This fall, Fifth Third Arena will show off the results of an ongoing renovation project that has been taking place for more than a year.
Since last spring, the University of Cincinnati has been at work in its overhaul of Fifth Third Arena—home to the school’s basketball programs and volleyball team. The $87-million project represents a major upgrade to an arena that first opened in 1989 and will follow some of the latest trends in arena renovations.
When completed, the renovated Fifth Third Arena will offer several seating changes. Numerous areas of the arena will feature padded seating, while there will also be new premium options. To that end, Fifth Third Arena will feature 542 new club seats—with access to the Champions Club—along with loge box seating, and 16 luxury suites. Hospitality areas are also a major focus of the project, including bars on the 400 and 500 levels and three new exclusive club areas: the Arena Club, the Champions Club, and the Courtside Club.
With its mix of seating improvements in the bowl that will be noticeable to most fans and overhauls to exclusive areas, Fifth Third Arena’s change will cover a wide spectrum. The renovations also affect other areas, including access—two 360-degree concourses are in the works—and lead to an open entrance plaza.
Another point of emphasis for the renovation is technology. The video displays within Fifth Third Arena are set for significant changes, as Cincinnati is installing a new HD scoreboard and ribbon boards. With an outdoor HD videoboard also planned, the video display upgrades will extend to the exterior of the arena. Changes to the video technology will be complimented by some other improvements, including a new sound system and LED lighting.
Most major arena renovations at the college level address player facilities in addition to fan amenities. Cincinnati is following that idea with some changes to its player areas, headlined by new men’s and women’s locker rooms. There are other amenities planned as well, including a team dining room, film room, players’ lounge, and a sports medicine facility. New classroom space is also planned as part of the renovation.
The renovations have required some careful planning on the University of Cincinnati’s part, both for where to place its programs while construction unfolds and when the venue will reopen. Fifth Third Arena has been closed since renovations since last spring, meaning that the men’s basketball program had to relocate to Northern Kentucky University’s BB&T Arena for its 2017-18 season. Women’s basketball and volleyball, meanwhile, both shifted home games to St. Ursula Academy.
As for when Fifth Third Arena will reopen, it appears that the project continues at a pace that will allow the improvements to be unveiled this fall. Last month, the University of Cincinnati announced three men’s basketball home dates, including the November 7 matchup against Ohio State that will reopen the newly renovated arena. Also announced were contests against Xavier and UCLA on December 8 and December 19, respectively.
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