Fifth Third Arena renovations are reportedly on schedule, meaning that University of Cincinnati basketball should return to the venue next year.
As part of an $87-million overhaul, Fifth Third Arena is being modernized in a way that should improve the fan and player experiences. The scope of the renovation required the venue to close for an extended period of time, forcing the Cincinnati Bearcats programs that use the facility to seek alternate homes while the project unfolded.
During a media tour this week, it was confirmed by athletic director Mike Bohn that the renovations remain on budget, and are still slated to be completed in time for next season. In the meantime, the amenities that fans can expect to see once Fifth Third Arena reopens are already drawing attracting some hype. More from The Cincinnati Enquirer:
“We’re very excited about the progress in our arena,” Bohn said. “We have been so impressed with the ways our fans have responded to being off-campus this season. As I tell people, we only have 11 more games to go until we have the opportunity to come home.”
Multiple enhancements will include two 360-degree concourses and permanent lower-level bowl with new padded chairback seating, and cup holders throughout most of the arena. Previously, several seats were angled away from the court and there were poor views from the upper decks. The arena opened in 1989.
A new upper-level concourse will include more restrooms and concession stands, and Bohn said a new overhead HD scoreboard will be added. There will be new premium seating options, including 16 suites and three exclusive club areas. A new outdoor HD videoboard also will be added. Skanska-Megen is the primary construction partner on the project.
The UC women’s basketball and volleyball teams, which also call Fifth Third Arena home, both have been playing most home games at St. Ursula Academy (East Walnut Hills) during this school year.
To accommodate the renovation schedule, the university’s men’s basketball program moved its 2017-18 home games to Northern Kentucky University’s BB&T Arena. That move was announced earlier this year.