Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What to do about the A.J. Palumbo Center?

Now that the 07-08 season is over for the Dukes the focus is on recruiting and other issues for the program. As the Duquesne coaching staff recruits potential prospects they have to sell Duquesne University and the basketball program, and one of the biggest negatives about coming to Duquesne is the A.J. Palumbo Center. The Palumbo is old, (it was built in 1988), small (has a capacity of 5,358), and lacks the amenities of newer arenas in Pittsburgh and at other Atlantic 10 schools. When a recruit has been to Temple's beautiful 10,000 seat Liacouras Center or Pitt's 12,000 seat Petersen Events Center (pictured below) that features five courtside luxury suites, six club suites, six loge suites, 193 supersuite seats, and five building levels the A.J. Palumbo Center looks like a dump. More than half of the seating at the Palumbo Center is still bleacher seating after all.

The question remains, what can/should be done? In my mind there are several options: 1. renovate the existing Palumbo Center, 2. build a new arena, or 3. move some or all of Duquesne's games to the new Penguins arena. Duquesne recently made a large investment in renovating and improving Rooney Field, and Duquesne spent 2 million dollars renovated the Palumbo in 2006 so there is no way a new arena will be built, and it is doubtful Duquesne will put more money into the Palumbo in the near future. The most realistic option in the short term is to play some or all of Duquesne's games at the Penguins new arena.

An artists rendering of the planned Penguins Arena

There are some pros and cons to playing at the Pens new arena.

  • The Pens arena will be a brand new arena used primarily by a pro team with all of the accompanying amenities and luxuries.
  • The Pens arena is extremely close to Duquesne's campus making it easy for students to travel from campus to the facility.

  • The Pens arena will be sold out for every Pens game and tickets to Pens games are extremely expensive. By playing some or all of Duquesne's games at the new arena it will allow sports fans in Pittsburgh an opportunity to see the new facility while also exposing them to Duquesne's basketball program which is on the upswing.


  • The Pens arena has an 18,500 seat capacity. Duquesne can't fill their own 5,300 seat facility, more than 3/4 of the Pens arena would be empty if Duquesne played there.

  • Two years ago Duquesne invested 2 million dollars into renovating the AJ Palumbo Center, why would the University want to move the arena's main attraction, (the basketball team), out of the facility?

This is a difficult spot for Duquesne. I'd love for the Dukes to play at least one home game a season at the Pens new arena, preferably a against a big time opponent. Duquesne needs to make a decision, either make a major commitment to renovating and updating the Palumbo Center or start fund raising and planning for a brand new state of the art facility.


Thorton Mellon said...

Some great Eastern 8 tourney's back in the day! Would love to see the A10 championships come to the burgh! It would be awesome to have a Pgh vs. Cincy tourney (Dayton, Xavier, Cincy versus WVU, Pitt, Duquesne) or Pitt/Philly tournament. They desparately need to renovate the Palumbo...They should do it the first two years the new arena's open then return to Palumbo in 2012. The smaller seating is better for college hoops

goduquesne12 said...

yeah. at the new arena we need get a big time opponent to come that ISNT PITT! if we could get like a g'town or wisconsin (though this is highly unlikely) to come, we would get big crowds including pitt fans who are sick of seeing teams such as Houston Baptist at the beginning of the year.

Jack said...

Honestly, Palumbo should be the least of the Dukes concerns right now. What they need to do is get the students to fill the arena for games first! It's inexcusable that the Palumbo isn't near capacity for every game! Until the Dukes get a "Zoo" there is no need for a new arena. The Palumbo isn't as much of an issue as the atmosphere....
And getting Georgetown or Wisconsin in there is a pipe dream....you first need to go to those schools and play for them to even consider it. And it will probably need to be a 2 for 1 scenario.

Andrew Chiappazzi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Duke from Dukes Court said...

Jack and Andrew make good points, why renovate an arena when you can't even fill it to half capacity for most games?

For the Dukes to attract bigger crowds they need to win more games. A renovated Palumbo Center would allow Duquesne to attract better recruits. Better playes=more wins. More wins=more fans...