U.S. Bank Arena owner: Plan is to tear down area, build new 19K seat arena for NCAA tourney

Posted at 1:57 PM, Apr 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-19 16:46:11-04

CINCINNATI -- A part-owner of U.S. Bank Arena said Wednesday that the current plan to prepare for the 2022 NCAA men's basketball championship includes tearing down the arena and building a new, larger arena in its place.

Ray Harris, COO of Nederlander Entertainment, spoke to Bill Cunningham on 700 WLW Wednesday regarding the NCAA's announcement that Cincinnati would host first and second-round tournament games in five years, on the condition that U.S. Bank Arena undergoes long-awaited renovations.

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"We’re motivated like nobody else to make this thing happen," Harris said on Cunningham's show. "We’re working with the city and county on a vision -- what's capable, what makes the  most sense, and what makes (U.S. Bank Arena) competitive for the region."

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Capacity for the new building would ideally reach 19,000, Harris said. The 42-year-old arena currently holds 17,000 people at capacity.

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Harris said he had "no indication" that the name of the arena would change.

"This property has a lot of priority with our company," Harris said. "(Nederlander)'s core businesses is Broadway entertainment, but U.S. Bank Arena is the largest facility we operate."

In 2015, Nederlander announced plans for a $200 million renovation, but it hasn't begun.

Being chosen as a host city for March Madness is a huge win for Cincinnati, a city that hasn't been picked to host men's basketball tournament games since 1992. Since 1992, when Cincinnati made the Final Four, UC has made the tournament 21 times, Xavier 19.