Texas A&M auctioned off rooms for its Hotel and Conference Center, across the street from Kyle Field, Tuesday, with starting bids for the rooms ranging from $125,000 to $475,000, per Tamuhotelandconferencecenter.com.
According to Bill Chappell of NPR, "The Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center isn't fully built yet. But for months now, the school has been calling for supporters to pay from $5,000 to $10,000 in deposits, to get a chance at a 10-year option to reserve one of the hotel's 250 rooms and suites."
In total, about 50 suites and penthouse spots were expected to be auctioned Tuesday. Per Chappell, another 200 rooms will be auctioned Thursday, and any remaining rooms will be sold on an individual basis. The hotel will open for the 2018 season.
The bids for the rooms are considered tax-deductible gifts to the university.
Winning the lottery and auction itself is just the beginning and simply gives those who bid the first opportunity to book the rooms. The price of booking the room for a night will vary, depending on the team's opponent that week: $299 for nonconference foes, $399 for SEC opponents.
The hotel has divided opinions on campus.
"A&M has a long tradition of people being able to go to football games without needing a hotel on campus," communications lecturer David Tarvin told Kenya Robinson of The Battalion. "I feel like main campus should be reserved for education. If the hotel is providing some sort of education, then it is definitely a benefit. But if it's just to benefit donors, then it should be off campus, in my opinion."
Marketing professor Leonard Berry offered a different viewpoint.
"It adds excitement to campus life, and it definitely increases exposure of the university to those that are not already here," he told Robinson. "It's a great opportunity to integrate different communities by having people come from out of town and stay for a day or two. I look forward to seeing how it will turn out."