I will be really curious to see

What HY is envisioning for the BWA rework. We kinda know what Jeff Long had in mind but this ain’t Jeff Long.

More premium seats is a given, but does that mean fewer seats overall? Given what we’re doing with ticket sales this season, fewer seats might not be in the cards. Also will they retrofit to make it more adaptable for concerts, etc.?

We shall see anyway (if you missed it, HY discussed the BWA plans with the BOT this week, but no specifics).

Hopeful that HY is able to add premium seating without reducing the # of seats for students & for the general public. This upcoming season should provide some indication of attendance & seating needs.

With NWA’s rapid growth, continued success of the BB program, & perhaps the administration allowing UofA enrollment to grow to meet demand, expect that demand for BWA seating will also grow. We are already seeing changes in ticket options & demographics at Baum Stadium that accommodate wealthy donors & big $ ticket holders at the expense of many long time loyal fans who don’t have the $ for premium seating. Otherwise, anxious to see the upgrades to an already fabulous college BB venue.

The other thing about Baum is that we could sell probably 15,000 seats. And HY knows it. But he wants to maintain relative scarcity to keep the donor money coming in, and only add premium seats, such as the suites atop the Hunt Center. If there are enough regular seats that they have to open it up to non-donors, to an AD that’s too many. The Hog Pen is their concession to those of us with a shortage of commas in their checking account.

I could easily see replacing some of the upper deck seats they currently have trouble selling with clubs/suites. Or reconfigure more of the lower bowl into club areas. Or maybe both. But what will that do to total capacity?

As long as they are planning for the long term & donor money does not take too much precedence by overlooking a loyal fan base. For selfish reasons, would like to someday have the opportunity to attend most UofA games without breaking my bank account. Friends at KY complain about being priced out there.

Got a call today from a consultant working on it. They are asking donors/season ticket holders for thoughts and suggestions. Still very early in their thinking.

Two changes HY should consider making:

  1. BWA is a large place, but looks smaller on TV because you can’t see the upper level. Needs a little ambient light.
  2. The advertising banners shine a very bright reflection (usually yellow) on the floor during play. And, the banner is changing colors/text during play.
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I got a survey about BWA some time back and gave them my thoughts, such as they were. I’m thinking this was during basketball season. Questions included what kind of improvements I would like to see, and would those improvements prompt me to buy tickets (no, but because I live 1100 miles away).

Those LED banners are going to reflect on the floor no matter what. And I would not favor better lighting for the upper deck if it made the shooting background worse, which I suspect is why it’s rather dark up there.

I don’t have the floor plan so this may not be feasible but that gigantic “vomitory” in the center of the main side of the seating behind the scorer’s table is the dumbest design of any arena anywhere that I have ever seen. It really looks bad when the camera is on the announcing team discussing the game at halftime. Who gives up hundreds of prime location seats just to get someone or thing onto the court? Nobody but us. The teams don’t go there so what justifies the loss of those seats? There are multi-purpose arenas all over the world that can handle basketball, concerts, circuses, hockey rinks, etc. and they have seating close to the court on all four sides.

The great college arenas put the students close to the court, not the fatcat boosters. I hope they get rid of the folding chairs filled with old people on the side of the court and they tuck the boxes and the media into the middle of the seating surrounding the court but let the everyday fan pack it in for that intense homecourt advantage. Letting the best seats be filled with rich old people sitting on their hands is a mistake. They are now doing that at Baum and it will be just as big of a mistake if they do it in the new design at the Bud. JMVHO

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Actually I think the visitors come out of that vomitory. And when BWA opened the Hogs did too; coming out behind the basket came later, possibly because they decided having both teams use the same access is not such a great idea.

If you look at hockey arenas, though, the central vomitory is quite common. Note in the Montreal NHL arena:

Fat cats are paying for those primo seats. At Duke it doesn’t matter because the place is so small anyway; they just let the students ring the court and the fat cats still have great seats. But a lot of places put the students behind a basket, or in the upper deck, or both. Kentucky puts all the students behind one basket, for instance. North Carolina puts them at the back of a lower bowl section on the sideline, behind one basket, and also upstairs.
And our media, IIRC (unless they’ve moved them again) are all in one corner.

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Actually, Hogmodo is right. The visitors used to come out of the “vomitory” when I was there, but now they come out and leave behind the same basket we do. I’m not sure why. I liked it better the old way, particularly in a heated game.

When they put in the court side seats, that exit became the entry for those ticket holders. They have a lounge area back there. The exit has been there since the arena has been built. For those that complain from time to time about the “lack” of lighting in the arena, it was designed that way for a type of theater effect. Texas used to do their lighting that way, and Frank always wanted to have BWA as “fancy” as the Erwin Center. I sat in the Erwin Center during a tournament game, and you were in the dark in the upper deck. The Lakers use that same lighting system, first at The Forum, and now at Staples Center. The Clippers play in the same building, but they have the whole arena lit up. When the Razorbacks are doing their early shoot around, before the actual warmups, the whole arena is lit up, they actually turn the lights down as it gets closer to game time.

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Yeah I’ve sat in the upper deck at the Erwin Center (Syracuse 1995) and noticed that with the lighting.

I also sat on press row for a game in BWA’s first season and that midcourt vomitory was the media entrance/exit as well as the teams. I suspect the old media work room is now the lounge for the Gucci crew at court side.

I was on the bench, Syracuse 95, and I can confirm that, no matter how you light it, The Drum is a dump. The fans were awful to us, and we were thrilled to give them a big middle finger on our way to KC. The thing that I will always remember is Coach Richardson kissing Lee Wilson on his forehead after he played like Shaq for the first (and only) time.

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The hogs have always come out from behind the basket at BWA. I was a freshman when BWA opened and we always sat in the first or second row of the student section behind the basket. I skipped too many classes that year getting in line early to get those seats. The team definitely came out there.

I don’t know how they can add more premium seating options without reducing “regular” seating. Upgrades for everyone would most likely come to the concourse.

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One possibility that comes to mind would be a ring of suites around the current upper deck. Which would require raising the roof and a few other adjustments, but it is possible. Not likely, but possible.

I don’t about this year, or since Muss was hired, but there have been suites available in basketball for the years before he was hired. I got a call and email every year if I wanted one, haha. I think club seating/loge boxes is their aim on premium seating in a redo.

I think they will extend the suites, under the upper level, out to make them deeper or to make them two levels instead of one. That will reduce the seating for everyday folks. They will probably renovate the concourse, concessions, etc. Maybe they will move the restrooms into “bump outs” on the concourse level and convert where they were “on the concourse” into more concessions. I don’t know what they can do on the bottom level to make it nicer but that is probably in the cards. Raising the roof or tearing out the upper level seating tiers and building a new one are not “adjustments”. Stuff like that will get you to the point that it is cheaper to build a new one and tear Baum down. I suspect they won’t do that. Besides, this renovation needs to be complete in no more than nine months so major structural changes are not going to be included. No way the Hogs play in Barnhill instead and give up huge ticket sales.

Now that they have their practice facility, they can, if they may want to, replace the folding bleachers with permanent ones. The folding stadium chairs are not as nice as the permanent ones. (They may not do this because the folding bleachers gives them a bigger concert or Walton Rally floor.) No way you waste stadium chairs on the students or the band. You want students packed to the gills stomping on bench seating, not sitting down with armrests. When they take away everyday folks capacity, they need to expand the student seating capacity. Not too much. You want it to always be a “hot ticket” that only the rabid students have the time to get in line for. I would also put the media along the nose of the upper level on the scorer’s table side so they are out of sight when games are broadcast. They can give them a table hanging on the railing for their laptops, they will always be seated, and won’t block the view of the fans behind them. Expand the students into their current seating area. Make that “end zone” where the visitor shoot free throws in the second half an “all student” seating area. They can line the vomitory sides with cops when the visitors come and go. Huge boost to our home court advantage. They need to move the band into the corner by the home bench like at old Barnhill. Encourage them and their director to “go Robken” and get creative, putting on a show for the fans. Let them wear Hawaiian shirts, sunglasses, crazy hats. Use a smaller “pep band” size and let the band students compete to get on it. Creativity to the max.

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Students have been the main culprits the past several years in not buying up the available seating, or at least using it. They’re going to lower the capacity some, this has been inevitable for several years, and a couple of much better seasons is not going to change the fact that people don’t go to midweek games that often, especially in November or December, unless it’s a really big name opponent. Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida have all lowered their capacity when they remodeled, and they had better attendance numbers as far as percentage of being filled than we have now. Even if we lower it down to 16-17 thousand, it’s still going to be larger than any arena in the Big 12 or Big 10.

The band was in the opposite corner of the building in Barnhill from the home bench.

A new place today would be $100+ million easily. Possibly well over $200M. Louisville’s arena cost $238 million. The new Texass arena is pushing $400M. I didn’t say raising the roof would be cheap, but it is possible, and I don’t think it would cost $250M.

If I had to guess, I’d say they’ll:

  • Do more suites or club seats in place of part of the upper deck along the sidelines.

  • Put some club/loge seating downstairs.

  • As part of the lower bowl revision, make it more concert friendly.

  • Rework the concourses.

Where does all of that put the students? No idea. The band is already in a corner, just not the one you suggest. They seem to like to put the students with the band but that’s not essential (didn’t in Barnhill for instance).