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And Another Thing

File / The Journal Gazette

A complex question

So here is what I'm thinking now as I read this about SportONE/Parkview Fieldhouse, a 57,000-square-foot facility that RCI Development is putting up for 7 million clams across the street from Lutheran Health Sports Center:

Volleyball? Really?

Look, I have nothing against volleyball -- Arnie Ball's program at IPFW has, after all, given this city a big chunk of its national sports identity -- but it strikes me as odd that someone would drop that much coin to serve what's admittedly a niche sport. Is there really that much critical need for volleyball accommodations in the Fort? And if the goal, as stated, is to lure various tournaments from out of town .... well, you've got to wonder how much economic impact those tournaments would likely have.

On the other hand, if the new facility can give Memorial Coliseum some competition for future events -- a big if, admittedly, considering the nature of the events proponents of the new complex are talking about attracting -- that's not a bad thing. The Coliseum, frankly, could use some competition.

Which brings us to one more thought: The Mad Ants. President Jeff Potter is on record as saying they're perfectly happy with the Coliseum, but the presence of a brand-new facility that can, we're told, be adapted for basketball opens up intriguing possibilities to say the least.

Especially when you learn the NBA has no clear guidelines as to building capacity for its D-League franchises.

"They basically want you to come up with a sustainable building that can hold a proper professional basketball team," Potter told me today. "There's a team in Bakersfield that has a capacity of 500; it's all premium seats, it's very intimate and the fans love it. Then you have our building and the building in Iowa, which, obviously, you can have thousands if you desire.

"So I think it has more to do with whether they have all the amenities and stuff like that."

The Coliseum, it goes without saying, has that, as one of the premier venues in the league. But the presence of another viable option does change the dynamic somewhat, at least potentially.

Ben Smith's blog.