CINCINNATI --- Xavier University Athletics announced plans today for Phase II of Cintas Center renovations. The upcoming improvements focus on the fan experience with new seating options, expanded hospitality and additional gathering areas.
Phase II renovations of the 15-year old arena will begin in 2017. Phase I work is currently underway and is focused on improving the Cintas Center for Xavier’s nearly 300 student-athletes. Work on the Crawford Student-Athlete Academic Center is complete. Xavier student-athletes are already utilizing it extensively and reaping its benefits. Construction begins this month on a new strength and conditioning space. Following completion of that project, work will begin to expand the sports medicine facilities, more than doubling the square footage available for treatment, rehab and therapy work.
Once the Phase I, student-athlete priority projects are complete, focus will shift to the seating and hospitality changes. “At Xavier, we’re committed to providing the highest quality options possible for our student-athletes and our fans,” said Greg Christopher, Xavier’s Athletics Director. “Xavier Nation is incredibly supportive and after 15 years in the Cintas Center, our fans are ready for an updated facility. Our plan for the seat enhancements is a mixture of what’s popular and cutting-edge at other arenas, Xavier fan feedback and the best use of space in the Cintas Center.”
Phase II updates will be complete for the 2017-18 season. The seat updates include:
- Expanded courtside seating: Xavier added 40 courtside seats two years ago, and the popular seats sold out quickly. For 2017-18, we will expand the floor seating to 66. These seats will also feature all-inclusive in-seat food and beverage service, as well as complimentary food and drink from the Courtside Club.
- “Front Line” seats: New in 2017-18, the Front Line seats will be part of a complete overhaul in the lower part of the Cintas Center. The current retractable seating structure will be replaced with new seats that are up to four inches wider and more cushioned.
- “Living Room” seats in the Joseph Club: The Joseph Club has been a popular destination since Cintas Center opened, and it will now include loge-style seats that will rival the comfort of watching Xavier basketball games from home. Situated in a refurbished Joseph Club, the Living Room seats will feature all-inclusive food and beverage service from a dedicated server, as well as access to technology to view in-game replays and statistics, or check on other action around the BIG EAST and the nation.
- “The Lookout”: Perhaps the most distinctive addition to the Cintas Center will be The Lookout at the north end of the arena. Extending off the existing bridge, The Lookout will include almost 200 seats, and access to a special hospitality area with an all-you-can-eat buffet. Most unique will be the view of Musketeer basketball from seats virtually on top of the action – cantilevered out close to the basket and visiting team bench.
With the various changes and additions, capacity in the Cintas Center is expected to increase slightly to 10,370 from the current 10,250. Because of the seating changes, Xavier fans will have a new seat selection process in the summer of 2017.
“Each of the new seating additions or changes is adding a distinct element to the Cintas Center,” said Brett Sanders, Xavier’s Assistant Athletics Director for Ticket Sales. “Our floor seats have been incredibly popular, so we will add more for fans. The Front Line seats are perfect for matching comfort with being right in the middle of the action. The Living Room seats will be unique – like taking the comforts of home to the Cintas Center. The Lookout will be an incredible vantage point to watch Musketeer basketball. There are a variety of incredible options for fans.”
In addition to seat changes, these new hospitality areas will be a part of the Cintas Center changes:
- The “Traditions Club” will take advantage of the newly renovated space of the Crawford Student-Athlete Academic Center. Beginning in 2017-18, Byron Larkin and Joe Sunderman will host their pre-game show from the Traditions Club, along with the space being open post-game for fans to gather and be a part of a new call-in show.
- The “Courtside Club” will be built into the north end of the Cintas Center, providing floor-level access to food and drinks for fans sitting in the courtside seats. The Courtside Club will also give fans exclusive contact with the team and coaches as they go to and from their locker room underneath the stands.
- The “Joseph Club” will be refreshed, with better space utilization, in addition to building in the Living Room loge-style seats.
- “The Lookout” seating area at the north end will feature its own hospitality space that will include an all-you-can-eat buffet for fans in The Lookout.
Along with those changes, Duff’s pre-game hospitality will continue.
“One consistent piece of fan feedback has been to reduce concourse congestion and provide more gathering areas,” said Brian Hicks, Associate Athletics Director for External Relations. “Once this phase is complete, we’ll have additional special hospitality areas and space for more than 1,000 fans.”
Most of the work on the new seating and hospitality areas will take place during the summer of 2017, although fans will see elements emerge over the next two years. The space used for the Traditions Club – the new Crawford Student-Athlete Academic Center – will be open for fans this season.
Because of the new seating areas and change to the existing seating manifest, fans will select new seats in the summer of 2017. Details were mailed to all season ticket holders last week. Xavier’s process for seat selection is similar to the system used in 2000 when fans initially chose seats for the Cintas Center. The university’s Musketeer Points program will serve as the foundation for the selection plan.
“Once we realized the fundamental changes that would occur with our manifest – the new Front Line and Lookout seats cause significant adjustments and some existing seats are lost – we realized a fair selection process was needed,” said Christopher. “The process Xavier used in 2000 was well thought out, so we are taking that framework, with successful elements borrowed from other schools that have remodeled their buildings.”
The seating changes are part of Xavier’s long-term plan to renovate the Cintas Center and bring the facility to the best standards for fans, student-athletes and conference attendees. The $25 million total renovation is taking place over seven years, with the current phase focused on Xavier’s student-athletes. After the seating and hospitality work is complete, other deficiencies – such as technology improvements and Wi-Fi access – will be on tap.
“This second phase of the Cintas Center renovation will be about making the arena the best it can be for our fans,” said Hicks. “The process is a complete reset on how we approach basketball games. We have studied our ticket pricing, parking and game experience. It’s been a valuable process and we reviewed everything.”
The Cintas Center is a 10,250 seat multi-purpose arena and conference center that officially opened in 2000 and was constructed through private donations for an initial cost of $46 million. The University broke ground on Feb. 26, 1998, and played its first men’s basketball game on Nov. 18, 2000, with a win over local rival Miami, which is also XU’s opening-game opponent for the 2015-16 season. The Xavier men’s basketball team has compiled a 201-30 record at Cintas Center; the 87.0 percent winning percentage ranks fifth in the nation for home court facilities. The arena features 15,000 square feet of space. It also is used for trade shows, conventions, and corporate meetings, among other events. Cintas Center also hosts upwards of 30 graduations each year. The Schiff Family Conference Center has 5,600 square feet of meeting space in addition to the 12,000 square feet available in the James & Caroline Duff Banquet Center.
“Our priorities for the Cintas Center remain unchanged – make the building the best it can be for the future of Xavier,” said Christopher. “Our initial projects were focused on the student-athletes. Now, we’ll move into the bowl and begin changes that improve the setting for our fans. Step by step, we’re focused on making sure Cintas is ready for the future.”
For complete details on the seating and hospitality changes, visit ExperienceCintasCenter.com.