Dr. Wood Selig Responds!

Oct. 9, 2002

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Q: Is there any consideration for expanding Didle Arena to 10,000 seats? I think I understand your philosphy of making Western tickets tough to get. It would mean that we would play to a sell out crowd every night and keep demand high. That would hold true if the team is winning. Quality opponents and area rivalries could do the same. I live in Nashville and it is a real treat to bring my sons to see the Hilltoppers play. We did that on two occassions last year and I attended another 2 games myself. Limiting the number of seats will lessen the opportunities for those of us who live out of town to attend games at Western. I would much rather attend our games and let my ticket money support our teams rahter than attend an away game or use the monies for other events. -- Submitted by Randy Donaldson, Nashville Tenn.

Dr. Selig: Randy, Thanks for your attendance and support. We gave considerable thought to our capacity and after reviewing our new versus renovation feasibility study and talking with dozens of other institutions, we came to the conclusion that 8,000 was the optimal seating capacity for Diddle.

Several factors went into the decision including:
1. number of televised basketball games each night (pro and college)
2. numerous daily entertainment options such as Cable TV with 300 channels,
movies, high school events, Church activities, etc.
3. national trends in younger alumni and student body sporting event
attendance at the high school and college levels
4. cost of construction
5. supply and demand factors including driving HAF membership and season
ticket sales concurrently with a limited seating capacity.
6. mentality, create a tough ticket every night, not just occasionally

These are just a few major issues we dealt with when deciding what direction to pursue. Ultimately we went with the Duke model. They could fill 20,000 every night.... as long as they win. Did you notice all those empty Carolina Blue seats last year in the Dean Dome. Empty seats can happen to anyone......Yet, Duke keeps a cozy, on campus 8,000 facility packed to the roof top every night no matter who they play or even when they are in a slump. Players and fans love a great atmosphere. We feel we will create one of the finest on campus facilities with an atmosphere to match with our renovation project. There is nothing better than to sell out an arena with season ticket sales. That is our first goal. Then we can reach our second goal each night of announcing......SOLD OUT.