Commentary: In the Pac-12, the Utes are now a part of the arms race
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When it comes to athletics facilities, some things are about cosmetics — as important as player development and luxuries when it comes to impressing recruits, boosters and potential hires.
USC got mention of a palace because of an exterior that seems inspired by Spanish missions with a Victorian twist. The walls with uniform combinations and photos recognizing of its storied football tradition makes for great public relations. A giant video screen that initially appears to be a decorate wall accompanies the front staircase.
Oregon’s facility doesn’t need a double-decker sky bridge, but it sure looks cool — let alone the slack black exterior color on its windows and basalt walls. And paralleling Knight’s company, its signature brands are everywhere: the “O” is above the entrance and Ducks are seen throwing away a beaver on top of its trash cans.
Arizona’s branding strength is its appeal to boosters and alumni. Its sixth-story Sands Club will match any in the Pac-12, any in the SEC, any anywhere. It looks out on the stadium with climate-control temperature, relaxed lounge-style seating, numerous televisions, improved WiFi, mobile streaming support and a buffet, as well as beer and wine service.
Utah’s two-level observation deck overlooks the practice fields and the Salt Lake Valley. Inside, coaches have more than 47,000 square feet of office and meeting space at their disposal.
Utah is investing heavily into a variety of athletics complexes in its final step to fully fit into the Pac-12. Its football facility is just a chunk of the $64.2 million the Utes have invested in upgrades, which include $24 million for a basketball facility, $4.2 million for a new softball complex, $2.5 million for track upgrades and $1.5 million for an outdoor tennis facility.
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