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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

LA Forum Out of Running to Host UCLA Basketball Games, Sports Arena Likely

UCLA is working on a search to determine where the men’s basketball team will play its home games next season. The athletic department raised enough money for Pauley Pavilion to undergo renovations that will keep the team from playing its home games on campus. While women’s basketball and volleyball games will remain on-campus, the men’s basketball fan base is too large for any on-campus alternatives. As a result, the athletic department is considering various venues around the Southern California area to host home games next season. Wisely, the athletic department has asked the team’s fans for help on the decision.

A survey was sent out to UCLA season ticket holders Monday asking for their preferences when it comes to locations for games. Initially, it appeared as if the decision would be between the LA Sports Arena and the LA Forum (former home of the Lakers). Turns out MSG (Madison Square Garden) is looking at purchasing the LA Forum, and they plan to turn it into a concert hall. Their renovation plans will prevent them from hosting basketball games, so they’re not one of the six available choices. Here’s what’s being considered:

    – LA Sports Arena (15mi from campus), max of 18 games
    – Staples Center (15mi from campus), max of 2 games
    – Honda Center in Anaheim (43mi from campus), max of 9 games
    – Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario (57mi from campus), max of 3 games
    – RaboBank Arena in Bakersfield (107mi from campus), max of 1 game
    – Valley View Casino Center in San Diego (130mi from campus), max of 2 games

It’s great that the athletic department is polling the fans to see what their preference is. The team is already losing a homecourt advantage by not playing at Pauley, so ensuring that displaced fans can make it to next year’s games are critical. Based on its availability and proximity to campus, my guess it that the Sports Arena adjacent to USC’s campus will win out. Here’s a sample of how the survey looked, and thanks to ticket holder A.S. for sharing it with LBS:

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