Auburn Arena ribbon cutting ceremony Friday

AUBURN -- The grand opening of Auburn Arena is scheduled for this Friday at 7 p.m. Central with a ribbon cutting ceremony beginning at 3 pm. The Auburn Athletics Department will then celebrate the official opening of the $86 million Auburn Arena with a basketball celebration highlighting the men's and women's basketball teams.

This will be the first opportunity for fans to see new head coach Tony Barbee and the men's basketball team in action as it marks the first day teams can officially conduct practice in preparation for the 2010-11 season. Barbee is bringing his exciting, up-tempo style of play to Auburn after averaging 20.5 wins per season in four years as head coach at UTEP. Barbee was named the 2010 Conference USA Coach of the Year after leading the Miners to an NCAA Tournament appearance last season.

He has advanced to postseason play in 18 of his 19 seasons as a head coach, assistant coach and player.

"Our guys have been working hard in the offseason, and we can't wait to meet our fans on Friday as we officially begin preparing for the upcoming season," Barbee said. "We hope fans will come out and support our team and experience Auburn Arena for the grand opening. It's going to be a great night. If you don't already have season tickets you better get them quick because you're going to want to be a part of what we're building."

A fan fest in the Auburn Arena Plaza at the north entrance will begin at 5 pm and a men*s and women*s basketball autograph session will take place in the Fan Fest Tent from 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm.

The Auburn Arena doors will open at 6:15 pm and seating is general admission within the section you have a ticket.

The Tony Barbee 3-on-3 Tournament *Battle on the Plains* championship game between Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity vs. the student body team, Better Than You, will begin at 6:20 pm on the main court of Auburn Arena.

The Auburn women's basketball team is also preparing to open its official practice season in the new arena with a team that returns all but one player from the 2010 squad. Coach Nell Fortner, the 2009 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, said the grand opening of the arena is a great day for Auburn basketball in what will be an exciting year that culminates with Auburn hosting the First and Second rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

"Auburn Arena will elevate our program to new heights, and it is going to be an absolutely incredible venue for our fans," Fortner said. "We are really excited about officially opening Auburn Arena and we want to encourage our fans to join us in the celebration."

Fans can order season tickets for the Inaugural Season in Auburn Arena online at, over the phone at 1-800-282-1957 or in person at the Auburn Arena Ticket Office located at 250 Beard-Eaves Court (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Central).

General Information:

*     Auburn Arena doors will open at 6:15 p.m.

*     FanFest will open at 5:00 p.m. at the north entrance of Auburn

Arena, complete with inflatable games, face painting and live music. The men's and women's basketball teams will sign autographs beginning at 5:30 p.m.

*     Seating is general admission within the section you have a

ticket for

*     The Auburn Arena Grand Opening event will begin at 7:00 p.m. and

will include the men's basketball team along with Head Basketball Coach, Tony Barbee; the women's basketball team along with Head Basketball Coach, Nell Fortner; the Auburn Cheerleaders, Tiger Paws, Pep Band, and Aubie; the Harlem Globetrotters

*     Prohibited Items: Umbrellas, video cameras, cameras with

detachable lenses, backpacks, recording devices, artificial noisemakers, food/beverage containers, bottles, weapons, pets, stadium seats with arms, alcoholic beverages and other items deemed inappropriate or hazardous by gate / security personnel are not allowed inside Auburn Athletics facilities.

*     The Auburn Team Shop will be open from 9 a.m. through the end of

the event

*     Concessions will be available throughout the event

Parking Information:

*     The parking lots surrounding Auburn Arena will be available on a

first-come, first-serve basis with the exception of the Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum lot which will be unavailable for this event.

*     ADA parking will be available in the Auburn Arena lot.

Additional ADA parking can be found in the parking deck on the southeast side of Jordan-Hare Stadium and the lot on the corner of Donahue and Magnolia (Old Credit Union Lot)

*     ADA shuttles will run from the following parking lots:

o     Parking deck on the southeast side of Jordan-Hare Stadium

o     Lot on the corner of Donahue and Magnolia (Old Credit Union Lot)

** All times are Central Standard Time