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DutchFace
03-20-2011, 03:22 PM
The tournament should hold games in the rinks of the higher seeds and the championship should be played at the home rink of the highest seed. When I watch how the smaller conferences do it for NCAA hoops it seemed to me like 100% of the conference tourney final games were in a home gym for one of the two teams. I cant imagine this was a coincidence 100% of the time.

I DVR'd the games on TV and seeing them being played in what looked like a 90% empty arena was terrible - there was no mojo or special feel at all. It looked 100% terrible. Unfortunately, the Northeast is littered with mid-sized cities that peaked 70 years ago and are mostly crap - especially from a tourist standpoint. Other than Lake Placid, which might be charming or offer something unique (I have never been) who wants to spend any time in any of the other cities listed?

Keep the games on campus - its the best choice for all involved....

ZYanksRule
03-20-2011, 03:35 PM
Agree with you on the "Student Prince" however of all the cities listed in the analysis, Springfield probably has the diciest downtown area in terms of crime, bad area's, etc. Springfield does have great access though for driving being at the juncture of the Mass Pike (Rt. 90) and Rt. 91.



Thanks for all your hard work.
The advantage of Atlantic City???? Can you say "arena for free"!!!!! My guess is if that is true (as we have heard from multiple sources) then that is most likely why we are there.
Glens Falls is interesting in that the downtown is right there and small enough where the ECAC crowd wouldn't get lost, however the capacity of the arena (being optimistic) is on the small side listed at only 4,807. Considering our attendance figures in most years that would be just about enough but in good years it realistically would likely be too small. Having said that....there's a lot to be said for a "full" arena and Glens Falls would likely fill up. As far away as Binghamton is from where I am the size of the city and arena are about the right fit. I think these second tier sized cities and arena's are the best options to look at for us. Let's face it....we are a smaller fish and I think if we stay in a smaller pond it's a better fit all around for us.

I'd make the argument that going to a 5,000 seat arena would help create interest -- less supply means fans will want to make sure they've got their tickets for fear the event will sell out.

Of course, the league will never do it, because they're putting a cap on profits that way. Be in a 10,000 seat arena, you're guaranteeing that everyone who wants to get in will get in.

But you're also guaranteeing that most people will wait until right before the tourney to buy their tickets, since there's no risk of selling out.

Eph72
03-20-2011, 03:38 PM
Someplace that rewards the teams and fans for making it there.

That would eliminate Albany, Bridgeport, and Springfield

Bothman: Albany, Bridgeport and Springfield have certain advantages. They have good hockey buildings, they are centrally located, and there are some local hockey fans in all three places who, if marketed intelligently, could be attracted to the tournament. Nobody, however, would call any of them a "tourist destination". Nevertheless, each has some local attractions, including Springfield's Basketball HOF, the restaurants and museums in New Haven (20 miles from Bridgeport), and Albany has...well, last call in Albany is at 4:00 am!

Seriously, what kind of outside the rink features and amenities would help induce you to attend the tournament, especially if your team isn't playing? Highly-rated restaurants? Galleries? Museums? Shopping? Historic sites? You're a college hockey fan, right?

Frankly, from my perspective, if I watch two games in a single day over 7+ hours, I'm not likely to want to go spend a lot of time in a casino, or a museum. I probably would want to walk or take a short drive to a resturant or bar where I might find other attendees for a little pre- or post-game conviviality. If the tournament were held in Boston or New York I might plan to spend a day or two there before or after the tournament to see friends or do some big city things. This would not be so likely in the mid and small-sized cities that are otherwise possibilities.

But --for me -- I wouldn't rule out Bridgeport or Springfield or Albany if the building were filled, there were plenty of students present, the bands were loud, and the hockey was as good as it has been this year.

Eph72
03-20-2011, 03:51 PM
Here is an article from the local Atlantic City newspaper trying to put a positive spin on things, including a nice little dis on Albany:

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/sports/ecac-ice-hockey-fans-glad-to-find-more-than-just/article_bdc4c542-6328-5c6b-a08c-2b48a1f7bb41.html

Allain tries to spin it, too, saying: "It's such an interesting, historical building. It's neat for our guys to play in this environment. Even though the building wasn't full - it wasn't a championship atmosphere with the crowd - it was an exciting atmosphere. Our kids enjoyed playing in it."

Eph72
03-20-2011, 04:27 PM
...of all the cities listed in the analysis, Springfield probably has the diciest downtown area in terms of crime, bad area's, etc.

Not dicier than Atlantic City.

Eph72
03-20-2011, 04:54 PM
It has been suggested that I add Utica to the mix. I have also added the hockey seating capacity of the principal arena in the city to the right of the metro area population:

Albany 1614/12=134.5 (12) 825,000 15,500
Springfield 1810/12=150.8 (9) 680,000 7,276
Glens Falls 1882/12=156.83 (9) 124,000 4,806
Hartford 1893/12=157.75 (8) 1,148,000 15,635
Utica 1989/12=165.75 (6) 300,000 4,000
Bridgeport 2081/12=173.4 (7) 882,000 9,000
Worcester 2094/12=174.5 (7) 750,000 14,800
Mohegan Sun 2241/12=186.75 (8) 18,546 n/a
Binghamton 2289/12=190.75 (5) 252,320 4,710
Syracuse 2315/12=192.9 (6) 650,154 6,230
Providence 2322/12=193.5 (7) 621,000 11,940
New York City 2341/12=195 (6) 18,000,000 n/a
Boston 2393/12=199.4 (7) 4,391,000 17,565
Lake Placid 2416/12=201.3 (6) 2,638 7,700
Atlantic City 3591/12=299.25 (1) 252,552 10,500

Utica is the home of the Memorial Auditorium, a 4,000-seat multi-purpose arena built in 1959. The Aud hosted the 1962 NCAA Frozen Four. Scenes from the 1977 movie "Slap Shot" were filmed there. It is home to the Utica College Pioneers, Mohawk Valley Community College Hawks, The Skating Club of Utica and several high school varsity ice hockey teams. It has been the home of the Utica Devils of the American Hockey League, the Utica Bulldogs, Utica Blizzard, and Mohawk Valley Prowlers of the United Hockey League, and the Mohawk Valley IceCats of the North Eastern Hockey League. It is the home of Utica College, which has the highest average attendance in Division III of United States college hockey.

kdiff77
03-20-2011, 04:55 PM
I've seen and heard Providence thrown around a lot more this year than in years past, so since I live approximately 10 miles to the south of the Dunk, I thought I'd add my two cents.

Providence is a wonderful little city that has been completely revitalized, starting in the early 90's and continuing even today. There's a great art and music scene, and there's plenty to do for fans including great restaurants and the Providence Place Mall within walking distance of the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Boston is always an option for entertainment, as it's just an hour away and the MBTA commuter rail takes you to South Station for about $8.

The Dunk itself has been revitalized in a similarly fantastic fashion, and, though I've only been for high school hockey and PC basketball gams since the renovations, I think it's a great place to catch a game these days. Providence is also fairly close to every school, and most of Brown's opponents bring pretty good contingents for regular season games - every New York team travels very well, and all the other schools are from New England with the exception of Princeton, which doesn't travel well no matter where they're playing - so I imagine the turnouts for postseason games would be good in Providence as well.

There is a foreseeable problem in that Rhode Island isn't much of a hockey state these day. Basketball and baseball are perpetually in the foreground of everyone's minds, while hockey and even football take somewhat of a backseat. The local casual sports fan probably would not go out to an ECAC tournament final unless big names like Cornell and Harvard are involved (and even then, perhaps not). By the time the ECACs roll around, people are much more concerned with basketball and spring training, so there is a much smaller chance that Rhode Islanders would be willing to attend these games, even if Brown were involved (they don't come to regular season games, so why would they bother to show up for this?).

Despite the lack of local interest in hockey, I think Providence would still put on a good weekend for ECAC fans. The proximity to most schools and the abundance of activities in the surrounding areas are qualities unmatched by almost any other candidate, and the arena itself has been transformed from a generic piece of crap from the era of industrious, and not glamorous, sports venues, into an absolute gem of a place to catch a game. Obviously this conversation won't matter again for another two years, but hopefully the ECAC committee will take these factors into account when it makes its next selection- and NOT just money.

Eph72
03-20-2011, 05:13 PM
The tournament should hold games in the rinks of the higher seeds and the championship should be played at the home rink of the highest seed... Other than Lake Placid, which might be charming or offer something unique (I have never been) who wants to spend any time in any of the other cities listed? Keep the games on campus - its the best choice for all involved....

I agree that this could be the solution to empty buildings, but it does present a number of consequential issues. For example, if Cornell is the number 1 seed, and it regularly sells out Lynah to its own fans, how will fans of the other three teams get tickets? It seems to be customary to sell "day passes", which are tickets good for both games. Who will go to the non-Cornell game? If tickets are divvied up among all four schools, how does Cornell allot its 1/4 share among its 4,000 season ticket holders? What happens if Cornell loses the semi? How do fans of the two finalists get tickets to the finals? Maybe the time has come for some sophisticated software applications! And what if Union, Princeton, or Harvard is the #1 seed and their building barely seats 2,000? None of these "problems" should prevent further inquiry, but they are problems which would have to be solved.

As to who wants to spend time in the other cities listed, well, that is the 64 dollar question. Apparently virtually nobody wants to spend time in Atlantic City!

letsgoU
03-20-2011, 05:15 PM
Glens Falls would be interesting, maybe a little small but Wikipedia says the Civic Center can seat an additional 2000 people standing room only, making a total of around 6800. The DCU Center in Worcester could be interesting too since they are renovating it.

Let me throw the Prudential Center in Newark and Manchester NH on the list. While neither is a great fit, I think they would both draw more fans than Atlantic City. It would be a huge gamble to play in a NHL arena in Newark, but since its close enough to New York and closer to schools I imagine more people would go than went to Atlantic City. It also would be nice to put the league on equal footing to the WCHA, CCHA and Hockey East, who all play in NHL arenas.

bothman
03-20-2011, 05:58 PM
Bothman: Albany, Bridgeport and Springfield have certain advantages. They have good hockey buildings, they are centrally located, and there are some local hockey fans in all three places who, if marketed intelligently, could be attracted to the tournament. Nobody, however, would call any of them a "tourist destination". Nevertheless, each has some local attractions, including Springfield's Basketball HOF, the restaurants and museums in New Haven (20 miles from Bridgeport), and Albany has...well, last call in Albany is at 4:00 am!

Seriously, what kind of outside the rink features and amenities would help induce you to attend the tournament, especially if your team isn't playing? Highly-rated restaurants? Galleries? Museums? Shopping? Historic sites? You're a college hockey fan, right?



Some of us have a wife and kid(s). Tough selling Bridgeport, Albany, Utica, or Springfield for the weekend....Hey honey, let's spend the weekend in Bridgeport???

I have long argued for Boston (relaizing that the Hockey East Final is there) or even NYC. We could have it at Agannis which is a good size for the crowd we would bring (the Fleet Center would seem empty if we ever had it there - Let Hockey Least take the bigger stage). Strong alumni communities across all schools since Boston & NYC are the biggest job markets in the Northeast.

If not Boston or NYC, then Providence or Worcester (if the New Haven Colliseum were still around, New Haven would work as well).

My 2 cents...

unhpuckfan2001
03-20-2011, 06:29 PM
From what I heard, anywhere but Atlantic City.

Player interviews all said, "bad ice, hot in here." At least the ice in Albany isn't awful.

Saints#1
03-20-2011, 06:45 PM
For those that have been mentioning the Glens Falls Civic Center, that would not work. There are the New York State High School Basketball Championships played there every year the same weekend as the ECAC Championship Tournament takes place. The basketball tournament includes a three day event with several different basketball games stretching from morning until night. I actually would love for the tournament to come to Glens Falls as this would be a good fit as well. But I'm afraid it just would never work out because clearly neither major tournament would be able to just switch weekends.

Eph72
03-20-2011, 06:46 PM
... Let me throw the Prudential Center in Newark and Manchester NH on the list. While neither is a great fit, I think they would both draw more fans than Atlantic City. It would be a huge gamble to play in a NHL arena in Newark, but since its close enough to New York and closer to schools I imagine more people would go than went to Atlantic City. It also would be nice to put the league on equal footing to the WCHA, CCHA and Hockey East, who all play in NHL arenas.

Bothman also suggests thinking about Boston and New York City.

Putting Manchester aside for the time being, I think Newark/New York City and Boston both have a lot of pros (as well as plenty of cons). I have been reluctant to go too deeply into the New York question, because it seems too daunting for our little league which can't sell out in Albany or Atlantic City.

Nevertheless there are five (including the now under construction Barclays Center) world class or nearly world class arenas in New York metro. Here is a list and description, just to get the creative juices ruminating. How cool would it be to play the ECAC finals on a Saturday night in MSG or the Rock in front of 15,000. Well, we can dream. The following has been cobbled together from Wikipedia.

Madison Square Garden

Often abbreviated as MSG and known widely as The Garden, Madison Square Garden is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station. For hockey, the Garden seats 18,200.

The present Garden hosts approximately 320 events a year. It is the home of the New York Rangers of the NHL, the New York Knicks of the NBA, and the New York Liberty of the WNBA, which are, like the arena itself, owned by Madison Square Garden, L.P. The Big East Conference men's basketball tournament has been held at MSG every year since 1983 making it the longest period a conference tournament has been held at a single location. Other regular events include the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus when it comes to New York City, selected St. John's men's Red Storm (college basketball) games, the annual pre and postseason NIT tournaments, the NBA Draft, the Millrose Games track and field meet, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, New York Titans lacrosse games, and the 2004 Republican National Convention. It has previously hosted the 1976, 1980 and 1992 Democratic National Conventions, and hosted the NFL Draft for many years. In addition, many large popular-music concerts in New York City take place in Madison Square Garden. For hockey, the Garden seats 18,200. Because all of the seats, except the top level, are in one monolithic grandstand, horizontal distance from the arena floor is significant from the ends of the arena. Also, the rows rise much more gradually than other North American arenas, which can cause impaired sight lines, especially when sitting behind tall spectators or one of the concourses. This arrangement, however, also creates a significant advantage over newer arenas in that seats have a significantly lower vertical distance from the arena floor.

Prudential Center

Prudential Center is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the central business district of Newark, New Jersey. Opened in 2007, it is the home of the National Hockey League's (NHL) New Jersey Devils and the NCAA's Seton Hall Pirates men's basketball team. It is also the temporary home of the WNBA New York Liberty during the reconstruction of Madison Square Garden and of the NBA New Jersey Nets until the new Barclays Center opens in Brooklyn. The arena seats 17,625 for hockey. Fans and sports writers have nicknamed the Prudential Center "The Rock" in reference to the Rock of Gibraltar, the corporate logo of Prudential Financial, a Fortune Global 500 and Fortune 500 financial institution that owns the naming rights to the arena and is headquartered within walking distance.

The arena is located two blocks from Newark Penn Station in downtown Newark, just west of Newark's Ironbound district, making it easily accessible via New Jersey Transit, PATH, Newark Light Rail, and Amtrak. At the time of its opening, Prudential Center was the first major league sports venue to be built in the New York metropolitan area since the Brendan Byrne Arena, the Devils' former home, opened in 1981. It is hoped that Prudential Center might play an important role in the revitalization of Newark and it was announced on February 5, 2010 that Marriott will be opening a 150room Courtyard Marriott hotel connected to the arena, the first hotel to be opened downtown in 38 years.

Izod Center

Izod Center (formerly Brendan Byrne Arena and Continental Airlines Arena) is a multi-purpose arena, in the Meadowlands Sports Complex, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It opened in 1981 and currently has a maximum seating capacity of 20,000. Because of the history of name changes, it is often referred to as Meadowlands Arena. It is primarily used for sports, concerts and other various shows and events. It was formerly home to the New Jersey Nets of the NBA, the New Jersey Devils of the NHL, and the Seton Hall Pirates of the NCAA. They have since moved to the Prudential Center in nearby Newark. Izod Center currently hosts part of the Fordham Rams' men's basketball schedule. The arena attracts spectators and fans from the New Jersey and New York metropolitan areas.

Barclays Center

The Barclays Center is a sports arena currently under construction in Brooklyn, New York City. The arena is being built partly on a platform over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority-owned Vanderbilt Yards at Atlantic Avenue. It is part of a proposed $4.9 billion sports arena, business and residential complex. The arena is intended to serve as a new home for the National Basketball Association's New Jersey Nets, currently based at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

The arena was first announced to open in 2006, with the rest of the complex to follow; however, various controversies have delayed the project. The project is being developed by developer Forest City Ratner, who acquired the Nets in 2004, with the purpose of moving them from New Jersey to this site near the Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street New York City Subway station and the Long Island Rail Road's Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, one of the most transit-accessible locations in the city. The move would mark the return of major league sports to Brooklyn, which has been absent since the departure of the Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1957. Groundbreaking for the project occurred on March 11, 2010.

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, commonly known as Nassau Coliseum or simply The Coliseum, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in Uniondale, New York. Home to the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League, the Coliseum is located approximately 19 miles east of New York City on Long Island. Opened in 1972, the Coliseum occupies 63 acres of Mitchell Field, site of a former Army and Air Force base. The facility is located in an unincorporated area of the Town of Hempstead, within the town of Uniondale. The Coliseum currently seats 16,250 for hockey.

MarkEagleUSA
03-20-2011, 07:08 PM
bad iceIt was actually comical to watch that young kid skate around the ice pushing a squeegee to move all the excess water that never froze.

Last night they couldn't remove one of the goal pegs. After several long minutes someone got a small pick hammer and chiseled away until they got it out. When they put the net back they came out with a bucket of ice scrapings to fill the hole made by the pick.

Union93
03-20-2011, 07:12 PM
Step 1: Get rid of Hagwell. He simply isn't getting the job done

Step 2: Have the new brass pick a place other than Albany or Atlantic City. The schools in the league are small so the the league will have to go after Alumni to fill buildings. I say anywhere on the I-95 corridor between (and including) NYC and Boston is the logical choice. Travel is convenient, either by car or train, and between Boston and NYC, there should be enough alumns to give the tournament a chance to do well.

cornellgradyalefan
03-20-2011, 07:33 PM
I have several thoughts...1) We need to recognize that AC has the tournament for 2 more years, and it does ECAC Hockey little good to lament the choice and tear down the venue. I am not a gambler and have little interest in going to a place like AC, unless it could be marketed for aspects other than the gambling to prospective attendees. Now, I am not sure what that would be, but I am sure the wise heads who chose this venue could come up with a few. 2) I agree with MarkEagleUSA. College Hockey fans are a tight little circle of people who like nothing more than to socialize and talk hockey with other fans. The ECAC would be well served by setting up an area to eat (good food) and drink inside the arena. It might encourage fans to hang around after the first game, or come in early before the second game and provide more of a community feel to the arena. 3) Cornell and BU have played each other at MSG during Thanksgiving weekend in 2007 and 2009 and both games were near or complete sell outs, so college hockey can succeed in a large arena if it is promoted properly. Now I realize that this is a specific game promoted to two of the larger fan bases in the country approximately a year in advance, and that is quite different than selling tickets to a tournament that your team MIGHT be playing in, but HE sells out TD Garden each year and there is no guarantee that a specific team will advance to the Final 4 that play at the Garden. If AC is worth a gamble (no pun intended) than might MSG be worth a gamble if the cost of renting the building is reasonable? 4) I also agree with KDiff77 about Providence. Of all the mid-size cities with mid-size arenas that have been mentioned in this thread, Providence is by far the nicest city in terms of restaurants and other amenities, and it is quite accessible to Boston for those fans who would want to spend time in a major tourist city as part of their weekend experience. I attended the 2003 NCAA regional at the Dunk (although I'm not sure it was called that then) and I remember the building being full, or nearly full for the Regional Championship game. 5) I don't think it would be a good idea to have the final 4 at the home rink of the top ranked school. All of these arenas are small (Dartmouth, Cornell,RPI) to quite small (Union, Princeton) in size. Although the games would likely be sold out, the ticket logistics would be a nightmare, and the issue of proximity to all schools in the conference could be a serious problem as well.

hockeymascot
03-20-2011, 08:15 PM
Step 1: Get rid of Hagwell. He simply isn't getting the job done

Step 2: Have the new brass pick a place other than Albany or Atlantic City. The schools in the league are small so the the league will have to go after Alumni to fill buildings. I say anywhere on the I-95 corridor between (and including) NYC and Boston is the logical choice. Travel is convenient, either by car or train, and between Boston and NYC, there should be enough alumns to give the tournament a chance to do well.

Response to Step 1: How can you blame Hagwell? Decisions are made by a vote of 12 AD's and 12 coaches. Mr. Hagwell will then facilitate the majority vote.

Response to Step 2: The schools in the league ARE the league. Therefore, in saying that "the league" will have to go after alumni, I will translate that you mean each institution should be responsible for their own alumni, which seems logical, yet, the wheel has been invented. I am sure that this has already been in conversation.

There are only a few schools that travel well.....just check out the regular season games attendance. Heck, there are some teams that don't draw well at home as it is. I was in Atlantic City and I thought it was fine. Need more fans....ok. How about no TV. That way you can't sit at home and watch....will that draw more fans? What is more important, TV exposure or more fans? I will tell you that it was tough to sit through the championship game. I commend both teams (Cornell in particular) for being disciplined for the entire game. No one took any cheap shots and played the game out. Also, I agree with you in regards to Albany.....why mention Albany....we tried it and it failed.....so take it off the list.

MarkEagleUSA
03-20-2011, 08:37 PM
College Hockey fans are a tight little circle of people who like nothing more than to socialize and talk hockey with other fans. The ECAC would be well served by setting up an area to eat (good food) and drink inside the arena. It might encourage fans to hang around after the first game, or come in early before the second game and provide more of a community feel to the arena.Exactly. Make it an enjoyable experience for the fans and they will come. Herding us into a building with subpar concessions and not allowing us to leave and return is a slap in the face of the dedicated fans who follow ECAC hockey IMHO.


Decisions are made by a vote of 12 AD's and 12 coaches.Is it the AD's or school presidents? I was led to believe that the AC decision was voted on by the presidents, but I may have misunderstood. Either way, it's surprising to me that any of the schools, especially the Ivies, wanted anything at all to do with AC and all it's "baggage".


How about no TV. That way you can't sit at home and watch....will that draw more fans? What is more important, TV exposure or more fans?I think the TV exposure is necessary to sell the league to the rest of the hockey world. Personally, I do not think this years TV coverage had any direct relationship on attendance at the event... it's been clear since Albany last year that many longtime "regulars" weren't going to AC, period.

UML
03-20-2011, 10:04 PM
The ECAC really knows how to write an article.
Here is an article from the local Atlantic City newspaper trying to put a positive spin on things, including a nice little dis on Albany:

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/sports/ecac-ice-hockey-fans-glad-to-find-more-than-just/article_bdc4c542-6328-5c6b-a08c-2b48a1f7bb41.html

Allain tries to spin it, too, saying: "It's such an interesting, historical building. It's neat for our guys to play in this environment. Even though the building wasn't full - it wasn't a championship atmosphere with the crowd - it was an exciting atmosphere. Our kids enjoyed playing in it."

critsports
03-20-2011, 10:45 PM
I think the reception/concession/party/food area at one end of the arena is a great idea.


"The fans of this league are passionate," said Jeffrey Vasser, executive director of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, and a Cornell graduate. "I think it's something that could build. People want to see if their team will get in the final."

Every time we read something about Atlantic City another little nugget of info unearths itself. First it was "Atlantic City?? You're kidding." Then "we got the arena for free"......which led us to........ "The arena paid us" and now in the above little quote from the news article we find...... "Executive Director, Cornell Grad". Is this the old boy network at work again???


The tournament's Atlantic City debut also created an opportunity for some fans to reacquaint themselves with the resort

This is a real beaut!!!!!!! I had to grab my thesaurus to see if "den of iniquity" and "resort" were substitutes for each other!! :D

I agree with some of the comments that we are stuck here for two more years so let's make the best of it and certainly edible food and a social or party area on one end of the arena (I wasn't there so I'm going on others descriptions) sounds like a step in the right direction. If all you could get was the typical arena fare of hot dogs and pretzels let's get another vendor or two in there with some variety.
Other thoughts might be designating a restaurant or bar or two as "official" nite spots for fans to mingle after the game. If we really evolve they could even do a function room at a hotel for schools and fans to mingle.

Having been to A/C several times on business (Borgata) over the last few years I incorrectly assumed the arena was off site away from the boardwalk. The fact it was located where it was does make it more advantageous to walk around and go to other places.