovan has told the authority, "it is imperative we get some (financial) help."

The school is expected to run a $2.5 million to $3 million deficit for the current fiscal year that closes June 30 and has an accumulated $5.4 million net deficit over the past five years.

"We're looking for ways to help the university out," Chong Kee said. It was not immediately known what measures might be able to be put in place in time for the 2009 season that begins Sept. 4, but Chan said, "We want to be part of the solution."

"We'd be appreciative of anything they could do," Donovan said. "In my 14 months (as UH AD), the level of cooperation we've enjoyed in all regards has been fantastic."

Until 2006, UH paid rent, and expenses for its use of the stadium. But beginning with 2006 the authority agreed to rescind the rent when conditions allowed, saving UH approximately $300,000 per season.