UCLA Men's Basketball Searching For Temporary Home For '11-12
UCLA will give fans "a say in where the Bruins men's basketball team plays its home games next season," when on-campus Pauley Pavilion "will be shut down for a renovation project," according to Peter Yoon of ESPN L.A. UCLA this week sent surveys to season-ticket holders and "individuals who have purchased single-game tickets to gauge their interest in other possible venues." The facilities under consideration are the L.A. Sports Arena, Honda Center, Staples Center, Citizens Business Bank Arena, RaboBank Arena and Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. The "most likely possibility is that some combination of those arenas will be used." UCLA Senior AD for External Relations Mark Harlan said that the school "will use the survey results to determine fan interest in attending games at the listed venues." UCLA "hopes to have a decision made in the next two or three weeks." Yoon noted the school had been "close to closing a deal to play all of its home games at The Forum in Inglewood, but the owners of Madison Square Garden recently purchased the Forum and plan on renovating it and making it into a concert-only venue, so it became unavailable." The Sports Arena is the "only one of the current candidates available for UCLA's entire 18-game home schedule next season." UCLA players indicated that they "prefer Staples Center, but that arena is available for only two UCLA home dates next season because of conflicts" with the Lakers, Clippers and NHL Kings. Honda Center, home to the NHL's Ducks, is "available for nine home games." A UCLA spokesperson said that the women's basketball team, men's and women's volleyball teams and the gymnastics team "also use Pauley Pavilion and will be shifted to the on-campus gym at the 2,500-seat John Wooden Athletic center 'in all probability'" (ESPNLA.com, 2/15). In L.A., Bolch & Holmes note the Sports Arena has "offered to spruce up its interior and accommodate 18 home dates, though some might be leery of the 52-year-old facility's proximity to USC." The UCLA men's basketball team "played home games at the Sports Arena before Pauley opened in 1965" (L.A. TIMES, 2/16).