Temple says Eagles seek big rent hike for Linc

Posted: April 12, 2014

An unwillingness to pay a higher rent, coupled with a $12 million cash payment up front for the use of Lincoln Financial Field for home football games, has once again sparked conversations about a possible new stadium for Temple University.

"That would certainly be one of the alternatives we'd look at," Temple president Neil Theobald said Thursday.

Signed before the start of the 2003 season, Temple's lease with the Eagles does not expire until after the 2017 season.

Theobald said that he has been negotiating with the Eagles for more than a year and that they have not given a reason for the increase, which he said would more than double what Temple is paying.

In a statement released Thursday, Eagles president Don Smolenski said that they "have not had any negotiations or discussions with Temple about continuing their license for the use of Lincoln Financial Field in over a year," and that "the statements made by President Theobald do not accurately reflect our conversations with Temple representatives, which began in 2010," Smolenski said. "In our last meeting, Dr. Theobald asked us to give them time. We have not heard from them since. We do not consider statements in the press to be negotiations with us and we are mystified as to why Temple hasn’t communicated with us on this subject in over a year.”

Theobald said that Temple was considering renting other venues for its home games. He added that no negotiations have been held with any venues.

To save money, Temple announced in December that it was cutting five sports. The annual athletics budget is approximately $45 million.

Theobald said he doubted that Temple's board of trustees would agree to the increase he said the Eagles are proposing.

"If your landlord wants to substantially increase your rent, you check your options," Theobald said. "This year, we will pay them less than $1 million for six games. Now, they are saying they would like substantial cash [$12 million] up front, and they want to raise the rent to $2 million. We have told them we are going to see what our other options are and see if we can house our football team somewhere else at a lower price."


jmitchell@philly.com

@JmitchInquirer

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