UCLA has e-mailed season and single-game ticket purchasers seeking their preferences of home venues for the men's basketball team next season. The Bruins are considering half a dozen different arenas, or some combination thereof, to fill in for Pauley Pavilion, which will be under renovation and unavailable.
The Los Angeles Sports Arena is the only venue available for all 18 of UCLA's home dates, and the Bruins played there from 1959-65, but its location adjacent to rival USC makes some players uncomfortable. The Forum in Inglewood could have accommodated the Bruins for the entire season, as well, but owners of Madison Square Garden have an option to purchase the Forum and plan on turning it into a concert-only venue, according to ESPN Los Angeles. If the players had their druthers, Staples Center would do nicely, but conflicts with the Lakers, Clippers and Kings leave only two of UCLA's dates open for use.
Preserving home court advantage is a major player concern. Sports Arena officials have offered to make cosmetic changes to lend a more Bruins-friendly feel to that venue, and UCLA administrators say mass transit to distant locations will be arranged so that students can easily follow the team wherever it winds up.
Other candidates and the number of dates they could accommodate (or that UCLA would consider at each venue) include the Honda Center in Anaheim (nine), Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario (two), Valley View Casino in San Diego (two) and RaboBank Arena in Bakersfield (one).
A likely scenario would see home games played at a variety of venues. "I think, without question, we're looking at the Bruin road show next year," Mark Harlan, UCLA's senior associate athletic director for external relations told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Peter Yoon. "We'll look at the survey and get a general feeling of where the flow is going."
A decision is expected within the next three weeks.
Meanwhile, UCLA's displaced women's basketball team, men's and women's volleyball teams and gymnastics team will likely host events in 2011-12 within the on-campus gym at the 2,500-seat John Wooden Athletic Center.