Rebuild or Renovate

by - Radio Host -

Rebuild or Renovate

A few weeks ago I heard new Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich wanted explore the idea of building a new basketball coliseum instead of just adding a new basketball practice facility as planned. Clemson's board of trustees met this week to view the feasibility of building a new building.

There are a lot of questions that have to be answered. Where would you build it? How much would it cost? How would we pay for it? Would ticket prices go up? How many seats would it hold? How much revenue could be generated with signage and luxury boxes? How long would it take to build? How would this affect parking weekdays? How would it affect parking on football Saturdays?

If they decided to go ahead with the planned practice facility other questions arise. How much will it cost? What could you do to improve Littlejohn?

I raised the question to our listeners on my radio show this morning. I wanted to know what Clemson people thought. It should be of no surprise that the callers who chimed in were split. Some thought they should build a new arena. Others felt nothing was wrong with Littlejohn.

I usually don't sit on the fence but I am not sure about this subject. I like the idea of a new arena with a new feel. It would give the basketball program a fresh start.

On the other hand, I am concerned about the cost and I understand that a new arena does not necessarily mean better results.

The best arena in the ACC is John Paul Jones Arena is Charlottesville. Every coach and every member of the media I have talked to said this is the best in the league. It was built in 2006 for $131 million (or $151 million in 2013 dollars). The arena holds 14,593. This is a palace but has it really helped Virginia basketball? Here is the Cavs records since moving into JPJ Arena:

2006-07 21-11 Overall 11-5 ACC NCAA Tournament Bid

2007-08 17-16 5-11

2008-09 10-18 4-12

2009-10 15-16 5-11

2010-11 16-15 7-9

2011-12 22-10 9-7 NCAA Tournament Bid

2012-13 15-5 5-2

116-91 Overall 46-57 ACC

In the seven plus years in the nicest arena in the ACC Virginia has gone 116-91. In the ACC they are 11 games under .500. UVA has two NCAA tournament bids in those seven years.

Maybe it would be more fair to compare UVA basketball before and after, but is 46-57 in the ACC worth $131 million?

The nicest arena in our state is the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia. South Carolina built the 18,000 seat arena in 2002 for $65 million (or $84 million in 2013). Here is how the Gamecocks have done since moving into their new building:

2002-03 12-16 5-11

2003-04 22-11 8-8 NCAA

2004-05 20-13 7-9 NIT

2005-06 23-15 6-10 NIT

2006-07 14-16 4-12

2007-08 14-18 5-11

2008-09 21-10 10-6 NIT

2009-10 15-16 6-10

2010-11 14-16 5-11

2011-12 10-21 2-14

2012-13 12-8 2-5

177-160 overall 60-107 SEC

So the Gamecocks spent $65 million and went 60-107 in the SEC with one NCAA tournament appearance 10 years ago. Was one winning season in the SEC over the last 11 years worth it?

Maybe these are two bad examples. There are other examples of great arenas and great programs. However, there are examples of arenas worse than Littlejohn with better seasons.

Many say that Florida State has the worst coliseum in the ACC but the Seminoles won the ACC tournament last season. Miami is one of the worst arenas in the league but the Canes are 7-0 and atop the ACC this season.

The point is that great buildings don't always equal success and poor ones don't mean failure.

However, it would be nice to come to a new arena and build a new tradition of Clemson basketball.

In either case, this is a long and complicated decision. It is also one that Radakovich just went through at Georgia Tech, so I am more comfortable knowing he has recent experience in this type of decision.

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Post your comments!
Subject (Replies: 51) Author
spacer Mickey Plyler's Blog:
TigerNet News®
spacer rebuild it and re-name it!
spacer I thought it was named after the sherrif in Robinhood***
spacer No, Little John was RH's right hand man...The Sheriff of
CM Shack®
spacer RH Tig must be an old dude.***
spacer Waited a while to see what people think...
spacer Success with a new arena can't be measured only in wins
spacer Re: Success with a new arena can't be measured only in wins
spacer Re That makes no sense at all. A better fan experience can
spacer Re: Success with a new arena can't be measured only in wins
spacer Arena's aren't only used for basketball
spacer That's the game changer and supposedly Rad's specialty.***
spacer Why would a concert come to Clemson when the BiLo center
spacer Why not? I went to plenty of concerts in Clemson
spacer Sure some come but they are all "smaller venue" acts
spacer LIttlejohn and Big weekend concert in 1970...
spacer I was at that festival in Littlejohn
spacer Re-build, Renovate or.....
spacer Re: Re-build, Renovate or.....
spacer Re-build, Renovate or.....
spacer I agree 100%
spacer YES!!!
spacer Instead of Building a New Arena...Spend that $$$ on a Coach!***
spacer Re: Instead of Building a New Arena...Spend that $$$ on a Coach!***
spacer and we get what we pay for.................***
spacer Re: and we get what we pay for.................***
spacer If a new place is built, it will be around 8,000 seats.***
spacer Re: Instead of Building a New Arena...Spend that $$$ on a Coach!***
spacer If you are paying attention, we have a coach. Idiot.***
spacer Let's see
spacer Agaisnt a new building
spacer Re: Agaisnt a new building
spacer What is our record in Littlejohn
spacer Concessions
spacer There's nothing wrong with LJ. I would like to see them
spacer It's simple: re-build it as well as Kingsmore
Ridgeland Booster®
spacer Kingsmore is close
spacer Have I been gone so long? Didn't we JUST DO THAT?
spacer Re: Mickey Plyler's Blog:
spacer Re: Mickey Plyler's Blog:
spacer No...
spacer Its More Then "Just" A Basketball Arena....
spacer $131 million (or $151 million in 2013 dollars)
spacer renovate...when the jon starts rockin' its a great venue if
El Tigre 1
spacer This league is only going to get more difficult
spacer Never really thought of the Colonial Life Arena as
Filo Betto
spacer I still vote to permanently move Clemson basketball to Greenville.
Judge Keller®
spacer Students don't come now. Would not travel/bus to Greenville.***
spacer Re: Mickey Plyler's Blog:
spacer blow it up and build a newer/smaller arena
spacer Re: Mickey Plyler's Blog:
spacer Re: Mickey Plyler's Blog: