Fan of OU basketball? Not terribly keen on the Lloyd Noble Center? Well, you might be happy to hear that the Oklahoma Sooners may have a new home for hoops games. According to a report from the Norman Transcript, the University of Oklahoma is indeed interested in being an anchor tenant for a proposed multipurpose arena, which would be located six miles north of campus near Max Westheimer Airport.
The proposed arena would seat approximately 10,000 fans and would include 800 club seats, 30 loge boxes, 12 suites, 20 luxury suites and 2,600 parking garage spaces. The following document provides the current details on the proposed plan.
A few thoughts:
- Student attendance at games has been an issue even when the men’s teams have been superb. Playing six miles north of campus won’t help that situation. My hope would be that OU would find ways to accommodate students in that regard with free buses and things of that nature.
- As a resident of the Oklahoma City area, this appeals to me for somewhat selfish reasons. The arena would be located adjacent to I-35, which would make it a bit more appealing for fans located to the north of Norman. This would probably save attendees about 15 minutes of drive time (if not more) both to and from the games.
- As pretty much all of you know, Lloyd Noble is not up to par with 21st Century venue standards. It’s pretty bland, and it virtually has no amenities. Donors have a pretty decent club area located at the adjoining basketball facility, but there really aren’t any suites or anything along those lines. Based on what this company has done with other arenas across the country, this could be a really nice facility and could provide an outstanding fan experience.
- One thought that came to mind is that this could possibly be used as a home until OU someday builds an arena of its own. That kind of seems like the ideal situation from the perspective of students and many other fans. After all, college sports are meant to be played on college campuses.
- Overall, this seems like an alright thing for OU, its basketball fans and the city of Norman. The project as a whole looks pretty impressive, and I think it could provide a decent game day environment outside of the arena. One other thing to keep in mind is that the plan is to also host some NCAA events (most likely not men’s basketball) and other kinds of events. Lloyd Noble was a great venue for concerts back in the 70s and 80s (ask your parents), but this new place would likely be a MUCH better draw. I don’t really like the fact that it’s not a great thing for student fans, but it’s kind of an exciting idea at the same time.