Waco City Council on Tuesday voted to create a public Baylor Waco Stadium Authority that will lease the new stadium and book it for concerts and community events year-round.
The authority’s board will oversee a private contractor that will book and run non-Baylor events, extending the stadium’s use well beyond six football games a year, Mayor Malcolm Duncan Jr. said.
“The Baylor Waco Stadium Authority represents another important step forward in the ongoing partnership between the city of Waco and Baylor University,” he said.
As a “local government authority” it will have limited legal liability that will give Baylor legal protection during non-Baylor events, Duncan said.
Also, the authority will be able to allow events that serve alcohol without conflicting with the university’s no-alcohol policy, he said.
Baylor has chosen SMG, an internationally known venue management firm, to operate the stadium for nongame events under authority supervision. ClubCorp, a well-known owner and operator of golf, business, sports and stadium clubs across the continent, will run a private club at the stadium offering members fine dining and beverages on a daily basis.
Duncan said the city is sponsoring the authority, but the agreement with Baylor leaves the university in charge of the stadium and does not saddle the city with liability.
“We were comfortable to enter into the relationship as long as we were guaranteed there was no financial risk,” he said.
The authority’s board will be headed by former Baylor regent Harold Cunningham and also will include former Waco Mayor Virginia DuPuy, Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center CEO Glenn Robinson, businessman Jim Sartain and Joseph Wade.
Baylor will nominate board members for city council approval, but the council has veto power, officials said.
Robinson, the hospital executive, said the stadium is a “powerful and highly visible symbol” of the community’s progress.
“As a year-round resource and attraction, we think the new stadium provides a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase our city and serve our citizens,” he said.
“We look forward to helping to make the stadium a ‘go-to’ destination, not only for those in our community, but for those across our state.”