EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- State Auditors say that Rentschler Field, the home stadium of the UConn Football Huskies, is losing millions every year.
It's one of three huge sports and entertainment venues owned by state taxpayers in the Capitol Region.
About 35,000 people watched the UConn Huskies clobber the UMass Minutemen, 37 to nothing, in the season opener Thursday night at the 40,000 seat stadium in East Hartford. It was the ninth anniversary of the first game ever played at Rentschler Field.
When then Governor John Rowland and the state legislature approved the $91 million stadium deal 10 years ago, it was said it would pay for itself. But even though the state got the land for free it still does not pay for itself, and there's ten years left on the mortgage.
But the facility is aging and its value is depreciating faster than its ability to pay for itself, partially because there just aren't enough events held there to generate the money needed.
"It's true, it does not fund enough today for either the debt service or pay for replacing reserves," said State Budget Director Ben Barnes. "Largely it's revenues are driven by the amount of attendance there, and we would like to see more events, absolutely."
To address the problem the Governor is working to place management of the stadium, along with the XL Center downtown, and the Convention Center on the riverfront under the control of one agency.
"For a long time these institutions have been run as competitors with one another and what we need is a cooperative venture at different price points that will attract different users," Gov. Dannel Malloy said.
That agency will have to act fast, the state auditors say that Rentschler field has lost close to $10 million over the past three years.
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