The debate over the future of the Carrier Dome has always been a tricky one. State-of-the-art when it was built in 1979, it's already fairly lagging when compared to most domed stadiums. The idea of Syracuse University raising enough money to replace it with a new stadium are as unlikely as Jim Boeheim leaving to take over the Boston College men's hockey team. But if Onondaga County and state of New York decided it wanted to build a state-of-the-art arena in town and let SU partake, well, who's gonna stop them?
That's the gist of rumors floating around about Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, who are apparently pushing for a brand new sports facility in Syracuse. And yes, one that could potentially become the new home of Syracuse Orange basketball, football or more.
Syracuse-area political leaders are buzzing with rumors of a plan for a new sports facility in the city.
Those with knowledge of the plans are being cagey and describe the plans as preliminary. Some point to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney as leaders of the effort. Mahoney would not make herself available for comment Friday, but her chief of staff texted that she might have something to say this week.
The proposed spot of the new arena is the 10 acre-lot known as the former Kennedy Square site, located between East Fayette and East Water streets.
Rumors, and they are certainly rumors at this point, run rampant over what the stadium would do. They include becoming the new home of Syracuse basketball, Syracuse football, college & pro hockey teams, concerts and more. Rumors also claim the capacity would be around 40K (12K less than the Carrier Dome) and that it would have a retractable roof.
If you've read between the lines over the years, you'd know DOC Gross would love to build a new stadium if he could. Gross likes things flashy, he likes them state-of-the-art and he likes them branded & marketed to high heaven. And his comments about the rumored stadium back up the idea that he's be on board.
No word from Jim Boeheim but I think we can all agree he will hate the idea. Even if they called it Jim Boeheim Arena and promised him he wouldn't have to do post-game pressers ever again, he'd still hate it. Because it would be different.
Personally, I really, really, really dislike the idea of Syracuse playing off-campus. It hurts the student experience and takes something away from the gameday experience. However, if you can sell me on the positives (more revenue, bigger crowds, etc.) then I'm willing to listen.
Still, my gut tells me there are a lot of stumbling blocks here. Is SU so willing to give up the financial gains of luxury box sales and other Carrier Dome profits? Are we so willing to play in a smaller football stadium (even if we can barely fill the one we're currently in)? Are we willing to throw away Ernie Davis Legends Field and Jim Boeheim Court or allow them to exist off-campus?
If you're putting a gun to my head, stop it. It's rude. But if you're really doing it, I'd say that SU might consider making an arena like this the new home of SU Basketball and Hockey, with some serious financial deals put in place, but that's it. I can't imagine SU gives away all of its sports to a county-run stadium, retractable roof or not.
Anyway, this is all getting WAY ahead of ourselves. It's just a rumor (a purposely-planted rumor in the area's major newspaper) for now. I'm sure you have thoughts on the matter. Let's hear'm.
And remember, before you say you can't imagine SU playing in anything other than the Carrier Dome, a whole lot of Orange fans said the same thing about Archbold Stadium and Manley Field House. The Carrier Dome's day will come. It's just a question of whether it will be sooner or later.