Siegel 2.0 - Considering a new Coliseum

The Virginia House of Delegates <a href="" target="_blank">recently</a> passed a bill that would allow the RMTA (Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority) to build, own, and operate a new arena in the Richmond area. This arrangement would allow surrounding counties to contribute, as well as private sector funding to contribute to its construction.

The existing Coliseum, built in 1971, has taken a toll from the elements and aging infrastructure, which has led to many arena-sized performance groups moving their acts to John Paul Jones arena in Charlottesville. The case for a new Coliseum presents itself as an opportunity for the city to bring the entertainment back to Richmond, in addition to significant revenue potential. If anything, it would be a more lucrative deal for the city than the Redskins training facility, which is only open two weeks out of the year.

If a project to replace the Coliseum comes to fruition, it begs the question: what will VCU's involvement look like, and could this be a potential home for VCU men's basketball?

Reasons To Invest in New Coliseum:[/HEADING=3]
<li>More seats to fill. There is still a waiting list for VCU season ticket holders, which means that the university has sold every possible seat in advance, and demand is higher than supply. Economics 101. More seats sold = more money coming in to the program.</li>
<li>Arena atmosphere. Some of the biggest basketball programs in the country seat over 10,000 fans. Imagine if VCU were able to fill those seats throughout the season. Recruits would marvel at the program. Opponents would dread the trip to Richmond. VCU in an arena puts the Rams in a whole new class.</li>
<li>Tournament host site. A 15,000 seat arena would put Richmond on the map as an NCAA tournament host site (as well as regular season tournaments). More eyes on VCU hoops.</li>

Reasons To Stay at Siegel Center:[/HEADING=3]
<li>83 CONSECUTIVE SELLOUTS. That's a strong number, one that VCU boasts with pride. No program in the A-10 comes close, while cross-town rival Richmond Spiders struggle to fill seats.</li>
<li>Gameday Atmosphere. The Stu is arguably one of the best college basketball atmospheres in the country. Why? Because on gameday, it is bursting at the seams with rabid VCU fans. Remember VCU vs. Butler? I couldn't hear my OWN voice on that particular day.</li>
<li>Basketball Development Center. It's right next door. Players live at Ackell, walk 200 ft past the Siegel Center to get to their second home.</li>
Ram Nation has a <a href="">poll going on the forums</a> right now, and the general consensus is a resounding NO. It all comes down to this:

Would you rather see 10,000 people in a 15,000 seat arena, or 7,600 people in a 7,600 seat venue?

VCU fans pride themselves in the atmosphere they've helped create, the very same atmosphere that all 3 incoming freshmen indicated helped seal their recruitment to VCU. Would you welcome a larger arena, and if so, why? We'd love to hear your input in the comments below.


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Matt has been reporting on VCU sports for Ram Nation since 2007 with a focus on news, photos, and feature stories.
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Matt Morton
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