Friday Q&A: January 24, 2014

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1) What is your timeframe and vision for the next hoops arena?

Chris Coleman: Jim Weaver said back in November that he thought Cassell Coliseum has 10 years of shelf life remaining. I don’t know whether the new administration will agree with that, but let’s pretend they do. If that’s the case, then planning for a new arena isn’t too far down the road. Obviously the new administration has to be hired and in place first, but that’s coming.

Let’s take a look at the most recent arenas built for power conference teams. I’m not including off-campus arenas that were built by cities, such as Nebraska’s new Pinnacle Bank Arena, or the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. I’m also going to list the cost in 2014 dollars, rather than the amount that was originally spent.

Matthew Knight Arena, Oregon: Oregon’s new arena cost $236 million to build in 2011. Its state of the art, and it seats over 12,000 fans. Of course, the Ducks also have Nike money behind them, so they can build whatever they want.

Auburn Arena, Auburn: The Tigers built a new arena that seats 9,121 fans back in 2010. It cost $98.5 million. The arena also includes coaches’ offices, the Auburn ticket office, two practice courts, a weight room, and an athletic museum. Tech doesn’t need the ticket office, practice courts, etc., so they could potentially get away with building an arena of a similar size for less money.

John Paul Jones Arena, UVA: The Hoos built a beautiful new arena back in 2006 that seats over 14,000 fans. It cost $166 million, which is a decent price tag for an arena of that size. However, Tech doesn’t need an arena that seats 14,000 fans. Fans from Richmond, DC and the 757 can make it to Charlottesville easily, while it’s much more difficult for Tech fans to get to Blacksburg for 7pm games.

Galen Center, USC: The Trojans built the 10,258 seat Galen Center back in 2006 for a price of $170 million. USC got a donation of $50 million from the Galen family to build the arena. Tech doesn’t have any big time donors like that, so I think the size, scope and cost of the Galen Center is a little bit out of Tech’s range.

Mizzou Arena, Missouri: The Tigers have a 15,000 seat arena that was opened in 2004. The cost was $92.7 million. Missouri managed to keep the price down despite the large number of seats in the arena.