25 Apr 2012

Stroh Center Brings Changes to BGSU

Author: Phillip Martin | Filed under: BGSU, Enterprise Story, Sports, Spring 2012, Student Contributor

By Phil Martin

Schools in the Mid-American Conference built new facilities to compete against one another.

BGSU opened the Stroh Center this past fall to join this trend to help with recruiting and event hosting.

This is the outside view of the Stroh Center. Photo by Phil Martin.

At a final cost of $30 million, the Stroh opened this past fall, replacing Anderson Arena as the venue for several campus sporting and entertainment events.

Between 1990 and 1999, 95 professional sports facilities in the U.S. were either constructed or planned, according to the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Ray Schneider, a sport management professor at BGSU, teaches a course on sport and public assembly facilities.
Likewise, in the past 30 years, technology in college sports facilities dynamically changed, and the demand for luxury seating increased, Schneider said.

Eastern Michigan University and Ball State University also built new facilities, while the University of Toledo renovated its own, Schneider said.

New facilities like the Stroh may help recruiting.

Amanda Paule-Koba, a sport management professor at BGSU, has studied intercollegiate recruiting for five years, which includes her dissertation on it.

This is the basketball court inside the Stroh. Photo by Phil Martin.

New college sports facilities can have a positive effect on recruiting, Paule-Koba said.

“The Stroh Center is a tremendous upgrade from Anderson Arena. When dealing with 18-year-old men and women, that’s a big selling point,” she said.

A new facility like the Stroh may draw more student athletes interested in coming to the school, but Paule-Koba said it doesn’t increase the number of recruits. Each school is allowed a certain number of recruits, she said.

However, the school’s athletic teams may eventually get more talented players, she said.

In its first fiscal year, the Stroh Center offered the university a different experience than what it was used to.

James Elsasser, BGSU assistant athletic director for internal affairs, has worked with the campus’ sports facilities and financial affairs since 1995.

“It’s the front door to campus. It’s the first thing you see. It’s definitely a major asset to the university,” Elsasser said about the Stroh.

The Stroh generated an income of $2 million so far in its first fiscal, Elsasser said in an email.

Events held in the Stroh were a reason why.

Performances by Kenny Rogers and Switchfoot produced negative profits, but Sanctus Real brought in $40,000 in profits, Elsasser said in an email.

No-risk events, like the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament games helped the Stroh as well. No-risk events are when outside parties rent space and bear the burden of all costs, and the Stroh collects all the profits, Elsasser said in an email.

The number of no-risk events depends on what events students want, and Global Spectrum helps get those events in the Stroh, Elsasser said.

Global Spectrum is an entertainment company that is part of the events planning committee for the Stroh.

The Stroh Center significantly increased revenue compared to the Anderson Arena, according to Elsasser. However, attendance changed.

Attendance at Falcon’s men’s basketball games decreased slightly by 1 percent from their final year in Anderson to the first year in the Stroh. Through 14 games, attendance was 23,922 in the 2010 season; it fell to 23,616 through 15 games this past season, according to the NCAA.

However, Elsasser said there are a number of factors that explain the decrease in attendance.

Here is the dedicated falcon statue near the Stroh's main entrance. Photo by Phil Martin.

Paid attendance must be compared to student attendance, Elsasser said. Student attendance dropped, but higher ticket prices may be the reason for that, he said.

Also, Falcon basketball played at the same time as hockey games frequently this season, he said.

Finally, Elsasser said the success of the basketball team may determine attendance at games.

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