Several notable college basketball arenas closed for the 2017-18 season, allowing for major renovations to take place. As a result, some programs played home games in alternate venues last season.
With the 2018-19 season approaching, construction work at those arenas is wrapping up. That will allow several programs to not only return to their homes for the upcoming season, but also showcase some significant facility improvements. We take a look at notable NCAA arena re-openings for the 2018-19 college basketball season.
Fertitta Center (University of Houston)
Formerly known as Hofheinz Pavilion, this facility is receiving a significant overhaul and a new name. While the renovation will follow certain trends by improving areas such as video technology and team facilities, the project will also result in unique fan amenities. That includes club seating, BarcaLoungers, and loge and terrace seating. The arena originally opened in 1969 and is getting a new name after a gift from billionaire Tilman Fertitta. Houston is scheduled to debut the results of this $60-million renovation on December 1, when men’s basketball hosts Oregon.
Fifth Third Arena (University of Cincinnati)
As the result of an $87-million project, Fifth Third Arena (shown above) will feature several new amenities. The renovations include the addition of new premium seating, along with two 360-degree concourses, upgraded video displays, new hospitality areas, improved team facilities, and more. Response to the renovations appears to be positive, as Cincinnati has reportedly experience a high number of ticket sales for men’s basketball leading up to this season. After spending last season at Northern Kentucky University’s BB&T Arena, Cincinnati men’s basketball will reopen Fifth Third Arena with a game against Ohio State on November 7.
Finneran Pavilion (Villanova University)
Through a $60-million renovation, Finneran Pavilion will receive several improvements. That includes a relocated and renovated main entrance, along with new seating, a 360-degree concourse, new clubs and premium areas, and technology improvements such as upgraded Wi-Fi and new audio and video systems. The name Finneran Pavilion is in honor of alumnus William B. Finneran, following his $22.6 million gift to the project.
Welsh-Ryan Arena (Northwestern University)
To create a more modern and intimate gameday experience, Northwestern has made significant changes to Welsh-Ryan Arena. When it reopens this fall, the arena will feature a reduced capacity from 8,117 to roughly 7,000, the result of new seating throughout the facility. New premium areas are also on tap, along with widened concourses, an expanded lobby, upgraded concession and restroom facilities, new locker rooms, and more. To accommodate construction on the $110 million-plus overhaul, men’s basketball played its home games last season at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL. Welsh-Ryan Arena will reopen in November.
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