Here are the most important decisions that have to be made considering the future of the Dome.
Two weeks ago, columnist Sean Kirst of the Syracuse Post-Standard wrote a piece about life after the Carrier Dome. Would a new arena combine Syracuse basketball with Crunch hockey to replace the War Memorial? Syracuse University has one of the most unique setups in college sports: its football, basketball, and lacrosse teams play in the same building.
- Timing: Plans for a new stadium/arena seem quite a bit down the road considering SU is still trying to piece together funds for the new indoor football practice facility. The Carrier Dome probably still has ten to fifteen years left if the university wanted to stretch out the Dome’s use. It’s 33 years old now, that would bring it to 45-50 year mark. The good news is the influx of money from the ACC could be used as a starting point between the university and the state when it comes to finding ways financially and logistically to build new facilities.
- Location: The university realizes how important the destination is to fans, especially students. Students attendance has been poor for football for awhile, but many flock for big games because the stadium is on campus. Could SU one day build a new outdoor football stadium on South Campus? This way the students are only a bus ride away and the tailgating atmosphere will heighten tremendously. The bus system is already in place and it’s just a 5-minute ride, far easier than transporting students across the city.
- High Capacity Arena: For the basketball arena, would the seating have to be cut down? Fans love having 30,000 screaming ticket holders inside the Dome for major Big East games. With ACC powerhouses on the schedule, one can only imagine what types of records will be broken. However, for most of the non-con schedule the Dome can feel too big. Maybe an arena around 25,000 would allow a more intimate setting, yet keeping the home court advantage that SU craves.
- Outdoor vs. Indoor: Many fans like not freezing on a chilly November day. Players and coaches enjoy not having to worry about the weather. However, SU would benefit in several ways from having an open-air stadium. An outdoor environment would liven up the program and game day in particular. On warm days in the fall, fans want to be outside soaking up the sun and rather than stuck inside without air conditioning. Also, scheduling home games earlier in the season can help avoid cold weather issues late in the season. Other cold weather universities do it that way successfully and have created a rich football atmosphere.
The Carrier Dome has been the heart of the city for over three decades. However, the conversation is staring about what will come next after it is time to move on.
Posted: Zephan Mayell