Nebraska hasn’t exactly been a powerhouse in college basketball, making only six trips to the NCAA Tournament in school history — the last time in 1998 — but with the help of the new Pinnacle Arena, those fortunes could change thanks to a significant boost in homecourt advantage.
While Nebraska’s fan base — known as the “Sea of Red” — has gained notoriety for their extreme devotion to Cornhusker football, the same mass-scale feverish support is not often in place for their men’s basketball program.
Nebraska has done a great job selling out tickets for Pinnacle Arena’s inaugural season in 2013-14, but now the “Sea of Red” will have the distinct advantage of being right on top of the floor, as a new media tour of Pinnacle Arena revealed.
The $179 million arena, with a seating capacity of about 15,500, sits on the northwest side of downtown Lincoln looking like a big silver space saucer just a few blocks west of Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska already has sold every ticket for the 2013-14 men’s basketball season, and a media tour revealed a steep seating configuration that could make for an intimidating home-court advantage.
“It’s right on top of the court, so it’ll be a great building for basketball,” said John Hinshaw, project manager for Minneapolis-based M.A. Mortenson Co.
The steep seating configuration is sure to make Nebraska home games louder and more intimidating and could become one of the better homecourt environments in the Big Ten given the sold out schedule and the reputation of Nebraska fans.
Also in place will be a new video board that will rival that of many NBA arenas, according to Hinshaw.
Hinshaw said the Panasonic high-definition center-hung scoreboard will be one of the finest in college sports and better than in most in NBA arenas. The four-sided scoreboard is 16 1/2 feet tall and 22 feet wide and is topped by another full video board that is 6 feet tall and 22 feet wide.
Mortenson Co., the company building Pinnacle Arena, previously built the Sprint Center in Kansas City and the Target Center — home of the Minnesota Timberwolves — among other stadiums in other sports.