EDITOR’S NOTE: If you haven't read the story on how the Maryland athletic department found itself in financial distress, please do so. For reasons of space, we had to cut the following paragraphs from the version of the story that ran in Thursday’s paper. It’s another example of how a decision made years ago is now affecting the financial situation of the Maryland athletic department.
Efforts to further monetize Comcast Center by booking it for concerts or other attractions have been held up by several obstacles. Randy Eaton, Maryland’s deputy director of athletics, said June 1 that when the school was planning the construction of Comcast Center, it decided not to install the rigging necessary to host such events in order to keep the construction costs down.
Eaton said the up-front costs required to install such rigging would have been “substantial.”
Patriot Center, which opened in 1985 and is owned by George Mason University, hosts a number of concerts and boxing/MMA events along with the men’s and women’s basketball programs at the Fairfax school. The arena, which seats approximately 10,000 spectators, ranked No. 7 nationally and No.12 worldwide for ticket sales in 2010 among venues with a capacity of 10,001 to 15,000, according to Venues Today, a trade publication.
Another complication with 17,950-seat Comcast Center, Eaton said, is that the men’s and women’s basketball teams would be without a practice area if other events were to be held there. The arena is equipped with an auxiliary gym, but it is home to the school’s wrestling, volleyball and gymnastics programs.
Eaton said a basketball practice facility is under long-term consideration, but there are no imminent plans for such a project.