The Liacouras Center is seeing upgrades as a result of Temple’s Big East admittance.
Temple will replace the scoreboard in the Liacouras Center, as part of a series of upgrades to the arena and other athletic facilities. While Temple awaits new contracts and sponsorship deals as it readies to join the Big East Conference, officials said the scoreboard was due for replacing regardless.
“We’ve been having some maintenance problems with it recently, plus we’re going to have a five-year warranty on the new one so we won’t have to worry much about maintenance,” Jim Creedon, senior vice president for construction, facilities and operations, said.
The $2 million purchase will be equipped for instant replay functions and advertising.
“From a television perspective, it’s going to change the look of the arena,” Creedon said.
Creedon added that the new lighting will be mounted along the fascia between the lower and upper levels of seats.
“Right now, we have some signs on there, but really they’re just kind of stationary signs. They don’t really offer a lot of advertising opportunities, a lot of sponsorship opportunities,” Creedon said. “It’s really going ‘up’ the fan experience – better graphics, better advertising space for sponsors will, I think, give the arena a really good feel.”
Meanwhile, the 15-year-old arena roof will undergo a $2 million repair and warranty upgrade, also approved by the Board of Trustees, and the court floor will need new Big East insignia.
“Obviously, the ‘A-10’ is going to have to come off,” Creedon said.
Creedon could not forsee any additions made to seating or parking structures regarding game turnout.
Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Anthony Wagner said the board has tasked the administration with examining how an increase in ad revenue and media coverage for the university will affect deals with Philadelphia and regionally-based advertisers and vendors who currently advertise and sell in the Liacouras Center.
“Better sponsorship deals…even with the boxes, what people pay to use the boxes and who’s willing to buy them now that we’ll be playing in the Big East are all things we’re going to have to take a hard look at,” Wagner said. “And, you know, how to promote it, to make sure that we really maximize the opportunity.”
“Should there be more of a national presence because you’re going to have more of a national coverage? I’m sure we can learn from other teams in the Big East and other conferences, and see what they’ve done,” Creedon said. “I got to see a similar system up in place up at [Boston University] last October. It’s a little bit different configuration than we have, but, boy, it really kind of changes that whole experience.”
Currently, Temple’s athletic subsidy totals $8,645,410. Wagner said the board is in the process of tabulating the budget for the 2013 fiscal year.
“From a financial perspective, we definitely see it as being a net positive to the university,” Wagner said. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity for the subsidy the university has in athletics to actually be decreased. It’s definitely moving the athletics budget in a really positive direction.”
“We’re certainly talking about six-figure, seven-figure increases in revenue,” Wagner said, though he predicted “compensation-related increases” for coaches. “The market for Big East coaches is a little bit different market than the MAC or the Atlantic Ten Conference where our coaches are currently competing.”
In addition to the Liacouras Center, Edberg-Olson Hall is currently undergoing an approximate $10 million addition and expansion, according to Facilities Management. The building will gain 22,000 square feet and a second story.
The project started in the fall, before the conference upgrade was confirmed, and is due to finish in July.
In the cases of basketball and football, Scott Walcoff, associate of advertising, marketing and sales, said he cannot foresee any changes to student ticket availability while Temple remains in the A-10 conference.
“For football, we play at Lincoln Financial Field…there will not be an issue with free student tickets,” Walcoff said. “Basketball is a little bit of a different animal. There’s a number of student tickets that will not be available.”
Walcoff did not have an exact number of free student tickets available for basketball games once the Owls enter the Big East next year.
“Probably only for [games against] Penn State and Notre Dame, many student tickets will not be available,” he said.
“A sell-out for a Big East game is a sell-out for the Big Ten,” Creedon said.
“We’re going to get to play in some great venues away from home. Madison Square Garden…some of the other universities, Georgetown,” Wagner said. “We really do expect attendance to increase.”
However, Walcoff said the Wild Cherry passes for the 2012-13 year are priced at $70. Due to more high-profile games and greater television coverage, Walcoff expects the number of Wild Cherry ticket holders to increase, but said their seating placement in the Liacouras Center will remain the same.
Creedon and Wagner anticipate with Big East games will come Big East enthusiasm.
Amelia Brust can be reached at email@example.com.