The dynamic ad ribbons will allow CBS Collegiate Sports Properties — the firm Waddell hired to handle multimedia rights in 2011 — to offer a broader range of packages, Harris said, and should lead to a 20 percent to 30 percent increase in ad sales, a boost of $100,000 to $250,000.
"This really changes everything for Towson," said Bob Leffler, a Towson alumnus whose Baltimore-based ad agency works with the school and dozens of others across the country. "It's not how many people you seat, it's how you accommodate them. Advertisers now can attach their name to a place that is without a doubt a big-time arena."
The four Towson teams that will use the new arena — women's volleyball in the fall, men's and women's basketball and women's gymnastics in the winter — fill only 50 dates on the calendar, though. The rest must be filled by the school's Event and Conference Services staff.
Oster, the CFO, said the school has been approached by outside firms interested in managing the property.
"We could go that direction eventually," he said. "But we did not want to get into any long-term contract and then feel stuck."
The school is using Rockville-based Team Services LLC to negotiate a naming-rights deal. Harris said the school has targeted an agreement that would pay between $350,000 and $500,000 a year. At first, that money would be used to pay for projects the athletics department added to the building above the original budget, but ultimately, it would go back to the school's Auxiliary Services unit, its business and support arm.
Towson also has been cautious about striking up other deals. Oster acknowledged the school was approached about hosting an NBA Development League team but decided to pass, for now.
Concerts are a distinct possibility. Towson officials have invited local promoters to tour the venue, and hope others will show up for the Globetrotters games. Paul Manna, owner of 24-7 Entertainment, said he feels the arena will fill a missing segment in the Baltimore market.
"Our biggest club, Rams Head Live, seats about 1,500," he said. "Bands don't want to play the theaters, with 2,200 fixed seats [like the Hippodrome], and after that, you go all the way up to 1st Mariner."
Towson also hopes to host events for local business organizations later this summer to encourage rental of the facility.
Gayon Sampson, a junior at Towson and the chief of staff for the student body president, said his classmates have not questioned the use of their student fees.
"Nobody likes to pay fees," he said. "But there's genuine excitement about it. It's something we needed."
Leffler, who has been vocal about Towson's need to invest in men's basketball, believes the arena positions his alma mater to finally move into the heart of the average Baltimore sports fan.
"It's a sports town, but there's no winter sport," he said. "Whichever basketball team can get good enough, either Loyola or Towson, can move into that spot. That would really change everything."
Auburn Drive, Towson (behind Towson Center, across from Johnny Unitas Stadium)
Cost: $68 million
Premium seating: About 60 seats (four luxury boxes); about 340 club-level seats; 120 courtside seats
Amenities: Hospitality room, multipurpose room, store, three concessions stands, multimedia production facility (for online streaming of all events)