Sunday, July 1, 2007

Fun With Numbers

So it has come to the point where The Boy has to assign me things to write about for me to come up with stuff to write about. If there is anything else anyone else would like for me to write about, just let me know :-)

Fun With Numbers (Arena Style)
In the news this week was the University of Indiana, making news by committing to build a replacement to the 35-year old Assembly Hall. The site of many a Hoosier win, but of some of the oddest site-lines anywhere will be replaced in the coming years. It got "me" to thinking about the new arenas to hit the college basketball scene in the past couple of years (both local and national) and where Mizzou Arena stacked up to those.

Mizzou Arena

  • Completed in October 2004
  • Seats 15,061

  • 24 Private Suits

  • Price tag = $75 million

John Paul Jones Arena (UVA)

  • Completed in October 2006
  • Seats 15,219

  • 20 Private Suits

  • Price tag = $130 million

John Q Hammons Arena (SMS)
  • Set to be completed by November 2008

  • Seats approx. 11,000

  • 22 Private Suits

  • Price tag = $67 million

  • Additional Notes - current price tag does not include HOME LOCKER ROOMS (the NCAA mandates a new building have visitor locker rooms fortunately), a scoreboard, training rooms, offices and will not be of size to be able to host an NCAA Men's Tournament game.

Chaifetz Arena (SLU)

  • Set to be completed by Spring 2008
  • Seats approx. 10,600

  • 12 Private Suits

  • Price tag = $80.5 million

Mackey Arena (Purdue) Renovation

  • Hope to be completed in 2011

  • Seating would not change

  • No plans for private suite addition

  • Would be expanding concourses, adding concession stands and restrooms and student-athlete facilities

  • Price tag = $81 million

New Indiana University Arena

  • Hope to be completed "within the decade"

  • Seats approx. 18,000

  • No current detail of plans for private suits, but one should assume more than 20 at least

  • Price tag is initially $130-$160 million, but expected to come to $200 million

So....what can we learn from all of this?

Certainly yes, there are some other elements to each of these arenas that I did not go into. For instance, I believe built into the price of the JPJ Arena at UVA was some road improvement around the facility. I also cannot speak to exact size in terms of square footage and other space in and around the building. However, all things being relatively and perhaps comparably equal (assuming IU is at the top of the food chain, with Mizzou and UVA next, and then on down through SMS and SLU), here is what I surmised. But first, a word.

Back in the day, there was some discussion about the direction Mizzou was going to go when it came to a change in basketball venue. The Hearnes Center was coming up on 30 years old and needed some updating. Two plans came out, one was for a new building entirely, and the other called for renovating the inside of the Hearnes Center over two years (and likely shrinking the seating down to about 11,500), while also adding a small, Olympic facility that perhaps would seat 4,000 or so. The price tag on would be about 1/3 the cost of a new building (from memory, I could be somewhat wrong about that). At the time, I was a proponent of this plan for a couple of reasons.
  1. We were having a tough time selling out Hearnes Center as it was, 11,500 seemed like a more reasonable number for an arena to create some need and market for the seats.
  2. I liked the idea of a smaller venue for wrestling, volleyball, gymnastics and perhaps women's basketball, all of which were programs seeing a slow turn up in attendance. Would have created a REALLY nice home field advantage in those sports.
  3. I just liked the cheaper price
Back to the lecture at hand, I am really impressed by what the University, the state and the AD were able to accomplish with our venue. Obviously, the closest comparison is with UVA (ironic as we are their sister school) and the comparison is not even close. SLU looks to be getting a nice deal (built by my wife's employer Clayco Construction :-) and SMS just looks...well...I don't know. How you can aim to spend that type of money and not get home locker rooms and a scoreboard is entirely beyond me.

Anyway, just some thoughts as I wait for the laundry to finish drying and I watch cars turn left at a high rate of speed on television.