Chip: Time for Williams Arena teardown? Not if we get more Gophers games like Tuesday's.

BleedGopher

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Per Chip:

The dusty and cramped old Barn felt alive for a night, awoken from its slumber. Not fully awake. Too many seats remain unoccupied to understand completely why longtime Williams Arena lovers cling to it with such reverence and romanticism.

Tuesday night provided a glimpse of it though, a snapshot of what it used to be and still can be — and, boy, was it fun.

Williams Arena became a home-court advantage again, boisterous and disruptive in a way that played a factor in the Gophers' 59-56 win over Michigan State.


Big games have been too infrequent for the men's program for too many seasons, but this one qualified as a big game and Ben Johnson's team and the Barn rose to the occasion.

The student section was packed from front to back, aided by a jersey giveaway, which was a smart promotion because those young folks had a blast and made a difference with their voices.


Go Gophers!!
 




NateDawgUM

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The Barn is, roughly, the same age as Ohio Stadium, Michigan Stadium, Camp Randall and Memorial Stadiums in both Champaign and Lincoln.

I don't see anyone clamoring to tear those cathedrals down.

The Barn is Minnesota Basketball. Without it, we're just another mediocre Big Ten team in a cookie cutter arena. Tearing it down would be Metrodome 2.0.

Renovate, update, and get the old girl situated for the next 50 years.
 


Blizzard

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Apparently I'm just the contrarian voice. The Barn is a dump. It should have been replaced years ago.
 

Holy Man

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Apparently I'm just the contrarian voice. The Barn is a dump. It should have been replaced years ago.
Definitely contrarian. I’m told by people close to recruiting world that the charm of the arena is not often appreciated by recruits and is a hindrance so you’re not alone.

I’ve never been to Cameron or the Palestra. I wonder if those are dumps as well.
 

RockChalk

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Definitely contrarian. I’m told by people close to recruiting world that the charm of the arena is not often appreciated by recruits and is a hindrance so you’re not alone.

I’ve never been to Cameron or the Palestra. I wonder if those are dumps as well.
PHOG Allen Fieldhouse is not at 70+ years old. Been renovated 4 times. Has no box/club seats. Only has 5, I believe, sections with seat backs. It is a museum underneath the bleachers and far from new looking, funny what a little or a lot of paint will do. LOL
 




GoodasGold

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Definitely contrarian. I’m told by people close to recruiting world that the charm of the arena is not often appreciated by recruits and is a hindrance so you’re not alone.

I’ve never been to Cameron or the Palestra. I wonder if those are dumps as well.
Most recruits, much like Blizzard, have all their taste in their mouths. But they’re young. They simply need to be educated and guided to appreciate the classic architectures offered them. Yes, Cameron and the Palestra are dumps; classic, historical dumps that are ideal venues for enjoying a basketball game.
 

TwistingMyMelon

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I’ve never been to Cameron or the Palestra. I wonder if those are dumps as well.

If you're talking about the Penn Palestra in Philadelphia, I haven't been there since the late seventies but it was a wonderful old arena. Cozy and not a bad seat in the house! What they did back then was great for Philly basketball. The Big Five (Villanova, La Salle, Temple, St. Joes, and Penn) played most of their home games there and most nights would be a double header where you'd see two big five games. That resulted in higher attendance and louder crowd. The local high school championships typically were played there too.
 

Bad Gopher

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I was going to chime in in the other arena thread, but then this one popped up. Parker Fox, in the post-game press conference, talked lovingly about Williams Arena. I would say that the narrative of the building being a detriment with recruits and young people in general may have some truth to it but is far from universal.
 




NateDawgUM

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I asked ChatGPT to give me the arenas of the top 25 (it missed that Baylor opened a new arena this season). Not exactly teeming with new buildings.

  1. UConn - Gampel Pavilion, opened in 1990
  2. Purdue - Mackey Arena, opened in 1967
  3. North Carolina - Dean Smith Center, opened in 1986
  4. Kansas - Allen Fieldhouse, opened in 1955
  5. Houston - Fertitta Center, originally Hofheinz Pavilion opened in 1969, renovated and reopened as Fertitta Center in 2018
  6. Tennessee - Thompson-Boling Arena, opened in 1987
  7. Marquette - Fiserv Forum, opened in 2018 (Note: Marquette does not own Fiserv Forum but plays most of its home games there)
  8. Arizona - McKale Center, opened in 1973
  9. Duke - Cameron Indoor Stadium, opened in 1940
  10. Illinois - State Farm Center, originally Assembly Hall, opened in 1963
  11. Wisconsin - Kohl Center, opened in 1998
  12. Auburn - Auburn Arena, opened in 2010
  13. Baylor - Ferrell Center, opened in 1988
  14. Iowa State - Hilton Coliseum, opened in 1971
  15. South Carolina - Colonial Life Arena, opened in 2002
  16. Alabama - Coleman Coliseum, opened in 1968
  17. Kentucky - Rupp Arena, opened in 1976
  18. Dayton - UD Arena, opened in 1969
  19. Creighton - CHI Health Center Omaha, opened in 2003 (Note: Creighton does not own CHI Health Center but plays its home games there)
  20. Florida Atlantic - FAU Arena, also known as The Burrow, opened in 1984
  21. BYU - Marriott Center, opened in 1971
  22. Utah State - Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, opened in 1970
  23. Texas Tech - United Supermarkets Arena, opened in 1999
  24. San Diego State - Viejas Arena, opened in 1997
  25. New Mexico - The Pit, officially named Dreamstyle Arena, opened in 1966
 

MNfootballfan

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Best part of Chip's article was the part about the ticket prices. Any upper deck ticket should be $25 max and behind the baskets should be $10-$15. Get people in the arena. Build new generations of fans.

I nostalgically think of Voshon Leonard, Townsend Orr, Arriel McDonald, etc like they are folk legends because I distinctly remember going to the games and watching with my family. We wouldn't go to a lot of games, maybe one non-conference game and one Big Ten game a year, but they are memories I hold and often think of when watching games on Big Ten Network with my son. For me to bring my family to a game it would be close to $500 if I bought through the U.
 


GoodasGold

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I asked ChatGPT to give me the arenas of the top 25 (it missed that Baylor opened a new arena this season). Not exactly teeming with new buildings.

  1. UConn - Gampel Pavilion, opened in 1990
  2. Purdue - Mackey Arena, opened in 1967
  3. North Carolina - Dean Smith Center, opened in 1986
  4. Kansas - Allen Fieldhouse, opened in 1955
  5. Houston - Fertitta Center, originally Hofheinz Pavilion opened in 1969, renovated and reopened as Fertitta Center in 2018
  6. Tennessee - Thompson-Boling Arena, opened in 1987
  7. Marquette - Fiserv Forum, opened in 2018 (Note: Marquette does not own Fiserv Forum but plays most of its home games there)
  8. Arizona - McKale Center, opened in 1973
  9. Duke - Cameron Indoor Stadium, opened in 1940
  10. Illinois - State Farm Center, originally Assembly Hall, opened in 1963
  11. Wisconsin - Kohl Center, opened in 1998
  12. Auburn - Auburn Arena, opened in 2010
  13. Baylor - Ferrell Center, opened in 1988
  14. Iowa State - Hilton Coliseum, opened in 1971
  15. South Carolina - Colonial Life Arena, opened in 2002
  16. Alabama - Coleman Coliseum, opened in 1968
  17. Kentucky - Rupp Arena, opened in 1976
  18. Dayton - UD Arena, opened in 1969
  19. Creighton - CHI Health Center Omaha, opened in 2003 (Note: Creighton does not own CHI Health Center but plays its home games there)
  20. Florida Atlantic - FAU Arena, also known as The Burrow, opened in 1984
  21. BYU - Marriott Center, opened in 1971
  22. Utah State - Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, opened in 1970
  23. Texas Tech - United Supermarkets Arena, opened in 1999
  24. San Diego State - Viejas Arena, opened in 1997
  25. New Mexico - The Pit, officially named Dreamstyle Arena, opened in 1966
There is no fucking way the Kohl Center belongs on that list. Anywhere!
 



MplsGopher

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The Barn is, roughly, the same age as Ohio Stadium, Michigan Stadium, Camp Randall and Memorial Stadiums in both Champaign and Lincoln.

I don't see anyone clamoring to tear those cathedrals down.

The Barn is Minnesota Basketball. Without it, we're just another mediocre Big Ten team in a cookie cutter arena. Tearing it down would be Metrodome 2.0.

Renovate, update, and get the old girl situated for the next 50 years.
Your sentiment here is obviously very popular.

I just wonder, when the rubber meets the road, if the cost vs what you’d actually be able to get out of trying to shoehorn modern amenities/concourses into it for that much money … will make leadership balk?
 

MplsGopher

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I asked ChatGPT to give me the arenas of the top 25 (it missed that Baylor opened a new arena this season). Not exactly teeming with new buildings.
There’s a difference between “not new” and “old”?
 

Holy Man

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Your sentiment here is obviously very popular.

I just wonder, when the rubber meets the road, if the cost vs what you’d actually be able to get out of trying to shoehorn modern amenities/concourses into it for that much money … will make leadership balk?
I’m pretty sure it’s not shoehorning. Modern amenities likely would be an add on in other areas. I’m not an architect but I’m told that the cost of new square footage in a building is about 3x that of renovated space.
 

CPTMidnight

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This is a nonsense discussion. Barn is fine as is, would be better with some basic renovation, we lose no recruits due to the barn, we would sell no additional tickets in a new venue, we would win no addl games in a new arena, and most people like the barn.

Wanna help the program - redirect the 100M that it would cost for a new arena into an annuity that yields 5% and take the 5M per year and hand it to pay players (Via NIL) an average of $384k per year for each of the 13 Scholarship players. Voila - instant top 5 program.
 

Holy Man

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This is a nonsense discussion. Barn is fine as is, would be better with some basic renovation, we lose no recruits due to the barn, we would sell no additional tickets in a new venue, we would win no addl games in a new arena, and most people like the barn.

Wanna help the program - redirect the 100M that it would cost for a new arena into an annuity that yields 5% and take the 5M per year and hand it to pay players (Via NIL) an average of $384k per year for each of the 13 Scholarship players. Voila - instant top 5 program.
It’s so easy! Hang a shingle as a consultant! 😂
 



short ornery norwegian

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the Barn's chief value is nostalgia.

as I have said before, you can remodel the interior to give it an "old-fashioned" feel. look at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. that is a smaller arena but the same thing could be done with more seats. I'll even endorse keeping the raised floor.

but for everything else, give me modern lobby and concourse space, concessions, bathrooms, etc - and easier access to the upper deck with no restricted-view seats or weird angles to the court.

just don't ask me where to find the money.
 

NateDawgUM

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Your sentiment here is obviously very popular.

I just wonder, when the rubber meets the road, if the cost vs what you’d actually be able to get out of trying to shoehorn modern amenities/concourses into it for that much money … will make leadership balk?

The brand identity of Minnesota Basketball is intertwined with Williams Arena. That is hard for an accountant or a consultant to quantify.

If Minnesota wants to change that identity, they better have a plan beside "moderately nice new building." We already know that a new facility is not a panacea.

I, personally, like old things. I live in a 450 year old apartment (it's very modern on the inside). Everything new has a pre-fab quality to it that decays quicker and this conversation in 30 years won't be pretty.
 

Otis

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If the Gophers somehow manage to win these next 2 games or even beat Iowa and make Purdue chew their fingernails, the current generation of Gopher fans just might get to see how special the barn can be!

A sold out Barn is an event!
 

GFBfan

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the Barn's chief value is nostalgia.

as I have said before, you can remodel the interior to give it an "old-fashioned" feel. look at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. that is a smaller arena but the same thing could be done with more seats. I'll even endorse keeping the raised floor.

but for everything else, give me modern lobby and concourse space, concessions, bathrooms, etc - and easier access to the upper deck with no restricted-view seats or weird angles to the court.

just don't ask me where to find the money.
The other value to the arena would be the acoustics. The crowd noise is amplified, even when the crowd is smaller. The MSU game sounded like there were 20,000+ people there.

I have to believe some firm can redesign the interior to get some open concourse space with better concessions, bathrooms and access to the upper deck, while also keeping the current structure. It will mean a loss of some seats, but should still be above 10K.
 




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