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Texas regents approve deal for new campus basketball arena

University of Texas regents on Thursday approved a plan to build a $300 million on-campus basketball arena to replace the 41-year-old Frank Erwin Center. (Rendering courtesy: University of Texas)

University of Texas regents on Thursday approved a plan to build a $338 million on-campus basketball arena to replace the 41-year-old Frank Erwin Center.

Plans call for the facility to be built across the street from the football stadium. Seating for basketball games would be capped at about 10,000 with space for 5,000 more for concerts and other events.

"I'm fired up for the student athletes. I'm fired up for the City of Austin. I'm fired up for the students," said UT Vice President and Athletics Director Chris Del Conte.

The project pairs the university with Los Angeles-based Oak View Group - as well as Live Nation and C3 Presents - in a 35-year lease arrangement. Oak View will build and manage the arena at no cost to the university and taxpayers, and provide about 60 days annually for men's and women's basketball games and other events. The building will not include practice facilities for the basketball programs.

"We knew we needed a new arena. I'm cheap, and so if I can build something with no cost, I try to do it. It was a high priority," said UT President Gregory Fenves.

The developers will make money from concessions and non-university events like concerts for the next ten years. After that time, the revenue split between the developers and school may change.

"They generate revenue day one. They get to control the revenue streams they generate from their events, but they also participate in the revenue streams as well," said Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke.

Texas needs the new arena because the Erwin Center is slated to be demolished to make room for the expanding medical school.

The official announcement also said actor and Texas graduate Matthew McConaughey would be the arena's "Minister of Culture."

Fenves says this will not only be a benefit to the university, but also to the city as a whole.

"It's a tremendous public benefit to the university and city, and gives us a new home for events that are so important to our community," Fenves said.

The stadium will be just south of the Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Construction could begin this summer. The stadium is expected to open in 2021.

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