In just seven hours, the Florida Gators will finally be home again.
That’s the most important takeaway from the opening of Exactech Arena at the O’Connell Center — I’m still going with O’Dome, by the way — on Wednesday night, for Florida’s men’s basketball team’s home opener against Arkansas-Little Rock. I’m excited to see the $64.5 million renovation in living color for the first time, and excited for the Gators who finally get to play on their home floor after a fall spent barnstorming.
But while I imagine the excitement is all but palpable among Florida’s athletes and coaches, and I think those figures have done a fine job of conveying that enthusiasm over social media — see athletic director Scott Stricklin’s message to Gator Nation, sent Tuesday — I also don’t know how much this moves the meter for the average Florida Gators fan, who might well be more concerned about Florida’s recruiting ranking or the health and/or draft prospects of Alex Anzalone than anything related to the O’Dome.
So I ask you this, as a topic of discussion: Are you jazzed about the O’Dome? Are you planning to go to a game in it this year? Does the revamp make you more excited to go to games? Or do you wish that all of those billions of pennies poured into this renovation were allocated to football, or not spent at all?