Just in time for the basketball season openers, a new $2 million center-hung video system was installed last Wednesday in the Frank Erwin Center.
The 3,500-square-foot LED display is part of a larger $4.25 million renovation project of the basketball facilities, which includes new floors, renovated locker rooms and wall graphics.
“You want to have great energy and enthusiasm when you’re in the arena,” women’s head coach Karen Aston said. “(The display) gives you an extra lift and makes the environment more entertaining. This will make the fans more excited and hyped, and that makes our team more excited.”
The new system was used Sunday for the women’s preseason basketball game against Oklahoma City University. A video was played before tip-off showing highlights, past UT players and clips of the team training.
“I think (the display) brings excitement,” junior forward Jordan Hosey said. “The video looked amazing on it, and I like how we can see our names during the game and the teams’ colors. It’s like watching a movie or something.”
The video system includes four main displays that will show the action on the court and other promotional videos, four upper displays of game statistics and a lower ring featuring the sponsors of the game. Another 360-degree ribbon displaying graphics was installed and runs around the seating areas.
Arthur Johnson, executive senior associate athletic director, said the investment in the center is worthwhile, despite its eventual demolition.
“This fan base will be excited with the product we have on the floor this year, and this just adds to it,” Johnson said. “It was important to spend the money and to invest in the Erwin Center now, because we’re going to use it for the next five to 10 years.”
In the 2016–2017 season, the women’s basketball team ranked 25th and the men’s basketball team ranked 36th in NCAA home attendance rates. The new display may encourage more fans to come out, government senior Eric Kasper said.
“I think it’ll make the entire arena look way more professional,” Kasper said. “The players will be pumped up when they see the school has invested in them, and it’ll probably attract more crowds. The more the school is willing to invest in the basketball team, I see that as a positive, and I think more people would be willing to come out.”