As a season ticket holder, I was offered the opportunity to take a tour of Pauley Pavilion today and went to see where my seats would be and just how the new stadium looked. The seats have not been put in, there is no floor yet, no video screens or stat boards, but to sum it up in one word, new Pauley looks great.
The outside and new concourse that surrounds it is beautiful and modern, making the Bruin's home look like a real college basketball arena. Our tour guide-who has been involved in the renovation of Pauley for six years-told us all about how the concourse will be filled with memorabilia and facts about UCLA athletics. The entire stadium will be filled with blue and gold to give it a more UCLA feel. There are real concessions stands with a variety of food and finally, a real merchandise store.
Despite there being no seats, the arena itself felt a lot more intimate than it did before the renovation. There didn't seem to be as large of a distance from the floor to the nose bleeds, giving it the feel of a great college basketball stadium. We were told that all the seats would be blue with paint around the arena to match UCLA colors. The entire stadium will be filled with facts and stories about UCLA.
What I got from this tour was that the designers got it right with the renovation. Something old Pauley lacked was a UCLA-feel to it. Now, Pauley will be filled with UCLA colors and information wall-to-wall, giving it the true feel of a great college basketball arena. We've got the recruiting class, it seems we have the great new state-of-the-art stadium, now we just need the execution.
New Pauley is not merely old Pauley encased in glass, instead it is the history and design of old Pauley brought into the modern world in a beautiful and smart way.