AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas Board of Regents will hold a special meeting on Thursday to discuss potential plans for its new basketball arena.
Regents will consider approving a “short-term ground lease” to Oak View Group, LLC of approximately 6.64 acres of land south of Mike A. Myers Stadium for construction of a new events arena that would be home to Texas Basketball.
The company would take part of what UT makes off of the arena for a period of time, then allow the university to eventually own the arena in-full. Oak View Group LLC has similar projects across the country, including the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas.
The Longhorns arena would replace the school’s current basketball home, the Frank Erwin Center and Cooley Pavilion. Both sit on land that is part of the Dell Medical School.
Exact seating capacity has not been announced, but it is expected to be less than the current 16,734 that the Erwin Center seats. At the very least, it would have the flexibility for a more intimate configuration to provide more of a “home-court advantage.”
Initial seating estimations are expected to be around 10,000 seats with the capability to expand for concerts or other events. With a capacity of about 18,000, the Erwin Center is the largest basketball arena in the Big 12.
Current Longhorns basketball players say a more intimate stadium would be a good thing.
“If we do have a smaller stadium, the amount of people that come make a bigger impact,” said Longhorns sophomore guard Jase Febres.
Players say the new stadium could also help bring in even more athletes.
Elijah Mitrou-Long, Longhorns senior guard:
“A lot of kids that are newer to the program or coming into the program are going to see that and be like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I’m playing on that court,'” said Longhorns senior guard Elijah Mitrou-Long. “It can help recruit more, for sure.”
“This is an innovative deal that will be good for the city and the university. UT is a strategic partner with our community and I’m looking forward to discussing the details, subject to the Regents’ approval, later this week,” said University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves.