CINCINNATI -- The University of Cincinnati Bearcats are homeless for the time being as Fifth-Third Arena undergoes massive renovation next season, but U.S. Bank Arena is hitting back at rumors that the basketball team might head across the river.
Ray Harris, the venue's chief operating officer, issued a statement Thursday night insisting they are making every effort to host the Bearcats' games Downtown rather than letting them be shipped south to BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University.
UC athletic officials insist no final decision has been made on where the team will play its 2017-18 season.
"U.S. Bank Arena is committed to providing the best sports and entertainment to the Cincinnati area. We have a genuine desire to host the 2017-2018 UC Bearcats Men's Basketball season and have made every effort to secure that commitment for this community. We are confident that we can work with the University of Cincinnati to provide an enjoyable experience for fans, alumni, and students alike.
While we believe we have provided a more than fair deal to the University, we also made it clear that if there were any issues, financial or otherwise, that we would appreciate the opportunity to address them. To date, they have not communicated any specific concerns with our proposal.
Our motivation for hosting these games is the desire to be an active part of this community. It makes sense to host these games Downtown and create a positive economic impact to the small businesses and local community that supports the university. Hosting the Bearcats at U.S. Bank Arena during the next season will contribute to the growth and success of The Banks. The fans and business community supported UC's football team Downtown while Nippert Stadium was being renovated and we believe that they will again. Additionally, there is parking and public transportation infrastructure in place to support large crowds. The Downtown location and its amenities provide the perfect backdrop and experience for Bearcat fans and can help UC maintain the increase in crowd size that the Bearcats are enjoying this season.
While a final decision has yet to be relayed to us, we continue to be proactive in expressing our desire to host these games. We welcome any conversation on the behalf of the university and athletic department leaders."
-- Ray Harris, U.S. Bank Arena Chief Operating Officer