March Madness is upon us and it is time to look at this year’s sports arenas and stadiums that will be used. Although three of last year’s venues remain the same the rest are different and include a couple of classic sports arenas.

Madison Square Garden New Entrance

Photo: Anthony Causi

Statistically, the average age of the sports stadiums and sports arenas being used this year (21.6 years) is almost the same as last year’s 21.3. However, it is nice to see that there are more basketball only sports arenas compared to last year with 2 of the venues (Bradley Center and Viejas Arena) only holding fewer than 12.500 people which is great for a basketball atmosphere.

Madison Square Garden Sports Arena

Speaking of a positive basketball atmosphere, the most notable venue this year is the reappearance of Madison Square Gardens (MSG) as a host for the East Regional Finals. Only three arenas have hosted more NCAA tournament games than MSG (71 games) despite the fact that it has not hosted a game since 1961.

With recent renovations that cost over $1.1 billion dollars, MSG will undoubtedly be the showcase of the tourney. To be clear, the billion dollar renovation is as much as the cost of Texas Stadium (Final Four host) and more than the construction cost of 6 new Sochi Olympic venues including the new Fisht Olympic Stadium and the Bolshoy Ice Dome.

The oddity of MSG is that the sports facility may only have 10 years to recover the investment as the lease expires in 2024. Although MSG hosts approximately 320 events per year; it is built directly over Penn Station. The City of New York wants the MSG to relocate so the area can be rebuilt and be expanded as part of a more modern Manhattan.

Why Sports Stadium and Sports Arena Maintenance is Critical

Virtually every sports facility used in the 2014 NCAA tournament is used for other purposes. Over the course of a year, each facility may play host to a variety of sporting events, concerts, graduation ceremonies and other special events. All this activity makes ongoing sports facility maintenance a very high priority.

There are two types of primary maintenance for sports arenas and sports stadiums. The first is proactive and the second is reactive. Striking the correct balance is critical to ensure public safety and address asset damage or wear and tear. The balance between proactive and reactive is dependent on the age of assets and the quality of maintenance management.

Proactive Maintenance

Good proactive maintenance starts with knowing the condition of each asset whether it is a single seat, the electrical grid or plumbing etc. Once the asset’s condition is known; preventive maintenance, repairs or replacement can be scheduled. The benefits of this type of planned maintenance includes:

  • The use of inspections to identify potential problems before they cause more expensive emergency repairs or accidents.
  • The strategic use of maintenance staff through scheduling to keep labor costs, including overtime, to a minimum.
  • A reduction in unplanned downtime allowing assets to remain productive longer.
  • Better management of energy requirements as well maintained energy hogging assets operate more efficiently.
  • A reduction in capital budget needs as assets last longer.

Reactive Maintenance

No matter how good your maintenance staff or asset and maintenance management are, there will always be assets that fail unexpectedly or are damaged during an event. The goal of sports arena maintenance management is to minimize these events but also to react quickly to ensure public safety.

As a general rule of thumb the ratio of proactive to reactive maintenance should be approximately 80/20. It is a good bet that if your sports arena or sports stadium is seeing less than 50% proactive maintenance then maintenance unit is not performing as well as it should be.

Sports Asset and Maintenance Management Planning and Execution

To achieve good maintenance for the tens of thousands of assets that each sports arena or stadium has requires organization and a planning. One of the most successful tools available is an (EAM CMMS) system. EAM CMMS provides the automation and recordkeeping needed to plan and execute maintenance in an efficient and effective manner.

In addition, modern EAM CMMS solutions utilize mobile devices to enhance productivity by enabling the faster transmission of inspections results, work orders and documents (such as photos of a problem). Most importantly, EAM CMMS gives sports arena and stadium owners/operator the ability to always know the condition of each asset at any point in time.

Given the outrageous costs of building or renovation sports venues, it makes sense that an investment is also made in asset and maintenance management software.

The Sporting Arena and Stadium Venues for March Madness 2014

The teams chosen for this year’s tourney will then be dispersed to play in a total of 14 sports arenas. The venues and selected statistics for the tournament are as follows:

Sports ArenaLocationEvent Date(s)CapacityOwnerOperatorAgeHome to
Univ. of Dayton ArenaDayton OhioMar. 18,19Mar. 20,2214,435University of DaytonUniversity of Dayton45Univ. of Dayton
First Niagara CenterBuffalo New YorkMar. 20,2219,200Erie CountyHockey Western New York,     LLC18Buffalo Sabres (NHL)
Bradley CenterMilwaukee WisconsinMar. 20,2218,850Bradley Center Sports & EntertainmentBradley Center Sports & Entertainment26Milwaukee Bucks (NBA), Marquette
Amway CenterOrlando FloridaMar. 20,2220,000City of OrlandoOrlando Venues4Orlando Magic (NBA)
Spokane Veterans Memorial ArenaSpokane WashingtonMar. 20,2212,210Spokane Public Facilities DistrictSpokane Public Facilities District19Gonzaga
PNC ArenaRaleigh N. CarolinaMar. 21,2319,722Centennial AuthorityGale Force Sports & Entertainment15Carolina Hurricanes (NHL), NC State
Viejas ArenaSan Diego CaliforniaMar. 21,2312,414SDSUSDSU17San Diego State Univ.
AT&T CenterSan Antonio TexasMar. 21,2318,581Bexar CountySpur Sports & Entertainment12San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
Scottrade CenterSt. Louis MissouriMar. 21,23 East Regional22,000City of St. LouisSLB Aquisitions Holdings LLC.20St. Louis Blues (NHL)
Honda CenterAnaheim CaliforniaMar. 27,29 West Regional18,336City of AnaheimAnaheim Arena Mgmt.21Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
FedEx ForumMemphis TennesseeMar. 27,29South Regional18,119City of MemphisMemphis Basketball, LLC.20Memphis Grizzlies (NBA), Memphis Tigers
Lucas Oil StadiumIndianapolis IndianaMar. 28,30Midwest Region70,000State of IndianaMarion County, Indiana6Indianapolis Colts (NFL)
Madison Square GardenNew York City New YorkMar. 28,30East Regional19,812The Madison Square Garden CompanyThe Madison Square Garden Company46Knicks (NBA), Rangers (NHL), St Johns
Cowboys StadiumArlington TexasApril 5, 7Final Four80,000City of ArlingtonDallas Cowboys5Dallas Cowboys (NFL)

As a college basketball sports fan, it is my hope that all the games are problem free and that attendees will remember each venue as being well-kept. And by the way, GO SYRACUSE!!!!

Share with us your experiences at your local sports arena. How well is it kept up?