Shape For Renovated Fifth Third Arena Emerging

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Less than 24 hours after the first casual talk of Mick Cronin being a name for the Tennessee opening the University of Cincinnati has at least a general plan in hand for what a renovated Fifth Third Arena would look like.

As with most infrastructure projects Cliff Peale was the first to broach the news publically. Cincy On The Prowl has the first series of tweets up now. That was followed closely by this article from Peale at the Enquirer. The plan is not finalized, and probably won't be until some point in May. The main takeaway is that capacity will be downsized to about 10,000. In exchange for a lower capacity the plan is to provide more club and luxury seating options.

UC would also need to update the lounges used by donors – "There's lots of dark wood and brass rails in there. If you ask (Athletic Director) Mike Bohn or me, we'd say, 'We're not after more suites. We're after better club seats," (University Architect) Beth McGrew said.

That is the money quote right there. McGrew said that they would downsize from the current 16 suites to 10. That makes perfect sense to me. Just like decreasing capacity in an attempt to create a more comfortable experience for fans makes perfect sense.

Schools across the country are facing a new problem, venues are competing more and more with the HD TV at home. If anything the Bearcats are more susceptible to that pressure because Fifth Third Arena has been, at best, charmingly uncomfortable place to watch a game. If you have had the pleasure of sitting at the top row in Fifth Third you know that the couch has a strong appeal.

This renovation is not a long term solution for the Bearcats, but everything I have heard makes me think it will be a great one for the medium term. It is good to know that a concrete plan is in place and that there is an actual option on the table. But there is no guarantee that this is the way the administration will go.

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