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Basketball practice facility (and more) coming


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I just do not see a new arena on the horizon.  We lost about 20% of the fan base when KD left.  We lost another 25% with covid.  The jar is about half full on good nights.   The interest in Akron basketball has diminished even though we have had some good teams under Groce.   Akron has cut general admission to $5 and we are 10-3 and we still are not getting great crowds.  I will bet that the Kent game will not sell out.  Also, build it and they will come did not exactly work with Infocision field.  We need to build our fan base before we even think of a new arena.

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1 hour ago, 1981 grad said:

I just do not see a new arena on the horizon.  We lost about 20% of the fan base when KD left.  We lost another 25% with covid.  The jar is about half full on good nights.   The interest in Akron basketball has diminished even though we have had some good teams under Groce.   Akron has cut general admission to $5 and we are 10-3 and we still are not getting great crowds.  I will bet that the Kent game will not sell out.  Also, build it and they will come did not exactly work with Infocision field.  We need to build our fan base before we even think of a new arena.

A new arena isn't going to happen anytime soon unless magically some alumni steps forward with a check in the 10s of millions. I wouldn't count on that. The city/county made a play for a new arena and failed miserably. The university itself is a financial mess in part because of the money they spent on Infocision. The money just isn't there. Perhaps in 20 years when we're done off Infocision it could become a possibility.

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The City hasn't had an arena since the Akron Armory.  At the time the Armory met the wrecking ball in the early 80's, the flourishing Coliseum was in nearby Richfield and gave those in the area a false sense of security relative to a nearby arena.

 

When Infocision was built, the leaders should have seized on the opportunity to fund a new arena or a revamped JAR.  I'd have much preferred a scaled down Infocision with some monies directed at basketball.  I think this one of Dambrot's frustrations, him thinking that he built a good program to play in an outhouse while football was able to produce crap in a castle.

 

I think the JAR could be okay with some modifications, primarily in reconfiguring the seating.  Most importantly, they need to get rid of the damn track and bring the upstairs seating towards the floor.  There are some decent basketball arenas on worse footprints than the JAR.  A good college arena is about sightlines and crowd enthusiasm and involvement not about pretty lounges and technology.

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33 minutes ago, clarkwgriswold said:

I think the JAR could be okay with some modifications, primarily in reconfiguring the seating.  Most importantly, they need to get rid of the damn track and bring the upstairs seating towards the floor.  There are some decent basketball arenas on worse footprints than the JAR.  A good college arena is about sightlines and crowd enthusiasm and involvement not about pretty lounges and technology.

 

This. I actually like the JAR from an atmosphere standpoint. The low ceilings and closer crowd create a LOUD environment when the JAR is hopping. The upper level seats on the sidelines could easily be brought in, connecting them with the lower level seats. I'd be interested to see how they bring the endzone seats closer in the upper level. One of the even bigger questions is how do they work around the support columns in the corners? Is it as simple as not including corner seating? Can the support be re-engineered? Ditching the awful bench seating in the upper level would certainly reduce capacity from 5500. However, how many of those seats can be regained with connecting both levels, especially in the endzones and maybe corners? Can we get to 6-6.5k with the JAR's footprint? I'd love to talk to a stadium engineer to see what they think is possible. 

 

Keeping the JAR means the city loses out on some events, similar to what Canton is able to host. But that's the city's problem. 

 

Long story short - I like the JAR for a college atmosphere. Just make it better (if possible).

Edited by Let'sGoZips94
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51 minutes ago, clarkwgriswold said:

I think the JAR could be okay with some modifications, primarily in reconfiguring the seating.  Most importantly, they need to get rid of the damn track and bring the upstairs seating towards the floor.  There are some decent basketball arenas on worse footprints than the JAR.  A good college arena is about sightlines and crowd enthusiasm and involvement not about pretty lounges and technology.

A full house in the JAR is quite the imposing advantage for the home team.  Many times I've gotten the chills when the Zips are making a run and the place explodes.  The Big Dog 3 to win it, and a handful of the games during 'the streak' come to mind.  

 

Maybe the practice facility is the precursor to making the floor and lower seats permanent in the JAR.  I would think you could finagle more of a bowl-type feeling if entry was primarily upstairs.  As LGZ said, move upstairs seats forward and make them permanent.  Fan walkways in the back and, from the 2nd level, walk down to the lower bowl and up to the higher seats.  I think you'd see capacity drop to the 4,500-4,700 range, but that's fine with the current state of college basketball.  

 

And my spine might send a thank-you note to UA if it never had to see a JAR bleacher again.

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8 hours ago, Hilltopper said:

If they ever finally finish reconstruction on Main Street and get a decent number of people living there your idea might have a chance.

Yeh i agree Akron is no longer a destination especially downtown. 

Was last there for Romeo Travis jersey retirement. After the game he had a private get together at a lounge on Main Street and that was back when literally the whole street was closed off and tore up. I couldn't believe my eyes trying to cross the street in that mess from where I parked. I feel for the businesses down there. 

At this point I believe it would make more sense to focus more on turning the area into a true College town. 

It would be a win win for the area as a whole to have a multi purpose arena to help attract events to the region on a regular helping to boost the economy. In reference I look at Uconn who uses a downtown and still uses their old smaller arena on campus. Georgetown Also. The Jar can still be used for games. 

Edited by dre22era
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4 minutes ago, dre22era said:

Yeh i agree Akron is no longer a destination especially downtown. 

Was last there for Romeo Travis jersey retirement. After the game he had a private get together at a lounge on Main Street and that was back when literally the whole street was closed off and tore up. I couldn't believe my eyes trying to cross the street in that mess from where I parked. I feel for the businesses down there. 

At this point I believe it would make more sense to focus more on turning the area into a true College town. 

The construction (along with COVID) has run a handful of places out of business. It had better be absolutely magnificent when they’re finally finished.

 

Exchange Street from Main Street to Route 8 is on deck. It will be a needed improvement tying UA & downtown, but I’m sure it’s going to be a nightmare for a couple years. 

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On 2/4/2022 at 11:04 AM, Blue & Gold said:

That's what I didn't like.  Might there be an ever-so-occassional scheduling conflict?  Yes. Maaaaaybe. But that would be a good thing - it would mean there are multiple events to enhance the Akron-area's quality of life & draw people/students downtown.  Anyway, the U would get first priority.  The benefits to both downtown as well as the men's basketball program far outweigh any 20-minutes of additional paperwork/phone calls which may be required for the occasional scheduling inconvenience.

 

Does either the DNC or GOP want to hold their National Convention in Akron on a date which conflicts with a Zips basketball game?  Does U2 want to play their farewell concert in Akron on a date which conflicts with a Zips basketball game?  Okay, the Zips can play in the JAR on those rare occasions.  NOT A BIG DEAL.

 

If arenas can schedule cooperative dates around an NBA schedule, there's no reason an arena (perhaps University-run arena) couldn't schedule around a much shorter and more sparse college basketball schedule.

 

Not only does the JAR suck - and the JAR does suck - but it's not easy to get to - you really have to go out of your way to get to the Zips' games. You drive to the Carroll Street parking deck, walk to the game, walk back to the parking deck & drive home. No auxiliary economic benefit to downtown.  The JAR makes it awfully tempting to just stay home & watch games on ESPN+.  I want Zips games to be an event - go out to eat before the game, walk to the game, grab desert or a drink after the game.  Not that you absolutely cannot do that with the JAR, but the JAR does nothing to facilitate the night out, let alone enhance the experience of the evening.

 

I want the U to be the cultural center of the city.  Cleveland knew what they were doing when they finagled getting the Richfield Coliseum shuttered and built Gateway for the Cavs.  We in Akron need to be at least as savvy as Cleveland - even more so, frankly. 

 

There is more parking on Main Street. There are bars & restaurants for before and after games within walking distance on Main Street (maybe even get a Metro bus to taxi ppl north & south on Main Street on the nights of games?).  Canal Park draws a lot of ppl downtown in the summer months, but boy is it quiet down there from November-thru-April.  Zips basketball could certainly give the downtown establishments a boost during those slow months. Along with concerts, etc. etc.

 

With all the new housing going in downtown, we could get a lot of ppl who decide on a whim to go to a Zips game.  You don't get that at the JAR.

 

A new arena would certainly have to be a collaborative effort between the U, the city, and Summit County as well as local businesses.  But it's strange that a city the size of Akron doesn't already have a downtown arena to begin with.

 

Eh, I'm rambling.  I just get going when the city & U don't seem to work together when it's an absolutely vital symbiotic relationship.

 

I'll just end with reiterating that Cleveland knew what they were doing when they (cough, screwed Summit County) and finagled to have the perfectly fine Richfield Coliseum shuttered in order to bring the Cavs to their downtown.  


I spent a lot of time at the Canton Civic Center, after driving through Akron to get there. We went to a lot of indoor soccer games there BITD, I liked soccer and my wife liked the indoor game (and the Cleveland Force always disappointed in the playoffs). Then I went to Canton Charge games there before the Cavs moved them to CSU. It’s showing it’s age, but what an asset to the city. I think Akron would get a lot of use out of one. 
 

Having a downtown presence would do wonders for public awareness. Especially since the converted Quaker Hilton sits unused since the U bought it, shuttered the mall, and converted the hotel to no-longer-needed dorm space. 
 

I agree the sports facilities are buried, and in the winter a real PIA to get to. I would go to more events after work but after being on my feet for 12 hours, I just head home and listen on the radio. 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Spin said:


I spent a lot of time at the Canton Civic Center, after driving through Akron to get there. We went to a lot of indoor soccer games there BITD, I liked soccer and my wife liked the indoor game (and the Cleveland Force always disappointed in the playoffs). Then I went to Canton Charge games there before the Cavs moved them to CSU. It’s showing it’s age, but what an asset to the city. I think Akron would get a lot of use out of one. 
 

Having a downtown presence would do wonders for public awareness. Especially since the converted Quaker Hilton sits unused since the U bought it, shuttered the mall, and converted the hotel to no-longer-needed dorm space. 
 

I agree the sports facilities are buried, and in the winter a real PIA to get to. I would go to more events after work but after being on my feet for 12 hours, I just head home and listen on the radio. 

 

 

I just read that Saturday night the Canton Civic Center is hosting a boys basketball double-header.  Game #1 is Akron Buchtel -v- Lake, while the main even in game #2 is Akron STVM -v- Oak Hill Academy (VA).  

 

My dad used to take my brother & I to professional wrestling events at the Civic.  You could stand on the floor as the wrestlers made their way to the ring.  I patted Macho Man Randy Savage and the Road Warriors' Hawk and Animal on the shoulders cheering them on. One night we hung around for a while after the last match & Jake the Snake Roberts & the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiasi (sp?) came out & talked to us for about 10 minutes.  Those are some of my favorite memories as a kid.

 

Akron needs an arena.

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21 minutes ago, Blue & Gold said:

I just read that Saturday night the Canton Civic Center is hosting a boys basketball double-header.  Game #1 is Akron Buchtel -v- Lake, while the main even in game #2 is Akron STVM -v- Oak Hill Academy (VA).  

 

My dad used to take my brother & I to professional wrestling events at the Civic.  You could stand on the floor as the wrestlers made their way to the ring.  I patted Macho Man Randy Savage and the Road Warriors' Hawk and Animal on the shoulders cheering them on. One night we hung around for a while after the last match & Jake the Snake Roberts & the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiasi (sp?) came out & talked to us for about 10 minutes.  Those are some of my favorite memories as a kid.

 

Akron needs an arena.

That place is so simple yet so effective as an arena.  Canton is fortunate to have it and the Fieldhouse.  Both places I love to watch hoops.

 

Oh and "Ohhhhh yeahhhhhhhh!!!"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Drove by UA on the way to the All Star Game Saturday and I must say it is an utter disgrace how bad the streets are around campus. Exchange St is absolutely nothing but potholes and uneven pavement. Countless untreated side streets like Sherman and Cross which are basically ice skating rings. 

And then add all the highway construction into the equation. I honestly don't blame anyone who choose not to attend Akron Home Games past and remaining. 

It is not worth the wear and tear on your car. I feel for folks who have to deal with that daily. 

They would have to put me in jail if I still lived there because I would be on the UA President and Mayor's a$$ daily. 

Your Tax Dollars deserve better

 

Edited by dre22era
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46 minutes ago, dre22era said:

Drove by UA on the way to the All Star Game Saturday and I must say it is an utter disgrace how bad the streets are around campus. Exchange St is absolutely nothing but potholes and uneven pavement. Countless untreated side streets like Sherman and Cross which are basically ice skating rings. 

And then add all the highway construction into the equation. I honestly don't blame anyone who choose not to attend Akron Home Games past and remaining. 

It is not worth the wear and tear on your car. I feel for folks who have to deal with that daily. 

They would have to put me in jail if I still lived there because I would be on the UA President and Mayor's a$$ daily. 

Your Tax Dollars deserve better

 

 

I'm always amazed at Ohio roads compared to the roads here in Pennsylvania. Not to mention I felt like the I-271/R-8 stretch was in a constant state of construction for at least 10 years.

 

But our tax on gas prices are also considerably higher to "pay" for the roads. Guess it's a toss up. Pay thousands of money on gas or thousands to get new rims and shocks every year. 

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I think if they really renovated the JAR it could be really great. It's not the worst place to watch a game. Sure, it kind of feels like a glorified gymnasium, but with some money put into it I think a lot could happen to make it feel less like that. Personally, I like the Zips playing directly on campus. 

 

EDIT: Can LeBron cut a check? LOL

Edited by GoZips86
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2 hours ago, akzipper said:

 

I'm always amazed at Ohio roads compared to the roads here in Pennsylvania. Not to mention I felt like the I-271/R-8 stretch was in a constant state of construction for at least 10 years.

 

But our tax on gas prices are also considerably higher to "pay" for the roads. Guess it's a toss up. Pay thousands of money on gas or thousands to get new rims and shocks every year. 

My biggest beef with PA

 

Screen Shot 2022-02-22 at 2.55.50 PM.png

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Playtime is over. Akron needs a new basketball arena like it needs a hole in the head. Half full arenas have become the norm everywhere except for a few elite programs. Akron is half full and that isn't going to change because our society has changed. Wake has a 15,000 seat arena and I don't care what was published, there weren't more than 8,000 people against second place Notre Dame. The disaster that was the NCAA facilities spending is over. Make the best of the current arena. 

 

The City of Akron needs an arena like it needs two holes in the head. It needs to attract taxpayers living in the City and jobs to the City. This is where the real money comes from. Arenas never cover their costs and are almost guaranteed money losers. Basically, they are empty buildings costing taxpayers money for their entire life. This isn't a difficult decision. Akron doesn't need another public works project. 

 

Finally, it's been a while since I've been in Akron and the Main Street project had been ongoing for a while. I can't believe it's still going on. What a disaster....  Does anyone think the idiots who brought you this disaster will turn a new arena into anything other than a bigger disastee?

 

WAKE UP!!!!

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27 minutes ago, jupitertoo said:

Last night's MAC basketball attendance speaks volumes about the lack of need for new/larger facilities:

 

EMU     1,294

WMU    1660

Miami    1,798

Akron    1,830

Kent     2,221

Ohio     5,861

Thanks for posting.

 

Attendance is the problem. A new arena is not the solution to the problem.

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No.

We need a new arena.
And desperately.

 

 

An older gentleman tripped while trying to step off our breakneck bleachers last night.  He braced himself on a lady in a wheelchair on the running track and almost knocked her over. One of my friends I sometimes take to games who isn’t aware of this ongoing conversation said, “Every time I’m here someone almost falls.”

 

Desperately.

 

Caveat:

If Groce doesn’t improve the quality of basketball on the court… it’s not fun. Only true diehards are at these difficult-to-watch, often boring games. 
 

Good, fun basketball > new arena

Edited by Blue & Gold
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New/updated does not have to equate to large.  Actually, in the MAC and mid-major settings, smaller and more intimate results in a home court advantage.  I'd much prefer PCCC to come into a 4,000- 5,000 seat arena where the fans are close and breathing down their necks than into a half empty 10,000 seat arena or a place where the loyal GA fans are far away and separated by a glass rail and a freaking track.

 

I recall many of the very same anti-arena arguments being made against Canal Park in the mid-90's.  I think most would agree it has been a success.

 

In any event, anything is going to have to come out of state monies.   UA doesn't have it.  The citizens won't support a tax.  As a result, at best we're left to modifications to the JAR.  Fortunately, a plain box should be relatively easy to work with.  Also, according to Reghi the JAR is "historic and venerable", and we can't abandon a facility that is equal to the Palestra in Reghi's eyes.

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