Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Letter to the NU Board of Regents over Increased Costs for the UNO Hockey Arena

Today's Omaha World-Herald brings us a report that UNO is going back to the Board of Regents to approve an $11.6 million increase in the cost.  I've long been opposed to this arena, but I'm finally motivated to write to my NU Regent to express my concern.

Dear Regent Hawks:
I am writing to you as a long-time season ticketholder of UNO's hockey program to express my reservations over UNO's hockey arena. I've grown increasingly discouraged as to the lack of transparency regarding how UNO will pay for this arena, as well as it's reduced size relative to the crowds that follow the Mavericks.  Today's World-Herald reports that the capacity will remain at 7,500 seats, though rumors earlier this summer indicated that it may have fallen to as little as 6,800.  This contrasts to average crowds that were 7,864 in 2012 and 7,994 in 2011.

Why would UNO build a facility smaller than their fan base?

I'm also concerned about how UNO plans to pay for this facility.  I understand that rent at the CenturyLink Center is expensive, but I find it hard to believe that it's cheaper to own a facility you need for two dozen or so dates each year. The only conclusion I can make is that UNO intends to use the reduced supply of tickets as an excuse to increase ticket prices significantly for their existing fans, with no consideration being made to growing the fan base.  This building essentially crams UNO hockey into a too-small facility for the next 30-40 years.

Now I see that the cost of the arena has increased even further.  I understand that a lot of work has already begun on the arena, but  the building isn't completed yet.  I really question how UNO can make this building viable.  Council Bluffs built an arena 10 years ago that sits virtually empty, losing money.  Rumors are that the new Ralston arena is also losing money.  How does another arena become viable in the Omaha area.

I realize that you've already approved this project in previous votes; I'm hoping that you'll reconsider this project while it's still possible.

Thank you for your time.
Not sure it'll make a difference, but I at least have to try. 

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