Jacobs Column - Do You Agree | The Boneyard

Jacobs Column - Do You Agree

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I am old school. I believe that when school is in session, home games should be on campus. There are a number of home games during school breaks that can be played elsewhere.

I would rather treat the UConn teams as an important part of the campus life than as merely a cash cow and boost for metropolitan areas. But...that may not be dealing with the reality of big-time college sports.
 
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I have felt that the reason that UConn is playing at Bridgeport and the Mohegan is for all the negative embarrassing qualities of the XL Center and probably the prices they charge to UConn for their games. I remember meeting some of the women UConn family members a few years ago near the ladies rooms and they had said to me " I can not believe how horrible the bathrooms, food , etc are for the games". I really didn't know what to say because they were. I know there have been a number of changes this year but I personally go to Gampel. I haven't been to the XL Center in two years. I live in Newington and find it's easier to ride to Gampell (35 minutes) for me than go to the center of Hartford and wait for 30 minutes to get out of the parking garages and then wait to get into the facility in a line because they open an hour before and late usually. The Mohegan is an hour and a few minutes drive for me. Bridgeport is out of my range. I highly doubt anything will be done with the XL Center. They will get their 3 or 4 games like old times and Bridgeport and the Mohegan will get 3 or 4. I think the days of the attendance over 16,000 is done. The XL Center is a dinosaur.
 
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Also I love Gampel and agree there is nothing better than a game on campus. Years ago when we would put 16,200 people into the XL Center for a UConn Tenn matchup that was awesome, but the attendance started to drop Diana's senior year. Now I say use Gampel. Eventually they will have to upgrade but there is nothing like the campus. I can not believe that it's December 23rd and only one game has been played in front of the students. That is ludicrous.
 

pinotbear

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I think that the article makes for very worthwhile discussion, and that all the comments in the thread thus far have added to it. Basically, the "home" schedule has been an on-campus/off-campus patchwork for years, and that aspect has only increased. The article makes pretty clear the reasons - declining attendance/popularity of the XL venue has brought smaller venues (Bridgeport/Mohegan) into play, as has the limitations of Gampel.

The article, to me, is saying "it's time to fish or cut bait. We need a first-rate facility, be it in Hartford or Storrs, but, we need one. It's time."

If I could wave a magic wand, I'd go with the "new and improved" Gampel. This is a university sports program, and having a true on-campus home court would be wonderful. I do think the notion of using "satellite" home venues during academic recesses has merit, if it is determined that is in the best interests of the University.

Obviously, there are two aspects to this decision beyond that of "good ol' homestate U, boola-boola". One is money, both is terms of costs and revenue. The second is conference realignment. Right now, with the football program trying to re-establish itself as significant, UConn's "best foot forward" is its' domination of college basketball in recent years. The new training/development center is a wonderful step in maintaining basketballs' significance. An upgraded home court would do the same.
 

huskeynut

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This is a serious discussion that needs to take place.

Even with the face lift, the XL Center is a dated facility. If the XL is to be relevant, it needs a complete re-do. Gut it to the shell and start again. And in many cases, the same can be said for Gampel.

Living in Fairfield County, the XL is our choice for tickets. We can get there in under 60 minutes. Gamble takes us at least 90+ minutes. And the bench seats are a nightmare.

Mohegan is a very good venue. We were there last year for the AAC tournament. Seating is very good as is line of sight.

So what's the answer - I don't know. I guess my first choice would be to totally renovate Gampel, add another 5,000 seats - NOT BENCHES - and play all the games, men and women and hockey there. But given the mentality of this state that probably won't happen. Its all about the politics and the money!
 

meyers7

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Personally I like the games at the XL. It's very easy to get into and out of for me. But I don't get to that many games each year anyway, so it doesn't really matter.
 
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This is a serious discussion that needs to take place.

Even with the face lift, the XL Center is a dated facility. If the XL is to be relevant, it needs a complete re-do. Gut it to the shell and start again. And in many cases, the same can be said for Gampel.
The only way to get a complete redo of the XL Center is for another big snow storm to cave the room in again, like in '78... ;)
 

KnightBridgeAZ

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Unfortunately, the reality of college sports - in general - and the world we live in as well - means that the costs to renovate or redo an on-campus facility are huge.

Arizona is actually doing it, with Phase 1 just wrapping up. Eventually, there will be a phase 2. Phase 1 upgraded locker rooms, replaced the existing seats and moved the entrance "tunnel" for the home team( which added 150 more seats making capacity 14,700). New concession stands, new entrances at the upper levels, etc. Part of the problem (and I expect to be addressed in Phase 2) with McKale is that you enter through office corridors and prime restrooms are office restrooms. What made this all practical is that football moved out of the facility and into their own building attached to the football stadium.

Costs - New Football Facility - $72 million, Phase 1 renovation of McKale Center - $29.9 million, anticipated cost of phase 2 - over $50 million.

Although not a huge part of how the cost was offset, men's basketball season ticket holders had a one time "surcharge" added to their tickets this year, unfortunately I forget the amount.
 
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This is a serious discussion that needs to take place.

Even with the face lift, the XL Center is a dated facility. If the XL is to be relevant, it needs a complete re-do. Gut it to the shell and start again. And in many cases, the same can be said for Gampel.

Living in Fairfield County, the XL is our choice for tickets. We can get there in under 60 minutes. Gamble takes us at least 90+ minutes. And the bench seats are a nightmare.

Mohegan is a very good venue. We were there last year for the AAC tournament. Seating is very good as is line of sight.

So what's the answer - I don't know. I guess my first choice would be to totally renovate Gampel, add another 5,000 seats - NOT BENCHES - and play all the games, men and women and hockey there. But given the mentality of this state that probably won't happen. Its all about the politics and the money!
The leaders of our state would rather have a busway!!!
 

Gate81

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Not being a local, I couldn't read the whole article. But I will add in general that going on campus is great when there is a nice facility. I currently live in the Bay area and Maples Pavillion at Stanford is great because you have nice facilities plus the campus feel. UConn should definitely go for it. I have attended a game at Mohegan Sun, which nice, still doesn't have the campus aura...and Hartford/Bridgeport -- only if there is absolutely no way you can accommodate the desired numbers at UConn.
 

Waquoit

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The leaders of our state would rather have a busway!!!
The busway is going to be a surprisingly successful. And it is not easier to go to a game in Storrs than Hartford from Newington. That's silly.
 
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This is a serious discussion that needs to take place.

Even with the face lift, the XL Center is a dated facility. If the XL is to be relevant, it needs a complete re-do. Gut it to the shell and start again. And in many cases, the same can be said for Gampel.

Living in Fairfield County, the XL is our choice for tickets. We can get there in under 60 minutes. Gamble takes us at least 90+ minutes. And the bench seats are a nightmare.

Mohegan is a very good venue. We were there last year for the AAC tournament. Seating is very good as is line of sight.

So what's the answer - I don't know. I guess my first choice would be to totally renovate Gampel, add another 5,000 seats - NOT BENCHES - and play all the games, men and women and hockey there. But given the mentality of this state that probably won't happen. Its all about the politics and the money!
I try to be tolerant of of the bench seats at Gampel. For the women our group has moved on to chair backs that even though we are higher up it's well worth it. Even my 24 year old son complained about the discomfort of bench seating. My men's seats are bench seats but I did manage to get aisle seats that make it a bit more comfortable. Webster is a nice facility but ticket prices are more than double season ticket per game prices. Once a season is enough. Parking price is another rip off unless you take a 15 minute walk to the local garages near the train station that are less than half the arena parking price. XL is what is. Once you get past the first 10 rows of the upper level the sight lines leave much to be desired. I can't help but think the new bar behind the basket must get packed with people from the nose bleed seats who want a better view.
 
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The busway is going to be a surprisingly successful. And it is not easier to go to a game in Storrs than Hartford from Newington. That's silly.
I hope it's successful. That's quite an investment if it's not. I would like to have seen a rail line instead of or along with the busway. On the other issue Storrs is a tough commute
especially for those of us coming from the southern part of the state during the week. I know working people down here who don't even think about trying to get to a Gampel game unless it's the weekend.
 

msf22b

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The bench seats at Gampel are an embarrassment.
Surely, it wouldn't cost a fortune to replace them.

As far as the XL, I have a hard time understanding what everybody is bellyaching about.
Yeah, the wait at the the enclosed parking lot is a joke after games…solution: park somewhere else.

It's a sports facility for goodness sake, it's not your dining room; you're not sleeping there (hopefully)
You're not even having your wedding there; just watching a BB game.
It seems perfectly adequate for that.
You don't like the food…who goes to an athletic event to buy gourmet food?
Not me.
I smuggle in a sandwich or something.

The government in CT has much more important things to spend its money on than joining the grand luxe stadium parade.
And by the way
If they do;
Ticket and parking prices will go through the roof (see Yankee Stadium)
and then folks will have something real to bellyache about.
I absolutely refuse to spend a fortune on tickets I used to buy for a buck, 25 as a kid.

As a sometime, occasional Yankee supporter, if I want to see a game or 2,
I organize an outing to Baltimore
Have a splendid Crab Cakes lunch at G &M in Linthicum Heights
And still save plenty; lunch, tix, gas, tolls…compared to Stadium tickets.
 
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Biff

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The bench seats at Gampel are an embarrassment.
Surely, it wouldn't cost a fortune to replace them.
I'm not going to reply to your entire post (even though I have opinions on the XL) but just add a response/comment to the quoted issue above:

The term"fortune" is nebulous and non-specific and had a different meaning to different people. But I think the notion is erroneous that putting in chairs with seat-backs (presumably equivalent or similar to those in the rest of the arena) in the bench sections of Gampel is "simple" (inexpensive etc.). If you look at the construction of Gampel, the rows/tiers of the facility are all based on concrete structure. This becomes critical to the problem when you realize that in order to put in seat-back chairs, the pitch (spacing) of the rows would have to significantly increase. That means that all that concrete in the bench areas would need to be jack-hammered out and new concrete formed in a whole new set of rows/spacing. (Probably means the steps all need to be re-done too). So replacing the benches with seats, I believe is a relatively "costly" proposition.

So when you are done with the new seating you lose seats due to increased width of each seat and reduced rows. I once speculated with some primitive math that the capacity would be reduced by 1000-1500 seats but I did not keep my logic and calcs so don't ask me to reproduce it now...I can't. I had done it after one visit there and eyeballing the seating in both the bench areas and chair-back areas ans doing some simple math.

What you are left with then after paying a fair bill for the "upgrade" is less capacity and probably less revenue unless you of course raise the ticket prices (which would probably happen).

Gampel in unfortunately too much of a compromise of a building and I truly feel that in the end a new structure would be a more efficient solution (but I don't really see that as much of a possibility in the foreseeable future). :-(

Anyway that's why I think the ripping out of the benches in not going to happen......but I'd be pleased as punch if it did.
 

Joobie

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My pipe dream would be to have a bigger, better facility on campus that can hold as many people as the XL Center. UCONN students deserve that!
 
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Lord I feel old!
My on-campus experience as a student was at the old Field House. Students crammed onto wooden bleachers and most of the crowd was students! Very primitive. But that place rocked during a close game:D
 
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Lord I feel old!
My on-campus experience as a student was at the old Field House. Students crammed onto wooden bleachers and most of the crowd was students! Very primitive. But that place rocked during a close game:D
You just reminded me of another thing I don't like about games at Webster and Mohegan no student section. I know they hold these games during semester break but still with so many students from CT why not offer 500 tickets at reduced prices at each venue. Students create a great atmosphere and it is their team!
 
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I totally agree with the posts that are looking for a better campus venue and a majority of the games on campus. The comments about 'campus feel' and the horrid bench seats are spot on. There's no replacing the atmosphere of the campus. Unfortunately it seems UConn had drifted from doing that. With football off campus and more and more men and women's basketball now going off campus it's now become a bottom line battle. That's a battle that the off-campus venues will continue to win and students and dedicated fans will loose out to.

Now that the bottom line is more important, the ticket prices continue to go up. Look at the prices to the games at Bridgeport? I get it that they billed it as an opportunity to see our teams down in the Southern part of the state, but come on, the tickets, parking and food costs at the arena were exorbitant. A $20 ticket on campus or XL became $45 and more in Bridgeport. Parking doubled. So, we pay it once a year, but I'm going to think twice next year. Same goes for Mohegan, but at least the parking is free, yet the distance makes up for the free parking.

I'm a die hard fan, just like all the Boneyarder's. But, I'll reach a point where I'll watch it at home and forego the rising costs. If the school is out to maximize the upside of what the team can draw then we will all loose out. I guess the fact that as Connecticut resident we don't pay enough in taxes to support the school? They want to gouge us on ticket prices and make us jack-___ all over the state to see 'home' games. We'll see? Already, the two games at Bridgeport saw a slight drop in attendance by a few hundred. Let Ward and the brain trust continue to the play that game and let's see what twice as many games does to the attendance? I'm frustrated over what I've read about what Geno and Ward have said about the quality of fans at Bridgeport and Mohegan. I didn't feel it was any better, but if in their minds it was, then we're in for trouble.
 
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UCONN and the team deserve a facility on campus comparable to the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State.
No spitting match here IB but as a state school in a broke state I doubt they could get something on campus that would have to be rented. That would result in every game played during the season men and women paying rent. It is done now off campus hoping for higher ($$$) results but to expect every game of the season to cover the cost would be a losing proposition.
Again no bashing your idea here but this is strawberries vs lemons. Penn State has Beaver Stadium right across the street with a football team that drives the bus. We are still waiting for that secenario.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryce_Jordan_Center
Here is another area folks can look and not find UCONN....Yet...Maybe someday...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colleges_and_universities_in_the_United_States_by_endowment

We are between a rock and hard place of major proportions with world class teams and second class venues. That and getting to them for many. A small state with major traffic problems. The fact our woman's conference tournament has to be played at a casino explains it all...
Just say'n...
 
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No spitting match here IB but as a state school in a broke state I doubt they could get something on campus that would have to be rented. That would result in every game played during the season men and women paying rent. It is done now off campus hoping for higher ($$$) results but to expect every game of the season to cover the cost would be a losing proposition.
Again no bashing your idea here but this is strawberries vs lemons. Penn State has Beaver Stadium right across the street with a football team that drives the bus. We are still waiting for that secenario.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryce_Jordan_Center
Here is another area folks can look and not find UCONN....Yet...Maybe someday...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colleges_and_universities_in_the_United_States_by_endowment

We are between a rock and hard place of major proportions with world class teams and second class venues. That and getting to them for many. A small state with major traffic problems. The fact our woman's conference tournament has to be played at a casino explains it all...
Just say'n...
The traffic thing is a big problem. I think Penn State has two highways running through its campus or at least very nearby and then other major local roads that feed in, so the school may be 3 hours away from any major city in the middle of nowhere but it's still 1000x more accessible than Storrs which is not far from a bunch of cities. Other much bigger schools in nowheresville have a similar set up to Penn State. There are usually easily accessible interstates and if not major state roads that can handle capacity, but that may come because a lot of these schools are small cities unto themselves, unlike UConn which still feels more like a commuter school than a major state university. Getting to UConn is like getting to Newport where you get off the interstate then you have to wind your way down to your destination on local roads.
 
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Completely ignoring the financial aspects of the discussion, the university and the state blew it with off-campus athletic facilities. It is a university. Students attend the university. Going to an on-campus game is part of the student experience. And don't get me going about the schools approach to the student sections.

If this is only about the Benjamins, and you aren't taking care of the students who attend the university, don't expect them to pony up for the endowment when they haven't had the campus experience of a place like Duke, for example.

Just say in'.
 
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UCONN and the team deserve a facility on campus comparable to the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State.
I wholeheartedly agree. Yet, at Christmastime, I am grateful for the state of the art new Champions Training facility. It will continue to attract top recruits. Thank you Santa, and DONORS, for our recent new building! But you are absolutely correct; athletes, students and fans deserve something better in the future.
 
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