Northern Kentucky University announced Friday night that the University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team will be playing its home games at BB&T Arena in the 2017-18 season. The Bearcats current home, Fifth Third Arena, will be undergoing renovations next season.
“We are pleased to assist the University of Cincinnati and its men’s basketball program for the 2017-18 season and to host the Bearcats in BB&T Arena during their renovation of Fifth Third Arena,” said Ken Bothof, NKU’s Athletic Director. “We certainly appreciate the great working relationship we have had with Mike Bohn and all of his staff throughout this process.”
The Bearcat men’s team is enjoying a resurgence this season, and will likely fill the 9,400-seat capacity of BB&T Arena. The Bearcat men are averaging 9,215 fans over 15 games at Fifth Third Arena this season.
The $60-million state-of-the-art BB&T Arena opened in 2008 and is the newest basketball facility in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area. It features two party suites and 12 luxury suites. Aside from Norse men’s and women’s basketball games, the arena frequently hosts concerts, comedians, and a variety of other shows.
“We are excited to host the UC Bearcats next year and expose a new fan base to our beautiful arena,” said Andy Meeks, Director of Business Operations and Auxiliary Services. “With the modern amenities in BB&T Arena, we will provide a positive experience to UC, its men’s basketball team, donors and fans.”
When the Bearcats call BB&T Arena home next season, it will add another residence to the storied history of the UC basketball program.
Cincinnati opened the most successful era in program history in 1954 with a new on-campus arena, according to gobearcats.com. The Armory Fieldhouse played host to a period of UC basketball which saw the Bearcats win the national championship twice.
The Bearcats left the Armory Fieldhouse in 1976 as they moved to Riverfront Coliseum, now known as US Bank Arena. They remained downtown until plans for a new on-campus arena were revealed, according to gobearcats.com.
Two years from moving into Fifth Third Arena, UC moved its games once again to The Cincinnati Gardens in 1987, sharing the building with archrival Xavier. In 1989 the Bearcats’ opened the Shoemaker Center, which would later be renamed Fifth Third Arena.
The Northerner will continue to follow this story.
The Northerner Editor-in-chief Matt Sexton and Sports Editor Christopher Decker contributed to this story.