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Official Review by Jonah Berman, Stadium Journey Co-Founder
Boston University's basketball program is in a tough spot: while they are a Division-I program, they belong to a university where the hockey team is nationally renowned, owning five national championships. Just up the road in one direction is TD Garden, home to the Boston Celtics, and down the road in the other direction is Boston College, home to the Eagles, who compete in the ACC against the likes of North Carolina and Duke, and often are present in the NCAA tournament.
The America East conference has produced some surprising successes in basketball over the years (see Vermont's first round upset of Syracuse in the 2005 NCAA tournament), and BU does have some basketball history - Rick Pitino was coach in the mid-70's and current NBA'er Raja Bell played there his freshman and sophomore years. But despite playing half of their home games in shiny, new Agganis Arena, the lack of fan support and enthusiasm around the team makes the experience a letdown.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Food and beverage at Agganis Arena is pretty standard. You have a range of options in the $4-$8 range, including hot dogs, turkey sandwiches, popcorn and nachos. Unlike many college arenas, you can buy beer, for $6-$7. On the night I was in attendance, only a couple of the many food vendors were open, making the selections quite limited.
BU's dance squad and pep band do their best to keep the crowd involved, but to little avail. It's not their fault; in a mostly empty arena, there's only so much one can do. Agganis is only five years old, so there's no real historical significance to speak of "" but the arena is clean and comfortable, and sight lines are good from most anywhere.
Agganis Arena is part of the University's John Hancock Student Village, which also includes student housing and a fitness and recreation center. The complex is quite impressive, and stretches over two blocks of a busy part of Commonwealth Avenue.
Fortunately for the foodie in you, there are plenty of options within walking distance. If you're a chicken finger junkie, Raising Cane's is right next door. Brown Sugar Cafe is a few short minutes up the avenue, and offers excellent Thai Food. The Upper Crust Pizzeria is across the street and serves up tasty thin crust pizza. UBurger is an excellent burger joint, and there's a Chipotle nearby for those needing a quick burrito fix.
All of these options, and more, are along Commonwealth Avenue and an easy walk. Besides the food options, the Paradise Rock Club is at 967 Commonwealth Avenue and hosts local and national music acts. And, the BU campus stretches east towards downtown, so if you're curious to wander, there's ample opportunity for that as well.
For a school with 30,000 students (undergrad and graduate combined), the turnout for Terrier basketball games is simply sad. To be fair, on this particular night, a strong snowstorm was predicted to come into town around midnight. But still, most students live on or near campus, making a walk to the arena very easy. There was a smattering of students spread across the arena, but no real communication or collaboration around chants, cheering, or jeering the opposition. And this was a conference game, for a Terrier team that was standing in 3rd place in the America East at the time, with a shot to inch closer to the top. The team certainly isn't gaining any boost off of their home crowd, that's for certain.
Agganis Arena sits right along the MBTA's Green Line (B), and fans can get off at the Pleasant St. or St. Paul St. stops and be right in front of the arena. Once inside, the arena is easily walkable and both food vendors and bathrooms are found quite quickly. Parking is somewhat limited, so your best bet is to hop on the T.
Tickets for BU basketball can be had cheap "" for $10, which is certainly a bargain. But you're not getting a great experience for your money.
This particular night at Agganis was a double-header, with the women's game at 7 and the men's at 9. So, you get a small bonus if you're interested in checking out both games. The location along Commonwealth Avenue makes it a short walk to Fenway Park, a bonus for baseball fans.
Boston University's basketball program is competitive in the America East, but needs a spark to get students behind it. A run to the NCAA tournament would certainly help. While Agganis is a clean and comfortable place to watch a game, the list of Boston venues that one should visit before here is quite lengthy. Better to spend your money to catch a Terriers hockey game.
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1033 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
888 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02445
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