On Sunday I went to Auburn, AL to watch my little brother graduate from that university. I still don't know why he went against the wishes of his older brother, but that's a different topic. The commencement was held at Auburn Arena, and I found myself comparing it to the Hump.
This wasn't the first time I'd been to Auburn Arena (two year old, $100 million facility), but the first time I was thinking more about MSU beating the Tigers than taking in the arena itself.
The first thing I really noticed were the padded seats. Every seat was that way except for the fold out bleachers the students sit (or stand) in. Padded seats are a nice amenity for the alumni and fans who aren't 20 years old. The students typically stand up the entire time anyway, so why not give them bleachers?
Also, the student section's bleachers were about eight rows deep all the way around the court...at floor level. That makes sense to me - put the noise makers as close to the action as you can get them.
The second thing I noticed was how small the arena is. It's supposed to seat 9,000+ but compared to the Hump (which seats 10,500) it looked like it might get 7K in there. The upper deck consists of about five rows all the way around....and it may actually be some sort of club level. The fact is, those seats weren't very high up...every seat in the arena was a good one. For the graduation, I was sitting around mid-court, halfway up and I felt close to the floor.
Even for the basketball game I attended there in 2011 it was an intimate feel. Of course, Auburn basketball is pretty pathetic. Looking at their list of championships while I was there....it's not too good. But I do like what they've done with the seating in Auburn.
I don't know if there's anything that could be done to make the Hump more like this arena, but I do like their layout for any future arena plans. There were plenty of complaints about the Hump's atmosphere this past season, so maybe some changes like these would help.