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June 29, 2007

Auburn building $92 million Basketball Arena and Practice Facility


Auburn has finally approved plans to build a new arena for basketball. It won't open til the 2010-2011 season. Per, the project includes:
The plan calls for a basketball-only arena, including practice facilities, offices, dressing rooms, luxury suites and seats close to the floor. Athletic director Jay Jacobs said the tentative plan is for 9,600 seats, some 900 fewer than Beard-Eaves.

It would be the SEC's second-smallest arena, ahead of Mississippi's Tad Smith Coliseum, which seats 8,700.
Auburn is issuing around $60 million in municipal bonds to pay for part of the construction. A series of questions comes to mind upon learning that fact:
    1. What kind of person buys stock in Auburn? That's like investing in an asbestos wholesaler or short-selling Exxon. If Bobby Lowder dies or gets pissed and writes Auburn out of his will, they won't be able to pay.

    2. Where's the $60 million going to come from? After paying Saban, there's no money left in the State of Alabama system.

    3. If they try selling naming rights, who are they going to call? John Deere? Natural Light? Skoal?
Regardless, it's a price tag that I never thought Auburn would have the stomach for.

As it relates to UGA:
  • Our new practice facility for basketball will soon have its grand opening. We spent $30 million on the project. Chip Towers took a tour recently, and he said that it's amazing. I walked around it two weeks ago, and I'm thrilled with the progress.

  • There is no announced time table for renovating Stegeman. However, Auburn and Ole Miss were tied for the most rancid, disgusting hoops arenas in the SEC. While the practice facility is amazing, we're right there with Miss State and Bama for the next most sucky arena. If AU is upgrading, that raises the expectations for us, and I think the pressure is on Damon to produce a timeline.

  • There is no chance that we will build a new arena. First, there's no new place to put it on UGA owned property. Second, we just built the practice facility and a new parking deck right next to Stegeman. Why would we move the arena elsewhere? Third, tearing it down and building on the same spot would probably double or triple the cost and we'd be playing hoops in Gwinnett for 4 or 5 years if we started over on the same spot. I'd wager that an aggressive renovation could happen for $30-40 million, and you wouldn't even recognize the place. Plus, we'd only have to play in Gwinnett for two years.

  • I do like the idea of building a smaller arena for Auburn. South Carolina and Tennessee both built arenas far too large for their needs, and the massive number of empty seats is sort of an anchor on the program. If we renovate, I hope we don't go over 12k or so. I'd rather have a packed house and a waiting list than empty seats.
See Also:
-- AU plan clears last hurdle - Huntsville Times
-- AU's new gym - Press Register



Anonymous said...

Naming rights? I have just 5 words:

Alabama Manufactured Housing Association Arena

Why not? It'll probably be the first modular construction basketball facility in America. Granted, the idea of putting a first class basketball arena in Auburn, AL is a fascinating concept, not unlike giving iPhones to the Tasaday.

No word on when they plan on bringing their football stadium into the 21st century. There really is no reason to update it beyond 1983, given the regular patrons obvious fondness for bad music by Survivor and the mullet hairstyle.

The over and under on Auburn fans planting for sale signs in Ears' front yard after his first loss to Saban is 12 hours, by the way. I'm taking the under.

Anonymous said...

12? Shoot.. I'd take the under if you gave me 2 hours.

Anonymous said...

I made it 12 hours because if it's an afternoon game, I wouldnt think even Barners would be so bold as to start planting for sale signs without the late night cover of darkness. Consider this the early line, so to speak. It's subject to being reset as game time approaches, kickoff time is set, weather and injury conditions are taken into account, and most importantly, where all the money is going.

If Auburn fans stay true to form, the over and under number could be down to 15 minutes by game day.

(This is the kind of quality analysis you usually only get in Las Vegas)

JasonC said...

Actually, if you are from Alabama or know anything about south Alabama, you will know that RSA (Retirement Services of Alabama) build and own everything. If memory serves me, it's the people who hand all the pensions for teachers and govt employees. They have at least 2 towers in Munt'gumry and another new one in Mobile. I think they also own the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Of course, it could be an arena built of plywood and have a giant yella label on it.

Jim Wood said...

PWD - I replied to your email last week and again last night. Let me know if you didn't get the replies.

Anonymous said...

How will they fund this? Easy. They will simply charge more for their diplomas...

Anonymous said...

Its not 60 million, as you mentioned! Its 92.5 million! Way to go Auburn!

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