Cameron Indoor Stadium in Downtown Durham?

Cameron Indoor Stadium

Creative Commons photo.

Last night I was accompanied to the DBAP for Bulls-Knights by a noted local writer. Between the two of us we’ve lived within a daily newspaper delivery of the Triangle for nearly a hundred years, both of us born and raised nearby, and we’ve resided here for about a half century, total.

As we marveled at people waiting in half-hour lines (we counted) for the food trucks parked beyond the right field wall, we considered what else unimaginable two decades ago was in store for downtown Durham in the next two decades. As mentioned before in a previous post of imagination, the five year-old, 3200-seat Durham Performing Arts Center leads the nation in attendance for venues of its size. There are at least two new posh hotels in development downtown. What’s next?

Well, what if Duke built a 12,000 seat state-of-the-art basketball arena downtown and moved the Blue Devils there? It could also be the top concert venue of its size in the region. It’s only one mile, if that, from East Campus.

My biggest fear about a move like this (I know nothing about the political obstacles, which I’m sure are vast) would be that college basketball continues to slide as a product, Krzyzewski retires, and Duke ends up with a half empty arena in 2025. It would be safer to stay on-campus in the legendary, quaint artifact.

But, right now, at this moment, walking around DBAP on Food Truck Night, it’s intriguing to imagine Duke-Carolina in downtown Durham in February.

2 Comments on “Cameron Indoor Stadium in Downtown Durham?

  1. The blue devils in a giant arena??? Only a tarheel would imagine such a thing. Duke basketball belongs in Cameron. We love our tiny, loud, student-centered (as opposed to booster-centered) venue.

    But maybe you’re right. Duke is already seeing fewer students at games than in the past. If the student numbers start falling in earnest, i guess there’s no reason not to ditch the student venue and move into a big, anonymous arena. Ugh. This is not a happy what if…

    • Nobody said it would be a “giant arena.” 12,000 seats is only 2000 more than CIS seats now, and 10,000 less than the Dean Dome and PNC in Raleigh. It would raise the capacity to roughly the same as the DBAP. It would make Duke basketball more accessible and, thus, the university more accessible, and more inextricable from downtown, which can be a big winner for the university. It would still be a uniquely smaller and perhaps more rarefied experience. The real dinosaur in this model will be the Dean Dome. I see no way that college basketball, in its current state, can support a gym of that size over the next two decades. UNC’s got a problem there. Duke can capitalize on that problem, but I don’t think they can do it with CIS.

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