Fifth Third Renovations

Fifth Third Arena Renovation Still Happening, Still Gorgeous



With the news that the Big 12 wouldn’t be expanding, many (understandably) entered panic mode. I was crushed, but was determined to remain calm and steadfast. One of my main caveats was that the Fifth Third Arena renovation be pushed forward on schedule. I worried that somehow the Power Five door closing for the moment would affect how UC approached such a monumental financial undertaking. I was never too worried that the project would be scrapped, but there was some worry that they would at least shelve it for another year or two.

Fear not, because today the university released the most extensive renovation materials yet. We now have a detailed rendering video and a new project website:


I can now rest easy. The renovations look gorgeous and are moving forward as originally planned. Come November 2018, the Bearcats will have a pristine home on campus. I’m beyond excited. This will be even better than the Nippert renovation. We’re essentially getting a brand new building in a place that sorely needs it for a program that greatly deserves it.


Is that… a team shop?! (

I understood why Nippert got renovated and why it had to go first, but the Old Nippert never bothered me too much. (Of course, the new structure is gorgeous and totally changes the stadium for the better.) Fifth Third, on the other hand, was years behind and wasn’t even up t0 snuff when it opened.

Not that it was UC’s fault, but the building opened in 1989 to start the Huggins era. Cincinnati basketball was nothing special at the time, so a giant, multi-purpose airplane hangar arena did the trick. Less than three years later and the Bearcats were in the Final Four and suddenly became a top-flight program again. Oops, now we’re stuck with a dingy, bare-bones ’80s box. That was 27 years ago, and only minor adjustments have been made since. UC may be the best team in the country to play in a C-minus (D-plus?) arena. Not anymore.


The two-year wait for this view is going to be absolutely excruciating. (

Nothing softens the Big 12 blow quite like this. I said it after the news broke and I’ll say it again: It sucks, but we’re going to be fine. We’re turning ourselves into a Power Five school. We just happen to be stuck in a Group of Five conference. It’s far from ideal, but things could be much worse.


They’ve even managed to make the outside look pretty. (

I’m already sick of waiting, and we still have an entire season left in The Shoe before the bulldozers come out. The next two years are going to be absolutely miserable. I’ll spend that time preparing my trigger finger to snag good season tickets at The New Shoe.

Congratulations, Mick. You’re finally getting your arena.