Assuming most of you signed up to be a ‘Finneran Pavilion Insider,’ you received an email tonight with a fresh video of the renderings that were released at a private donor event in New York City.
In typical Villanova fashion, one of those links in the email did not work. But the video on twitter does...
Here are the highlights that we see, but let us know if you see anything different. Also make sure to check out the FAQ portion of the Finneran Pavilion website which has been updated with in-depth detail:
- The renovated walkway to the main entrance, with Villanova Athletics monuments (previously released), but also with a new overhead shot.
- The reconfigured space behind the current student section, which will now be two floors with improved concessions and seating space. Of note, the entrace to the arena appears to be on the second floor, and the concourse will be 360 degrees throughout the building.
- Several of the aforementioned lounges - which we’re told are meant to serve events, VIPs, and recruiting. A ‘Hall of Fame’ exhibit will also be opened, as will the One Court Club which will house the 2016 Final Four floor.
- A new locker room inside the Pavilion.
- Renovated seating throughout — note that the lower level of the sidelines appear to have chairbacks, while the upper level appears to have bleacher seating.
- The current student section appears to be renovated into two separate levels. The students will be on both baselines, per the FAQ. My read is that it reduces the ‘wall’ of students in the South end, and displaces the rest to the lower end of the North side.
It’s really exactly what I expected given how close it is to the details I posted back in October. Capacity was never likely to increase, and gameday experience plus amenities, concessions, etc. were always going to be the priority.
I must say, the renderings look beautiful. The added cost of tickets, clubs, concessions, merchandise, etc. will bring in more money and make going to the games a heck of a lot more fun. But it does feel a bit rushed, and de-prioritized when looking at other projects around campus. This line was telling:
As with all projects on campus, cost is a significant consideration. Increasing seating capacity was considered, but a full teardown and rebuild to add seating would cost well over $125 million. With all of the other University projects currently being undertaken, borrowing for this project is not feasible. Therefore, the project needs to be funded entirely by donor support. While we have made significant progress toward our $60 million goal, we are still actively fundraising for the project.
It’s something we know, but it still hurts. This is the flagship sport that the school has stated drives notoriety. But it will likely always come secondary to academics and the arts at Villanova. This isn’t Ohio State or Alabama. Hell, it isn’t even Notre Dame. It’s Villanova. It hurts to say, but the administration just can’t see - or refuses to acknowledge - the revenue and visibility that sports drive in America.
A lot of this has to do with Bill Finneran’s donation and the timeline associated with it. I think if Villanova could have raised $125 million and done this right, they would have. But they’re struggling to bring in $60M even with Finneran covering a third of it. There’s your story.
My biggest gripe? Spending $60 million and still leaving some fans with bleacher seating in the upper tank. Season ticket holders up there won’t be happy with that and the increased cost of seating, I bet.
Villanova has shown the ability to build things beautifully in recent years and I have no doubt this building will be gorgeous when completed. It’s just tough to know that there could have been more.