Jan 25, 2012
Nebraska’s New Arena Aims To Increase Student Involvement

Daily Nebraskan, Dan Hoppen

http://www.dailynebraskan.com/sports/new-arena-s-seating-aims-to-involve-students-create-better-atmosphere-1.2689497

Three years ago, the Nebraska basketball team traveled to Kansas State to take on the Wildcats. The result, a 77-72 loss, isn’t particularly noteworthy. But Bramlage Coliseum — also known as the Octagon of Doom — left a crucial impression on several members of the Husker staff, including executive associate athletic director Marc Boehm.

Opposed to the Bob Devaney Sports Center, which seats students behind each basket, Kansas State had all its students seated behind the team benches, making it difficult for the Huskers to hear or communicate on the bench. Boehm liked the idea, but it was restricted by the Devaney. If he put students behind the benches there, the spectators behind them wouldn’t be able to see, as students typically stand the entire game.

But when the new downtown arena, since named Pinnacle Bank Arena, was approved in May 2010, the opportunity to put the students in a more impactful position arose. NU jumped at the chance and announced the seating plans for the new arena, which will be ready for the 2013-2014 season, this weekend.

There will be approximately 450-500 seats available behind the team benches and another 500 behind the basket that opponents will shoot at in the second half.

“The students can have such a huge impact on the game, Boehm said. They have to be part of the atmosphere. Basketball is such an intimate setting that you need to position the students in great spots.”

Boehm said it’s still unclear how the problem about who gets the prime seats will be decided. Several ideas have been discussed, including going by seniority and a lottery system.

But if you’re looking to improve your chances, Boehm said there’s a possibility that a loyalty program will be put in place and students who have previously bought tickets will get a better shot at the prized seats.

Unlike the Devaney, the new arena won’t be within comfortable walking distance for most students, many of whom don’t have cars. But NU has devised a shuttle system plan to accommodate them. Shuttles will pick up students at dorms, fraternities, sororities and other on-campus locations and transport them directly to the student entrance.

“We love (the) Devaney, but with a new arena, you’re going to be able to do so much more and get the students so much more involved, Boehm said. When you make it easy like that and you make it affordable, we see no reason for this not to be sold out every game.”

While the main thinking behind the change was to allow the students to impact the game, the change has other benefits. The new seating will make the students fully visible during televised games, which Boehm hopes will make an impression on recruits.

“We’re always in the recruiting phase, Boehm said. When a young man sits at home and sees that fans are interested in coming, it shows that it’s a crazy environment that can really be fun.”

NU coach Doc Sadler supports the idea. The Huskers played at Ohio State this year, another team featuring this type of student seating, and will face a similar set-up at Michigan State.

“I think if we’re going to be a consistent NCAA Tournament team in this league, you’d better have a six-to-eight-point advantage at home, Sadler said. Everybody has that everywhere you go. Just to be even, you’ve got to have that. Anything they do to get the students and crowd into it, they better do it.”

Boehm also sees the better seats as a way of thanking the students for their loyalty over the years. Even as NU has had double-digit losses to Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State at home, the Red Zone has had a good turnout for nearly every game. Sadler gave some of the credit in the Huskers’ upset over Indiana to the Devaney faithful.

“The bottom line is we have been so proud and appreciative of the students that have shown, Boehm said. Let’s be honest, we’ve had a tough stretch. To see those students out there every single game, it’s been impressive. The students have been unbelievable in their support over the years.”

New Arena Aims To Change Environment For NU Basketball

Daily Nebraskan, Dan Hoppen

http://www.dailynebraskan.com/sports/new-arena-s-seating-aims-to-involve-students-create-better-atmosphere-1.2689497

Three years ago, the Nebraska basketball team traveled to Kansas State to take on the Wildcats. The result, a 77-72 loss, isn’t particularly noteworthy. But Bramlage Coliseum — also known as the Octagon of Doom — left a crucial impression on several members of the Husker staff, including executive associate athletic director Marc Boehm.

Opposed to the Bob Devaney Sports Center, which seats students behind each basket, Kansas State had all its students seated behind the team benches, making it difficult for the Huskers to hear or communicate on the bench. Boehm liked the idea, but it was restricted by the Devaney . If he put students behind the benches there, the spectators behind them wouldn’t be able to see, as students typically stand the entire game.

But when the new downtown arena, since named Pinnacle Bank Arena, was approved in May 2010, the opportunity to put the students in a more impactful position arose. NU jumped at the chance and announced the seating plans for the new arena, which will be ready for the 2013-2014 season, this weekend.

There will be approximately 450-500 seats available behind the team benches and another 500 behind the basket that opponents will shoot at in the second half.

“The students can have such a huge impact on the game, Boehm said. They have to be part of the atmosphere. Basketball is such an intimate setting that you need to position the students in great spots.”

Boehm said it’s still unclear how the problem about who gets the prime seats will be decided. Several ideas have been discussed, including going by seniority and a lottery system.

But if you’re looking to improve your chances, Boehm said there’s a possibility that a loyalty program will be put in place and students who have previously bought tickets will get a better shot at the prized seats.

Unlike the Devaney, the new arena won’t be within comfortable walking distance for most students, many of whom don’t have cars. But NU has devised a shuttle system plan to accommodate them. Shuttles will pick up students at dorms, fraternities, sororities and other on-campus locations and transport them directly to the student entrance.

“We love (the) Devaney, but with a new arena, you’re going to be able to do so much more and get the students so much more involved, Boehm said. When you make it easy like that and you make it affordable, we see no reason for this not to be sold out every game.”

While the main thinking behind the change was to allow the students to impact the game, the change has other benefits. The new seating will make the students fully visible during televised games, which Boehm hopes will make an impression on recruits.

“We’re always in the recruiting phase, Boehm said. When a young man sits at home and sees that fans are interested in coming, it shows that it’s a crazy environment that can really be fun.”

NU coach Doc Sadler supports the idea. The Huskers played at Ohio State this year, another team featuring this type of student seating, and will face a similar set-up at Michigan State.

“I think if we’re going to be a consistent NCAA Tournament team in this league, you’d better have a six-to-eight-point advantage at home, Sadler said. Everybody has that everywhere you go. Just to be even, you’ve got to have that. Anything they do to get the students and crowd into it, they better do it.”

Boehm also sees the better seats as a way of thanking the students for their loyalty over the years. Even as NU has had double-digit losses to Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State at home, the Red Zone has had a good turnout for nearly every game. Sadler gave some of the credit in the Huskers’ upset over Indiana to the Devaney faithful.

“The bottom line is we have been so proud and appreciative of the students that have shown, Boehm said. Let’s be honest, we’ve had a tough stretch. To see those students out there every single game, it’s been impressive. The students have been unbelievable in their support over the years.”






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