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Mitch Barnhart and Mayor Jim Gray going to Columbus

Mitch Barnhart, Mayor Jim Gray, and a group of their closest friends are taking a field trip to Columbus, Ohio at the end of the week. The group is going 192 miles north on Friday to check out Nationwide Arena in Columbus, a multi-purpose arena that opened in 2000. Nationwide is home to the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team, but Mitch and Mayor Gray will be scouting out the premises for ideas for a new basketball arena in Lexington. Nationwide seats 19,500 for basketball and includes 36 executive suites,16 Founders suites, 26 loge boxes, six party suites and 39 Club Terrace tables. [via Herald-Leader]

The group will also be visiting Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis later this month.

The Columbus trip will not include any trips to tattoo parlors or car dealerships.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

23 Comments for Mitch Barnhart and Mayor Jim Gray going to Columbus

  1. Dale in Orlando
    12:12 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    They need to come to Orlando to check out our arena.

  2. Nutwrap
    12:16 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    What kind of vacation to Columbus doesn’t end with tattoos traded for some sports memorabilia?

  3. VII
    12:19 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    Seating 25,000 should be a requirement for any new arena

  4. UKGoBigBlue
    12:37 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    That arena is way too small to even check out. We need something that is going to hold at least 25k people. They need to go check out the Staples Center or the United Center.

  5. PatPattersonISwalkingthruthatdoor
    12:38 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    Why even go observe any other arenas? We all know that UKAA is gonna go balls-to-the-wall and set a new standard for made-for-basketball arenas. They want everyone else to be modeling their arenas after us for the next 20 years, not vice versa.

  6. The Office
    12:40 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    How about we focus on the football arena? Seems like if we wanna run in the SEC that our stadium should be built up a little more than two new screens and a news tickers flashing around.Nothing is wrong with Rupp.

  7. UKFanFromDaVille
    12:44 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    What makes Nationwide work for fans is that it’s situated around a ton of bars and restaurants that were part of the buildout when Nationwide was constructed. UK needs a similar “arena district” for when the new arena gets built.

  8. CRS
    12:46 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    It absolutely has to be 25,000. If people are forced out of season tickets in favor of luxury suites, all hell will break loose. There’s no question that each game the new arena would be sold out.

  9. tyrus
    12:50 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    I’ve know the Jim Gray for over 25 years and with his background, I think he’s the perfect mayor at the right time for Lexington. With his economic development experience, it makes him the ideal person to deal with the arena situation in conjunction with UK. I don’t live in Lexington, so this isn’t a political statement.

  10. 69UKgrad
    12:55 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    The Orlando Magic’s new arena (completed 2010) is the most state-of-the-art basketball facility in the country. It would be in UK’s best interests for Mr. Barnhart to at least check out this new arena. I have been there and it is quite impressive.

  11. ryan
    12:59 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    How about thinking outside the box and creating a sports campus that is functional, unique to UK and Lexington, and beautiful. Why build another version of someone elses stadium that is over a decade old? Something that is different and progressive!

  12. drewsster02
    1:01 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    While suites and luxury boxes are appealing, the greatest need from a fan perspective is for more standard seating period. UK would sell out 33,000 seats. My hope is that if a new arena is constructed that the powers that be will also keep in mind those that won’t be using the suites. Anything less than what we have, isn’t worth it.

  13. boyd crowder's bible
    1:14 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    we don’t need a “newer rupp”. we need a state of the art facility. we need luxury boxes. lux boxes = more money. more money is good for the university & athletics. just because we can sit 25-30k ppl doesn’t make it the best idea.

  14. Sylvar
    1:21 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    13 – Smaller Arena just means more money for scalpers. I live in Columbus, Nationwide Arena is a poor basketball venue….let me rephrase, Nationwide Arena it not a GREAT basketball venue. I want UK to have a great place to play where, and yes – I want more seats. Not 10,000 more, but 2 or 3 thousand more would be good.

  15. It's a Celebration
    1:32 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    What people don’t seem to get is that this new arena will have nothing to do with capacity, being state of the art or because UL has a new one. The capacity will be there and it will be state of the art. It has everything to do with revenue. UKAA is missing out on additional revenue from a lack of luxury boxes and suites. Plus it would free up the current arena for other events which could boost revenue for the city. Bottom line it’s about money and not being the gold standard although we will be when it’s all said and done.

  16. exiledfan
    1:59 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    I just hate to see UK basketball leave downtown Lexington. I was just back there last week and the downtown is beautiful and vibrant. On game day the downtown is ALIVE!!

  17. exiledfan
    2:01 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    I just hate to see UK basketball leave downtown Lexington. I was just there last week, and the downtoan is beautiful and vibrant. The place is ALIVE on game day!

  18. Gillespies Tab
    2:34 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    #6..wrong, we dont need a new football arena, we need to learn how to get top recruits out of Ohio. Ever heard of Cincinatti? Right up the road, where is all that talent going…probably Columbus

  19. UKfanNKY
    2:40 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    Be sure to wear your KENTUCKY gear proud in Columbus!!!! They still have hard feelings about the loss in the Tournament. I was up there last month for a couple of weeks on business and of course wore my BIG BLUE gear proud and got some dirty looks…haha.

  20. Beat Tennessee. Now
    3:54 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

  21. teri
    7:00 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    Glad UK is getting new nicer arena… but the people in charge of it being yes or no dont need to travel around to see other arenas. UK new arena needs to be unique different in it’s own. It needs to have a ton more seats forget about luxury suites and company boxes. Keep it free of that. Make sure there are alot of seats for fans to be able to go and see their cats play. It is not about the RICH it is about the common Wildcat fan who wants to see the cats play ball and enjoy the team. Dont focus so much on the rich and corp boxes. . focus on the die hard UK fans and build an arena that will seat 30,000 and give us all a chance to see the cats play games. That is what is wrong we have a nice arena but the season tix holders are just boring at times. when i watch a game – I see them sitting around not into the game. I have been to games and there are times no cheering just people sitting there doing nothing – texting and not even paying attention or cheering on the wildcats why is that? Season ticket holders should give up their seats every 4 yrs so us common blood uk fans could get season tickets and go to some games.

  22. HemiCat
    10:04 pm August 10, 2011 Permalink

    They should also go to the MOPAR Nationals since it’s the same weekend and just down the road in Hebron, OH a few miles east of Columbus at the National Trails Raceway.

  23. UKinCBUS
    10:14 am August 11, 2011 Permalink

    Why check out the arena where UAB upset us thanks to Nolan Richardson stealing our signs after attending UKs practice? Still have visions of him screaming our plays to UABs coaches…ugh.