UTC agrees to new contract to continue using Finley Stadium

Staff file photo / UTC athletic director Mark Wharton said the Porky's Open, the golf tournament that is one of the biggest fundraisers for Mocs sports programs, has been rescheduled for later this summer in order to have student-athletes and coaches present.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga finalized a three-year contract Tuesday to continue playing football and soccer at Finley Stadium. The new deal was agreed upon during the Stadium Corp. meeting Tuesday morning.

The new deal is for 34 months, ending on June 30, 2021. There will be an option for a fourth year.

"Finley Stadium is an outstanding venue for UTC football and soccer," UTC chancellor Steve Angle said in a news release. "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.

"We also appreciate the Stadium Corporation Board for working with us to reach an agreement that is in the best interest of both UTC and the Finley Stadium Board."

UTC will pay an annual fee of $146,880 with a 2-percent increase each year in the new agreement. The university will retain 100 percent of ticket sales for its events and receive 50 percent of net income from both food truck concessions and north parking lot revenues and 20 percent of gross revenue from general food and beverage concessions - same as with the past contract.

Finley will receive all revenue from skybox rentals and from the sale of food and beverages to skybox patrons.

The school also will have first priority for scheduling football and women's soccer games, provided they are scheduled by the guidelines specified in the agreement. Any other UTC events that conflict with a non-UTC, revenue-generating event will not receive top priority.

The Mocs will receive access to the stadium, the First Tennessee Pavilion and parking for football games, women's soccer matches, practices for both programs and other UTC events.

"We are looking forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with Finley Stadium," UTC vice chancellor and athletic director Mark Wharton said. "This agreement fits the needs of our athletics program, and I am excited about the future of our partnership with Finley Stadium."

The next board meeting is scheduled for Dec. 4, but there may be a "special items" meeting before that to present contracts for the Chattanooga Football Club soccer organization, which has been using Finley since 2009, and the Chattanooga Red Wolves, who will begin play in 2019.

"It's all a work in progress," Stadium Corp. board chairman Gordon Davenport said. "We'll continue to work earnestly with all parties on that."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.