NewSyracuseArenaGate: This All Ends With A Renovated Carrier Dome

Nate Shron

If you're asking me right now, I'm saying that Syracuse will end up using the new arena push as a way to force Carrier Dome 2.0 into happening.

We've moved beyond the rumor stage and now we've got people on record discussing the potential new Syracuse Orange arena that could be home to Syracuse Orange basketball, football, lacrosse, hockey and more. We've moved so fast we're already at the blocking-it from-happening stage.

But we're here to talk about SU, so let's hear what Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud has to say on the matter.

Basically a lot of ground-covering. It may be something we do. It may not be. Nothing specific. And The Syverdude is clear to make sure everyone knows renovating the Carrier Dome is still a viable option.

By the way, that's the most interesting development of all this to me. All of a sudden, the pressure to renovate the Dome just shot up 5,000,000%.

And you know what, I'm starting to feel like that's the end-goal here.

The more I think about it, the less I think a new arena shared with the city of Syracuse makes sense for SU. Remember, this new arena is likely going to be the new home of the Syracuse Crunch and the go-to spot for concerts, events, monster truck smash'm'ups, etc. Do we really want to share that space? Do we want to have to finagle our schedules around theirs?

Can you really fit two basketball teams, two lacrosse teams, (at least) two hockey teams and a football team in one arena along with everything else? Logistically, it sounds like a nightmare. And that's before you factor in money.

Here's what we know. DOC Gross wants something new and shiny. It's in Syracuse University's best interest to have something new and shiny. Jim Boeheim understands the need for new and shiny but hates change. Syracuse University needs to maximize the financial returns from its sports programs.

It all adds up to gutting and renovating the Carrier Dome and giving her the kind of makeover that makes everyone happy.

  • It means possibly sacrificing a little bit of capacity to improve the seating, improve the game experience and maximize revenue potential (A Club 44 for every level!).
  • It means reworking the electrical systems and whatever else you need to do so that you can put the basketball court in the middle when a game calls for it.
  • It means really thinking about what the roof needs to be. Is it retractable? Maybe, though I don't really see the need other than that's what you're supposed to do. But is it new and state-of-the-art? Absolutely.
  • It means new locker rooms, new facilities, new fields, new courts, and new new new new new new.
  • And it means that Syracuse University retains control of it all.

Maybe Syracuse doesn't need a 52K stadium anymore, but I disagree that a 40K stadium would be okay for football. Yes, we have trouble even hitting that number, but I've been in the Dome when we regularly pulled 45-48K. Do you know what the only difference was between 1998 and now? Wins. Lots more wins. Do that and you can get those numbers back.

Not to mention, I would really hate for Syracuse University to get into bed with the city, county and state on a questionable project with questionable funding and questionable deadlines. Here in Seattle, we recently approved a brand new tunnel to dig under the city as a replacement for a long-standing viaduct (sound familiar, Syracuse?). We were assured that the project would go smoothly and alleviate traffic concerns. A year later, the project is mired in delaysalmost assuredly running over-budget (which we have to pay for) and is more likely to make downtown traffic worse than better.

These kinds of projects just always seem to have a way of working out like that, especially when politicians are driving the car. On paper, I want SU to stay far away from something like this, potential-be-damned.

Of course, SU doesn't exactly have the money for this kind of project laying around (or maybe they do?). Some donors would have to kick in some serious coin to make it happen. But, and I'm just spit-ballin' here, if I'm SU, that's the road I walk down right now. I start a campaign to raise money under the guise of "if this other arena doesn't work out" and go full steam ahead to make it happen.

Long way to go on something like this, but, considering we're only two days in and it's already devolving into chaos, I hope Syracuse University continues to do what's best for Syracuse University. If that means Carrier Dome 2.0, then I'm all for that.

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