Welcome to TDECU Stadium. What is TDECU Stadium?
Published: Tuesday, 08 July 2014 15:37
by Zach Barnett
Maybe this says more about us than the University of Houston, but the first thought Doug and I both had upon seeing the name of the Cougars' new stadium was, "Wait, what does East Carolina have to do with this?"
The Houston Chronicle reported Monday that the Cougars had struck a deal to name their new stadium TDECU Stadium. To a couple of goofs like us, that read as "Touchdown East Carolina University Stadium". In reality, TDECU stands for Texas Dow Employees Credit Union. According to the paper, "Texas Dow Employees Credit Union is the fourth-largest credit union in Texas and the largest in the Houston area with more than 186,000 members and excess of $2 billion in assets, according to the company's website."
After a December 2012 ground breaking, the stadium was constructed for $120 million. It will hold a capacity of 40,000, which includes 25 suites, 42 loge boxes, 766 club seats, four party patios and two open-air suite decks. All premium seat is sold out, according to the school.
TDECU will pay $1.5 million per year over the next decade for naming rights to the stadium, which is above what Minnesota (TCF Bank Stadium) and California (Kabam Field) received for recent naming rights agreements.
The move represents a landmark moment for the program, which has been somewhat nomadic since its 1948 inception. The Cougars are set to embark on their second season in the American Athletic Conference, after playing 17 seasons in Conference USA, two decades in the Southwest Conference, a decade and a half as a I-A Indepedent, nine years in the Missouri Valley, two years in the Gulf Coast Conference and three seasons in the Lone Star Conference. The American figures to be Houston's home until it's not, which is all anyone can say in this current climate where conferences are only as strong as their latest TV contract.
As Houston has bounced from conference to conference, it has also traversed Space City looking for a suitable place to play its home games. The Cougars originally played in Public School Stadium, renamed Robertson Stadium when the university took control of the structure, but bounced between Rice Stadium and the Astrodome until Robertson's 1998 renovations. The Cougars alternated between the Houston Texans' Reliant Stadium and the Houston Dynamo's BBVA Compass Stadium during TDECU Stadium's construction.
Houston joins a growing roster of Lone Star State programs that have constructed entirely new stadiums - SMU, North Texas, Baylor, Abilene Christian, Mary Hardin-Baylor - or essentially built new stadiums on top of their existing homes - Texas Tech, TCU, Texas A&M.
The Cougars will open TDECU Stadium against UTSA on Friday, Aug. 29 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU.