By Chandler Morrison, Sports Editor —
The UTC Athletic Department and Finley Stadium-Davenport Field finalized an agreement Tuesday to extend the contract for the Mocs’ football and soccer programs.
The new deal was ratified at Tuesday’s Stadium Corporation Board Meeting as both parties agreed to a deal through June 30, 2021 with an option for a fourth year after that.
“We are looking forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with Finley Stadium,” UTC Vice Chancellor & Director of Athletics Mark Wharton explained. “This agreement fits the needs of our athletics program and I am excited about the future of our partnership with Finley Stadium.”
UTC will pay slightly more than the previous contract with an annual fee of $146,880, compared to roughly $144,000 a year. This, though, was after much negotiation and renegotiation. In April, the Finley Stadium board proposed that Chattanooga pay an annual fee of $268,000 over a five year period.
The Mocs will host 5 regular season football games and 10 regular season women’s soccer contests by the end of October with the chance of a few playoff games in either sport. Over the regular season for both, UTC would pay $9,792 per event compared to the fee stated under the proposal in April, which would have cost roughly $17,000 per event.
Finley Stadium has hosted UTC athletics since 1997 and have only recently made changes to the stadium to accommodate the addition of a professional soccer team to the Chattanooga area. It was reported in August by the Chattanooga Times Free Press that the Mocs were contemplating building a new stadium at the current Engel Stadium site to the east of the main campus.
“Finley Stadium is an outstanding venue for UTC football and soccer,” Chancellor Steve Angle said. “The addition of a new video scoreboard has enhanced the quality of the fan experience. We are delighted to continue the partnership with Hamilton County, the City of Chattanooga, and the community that led to the construction of Finley Stadium.”
With the new contract, the Mocs retain the rights to priority scheduling for football and women’s soccer events with access to parking and the First Tennessee Pavilion to the west of the stadium.
The new agreement goes through 2021, but recent tensions arising in the midst of the months-long negotiation could still prove fertile ground for the possibility of a new stadium closer to campus for UTC. For now, the Mocs have at least found a temporary home for its football and soccer programs.