There will be some significant changes coming to the seating arrangements in Diddle Arena this basketball season.
The Hilltoppers’ basketball home will have a new look, as the student section will no longer start on the baseline, but rather above the rail. In addition to that, the venue will now feature premium seating on one baseline, which will include 24 premium seats with courtside amenities.
The capacity of Diddle Arena has also been increased to 7,523, the program confirmed with the Herald. That’s an increase of 197 seats, as the previous capacity of the arena was 7,326.
This season, WKU’s pep band will be on the floor, rather than taking up part of the student section. This setup is like an NCAA Tournament format and serves to help open up the seats around the band, according to associate director of athletic media relations Zach Greenwell.
The student section previously featured a section of seats on the baseline and then extended up above the railing into the upper rows. The new setup will start the student section above the railing, allowing WKU to reopen the tunnel behind the goal to help traffic flow in the arena.
“This will help with some of the traffic flow through the other tunnels throughout the arena,” Greenwell said in an email. “If you take a look, the tunnel behind the goal has also received some new design work leading out into the hallway in order to heighten the experience as fans enter and exit Diddle.”
The new setup will not cause the student section to lose any seating, Greenwell said. The band previously extended into section 110 on the baseline, but now the students will get those seats back.
“The amount of seats removed from the lower section doesn’t outweigh the seats now preserved above the rail, on top of the ability to reopen the bottom tunnel as a convenient entrance/exit for fans,” Greenwell said in an email.
Sports Editor Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @JSChisenhall.