Nestled just outside of downtown Nashville lies the gorgeous campus of Lipscomb University and their impressive basketball venue, Allen Arena.
Opened in 2001, Allen Arena is a great facility that holds a capacity of just over 5,000. It’s very easy to understand how loud Allen Arena could get with the way the building is constructed.
As a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, Lipscomb rarely gets the big schools to play in their gym. However, they have a great home-court advantage at their disposal if they can just garner the fan support.
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There's a lot to be desired when making a trip to the concession stand at Allen Arena. There's nothing that jumps out at you when looking over the menu to make that pivotal choice.
Even though the options are very limited, the prices range from $1 to $4, with the high ticket items being things like chili cheese nachos and chili cheese dogs. Corn dogs are only $3, and they get the job done.
If you're a health nut, whole fruit is on the menu for just $1. This is an interesting option for a sporting event.
Beverages are 20-ounce fountain drinks or 20-ounce bottled drinks for $2. Bottled water is also available for $2.
Don't come to Allen Arena expecting something unique, because the items are as basic as you can get. With that comes a bargain price to keep you from wearing out the wallet for snacks.
The excitement was lacking in an extreme way on the night I attended when the Bison welcomed in Kennesaw State. It was actually quite shocking to see such a thin crowd for a basketball program that has enjoyed plenty of success over the years.
The four scoreboards on each corner are a nice addition to the view of the game from your seat.
There was very little done throughout the game to get the few fans that were there involved in the game. The P.A. announcer was enthusiastic, to his credit, but the arena was so silent that his voice almost shattered your eardrums when he announced a score.
Not even as much as a simple t-shirt toss into the stands was done. There was one fan contest done late in the game that pitted two people against each other to see who could make a layup, free throw and three-point shot the fastest. The winner got a free, full-service oil change.
The small band saved the bland atmosphere by playing some great tunes to make it feel like a college atmosphere. Without them, this would have felt more like a library than a basketball game.
The campus of Lipscomb University is located amongst an old residential area full of beautiful houses. The area surrounding it is very cozy, but there's very little to do in the surrounding area.
There are two restaurants that I spotted right near Allen Arena; Subway and a little pizza parlor called Pizza Perfect Kebob. I advise that you check out Pizza Perfect Kebob after making a trip to Allen Arena to enjoy some great pizza.
You also don't have to go too far to find all of the restaurants you would need, and downtown is just a few miles north of the campus. You can see the Nashville skyline in plain view.
You're not going to find a whole lot to do near Allen Arena, but at least downtown Nashville isn't too far down the road.
The fan support was shockingly lacking at this game. The commands of the respective coaches yelling out plays to their team were all that could really be heard.
Furthermore, there was virtually no student support at this game. The students that were there didn't seem to have any interest in the game itself.
There was a decent group of alumni at the game, but they made very little noise.
I will give the fans some credit for showing signs of life towards the end of the game when it was still really close. The game ended up going to overtime on two made free throws by Lipscomb. That flipped a switch in some of the fans to start making some noise during the ensuing overtime period.
Once the fans got a little into the game, the Lipscomb players fed off that excitement to pull away in overtime.
It was still a little disappointing to see virtually no student support for a basketball program that has enjoyed such a successful past.
This was by far the most disappointing part of the evening. There was no organization on the part of Lipscomb University to direct visiting fans on where to park. No signs were presented to tell a visiting fan where they're allowed to park on campus.
We first tried to park in a small parking garage, but a campus employee told us we could not park there, despite there being no sign that said that. He directed us to another level of the parking garage, and that led to our getting trapped at a dead end in this tiny parking garage with no spots.
After driving around for another ten minutes, we finally came across a small parking lot that was a decent walk from Allen Arena.
This was a very frustrating start to the night, and a few signs would have saved a lot of hassle. At least the parking was free.
The worst part about this whole issue was that this parking nightmare was probably not even related to the game itself, because there simply weren't enough fans at the game to justify the headache.
As for finding Lipscomb University, there are plenty of main roads that will get you near the campus. You do need to make a few turns once getting off the main road, but taking Interstate 65 will get you reasonably close to the campus.
Tickets for a normal night are $9 for general admission, and $12 for reserved seating that includes chair-back seats. The general admission ticket will put you on the baseline in the bleacher seating.
The ticket prices rise slightly when Lipscomb welcomes Belmont to Allen Arena for the "Battle of the Boulevard". Belmont is Lipscomb's biggest rival mainly because the schools sit just miles apart.
Two people can easily enjoy themselves at Allen Arena for under $30, but the atmosphere does need to show some improvement to make the investment a little more worth it.
There wasn't a whole lot that stood out on this particular night that ended in a win for the Bisons, but the friendliness of all of the stadium staff made us feel welcome from the start.
An extra point goes to giving the kids something to do throughout the game by putting an inflated bounce house on the concourse. That house seemed more popular than the game itself for much of the evening.
I'll give another extra point for the band doing a great rendition of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train". They were small, but effective throughout the game.
If you attend a game at this arena, your eyes will probably be throbbing by the end of it due to combination of the Lipscomb Bison's terrible play and the fact that this arena is darker than a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse at night! In all honesty, trying to watch the action (or lack thereof) at the end of the court puts more strain on one's eyes than reading by candlelight during a power outage! In addition, the Lipscomb student section does not get into the game at all because, in addition to their team being consistent losers for the past few seasons, they are more concerned about making their 10 P.M. curfew. I'll give the Lipscomb promotions staff a little credit for putting together an intense highlight reel for the player introductions, but when their team plays so poorly, the hoopla seems a little ridiculous. There is a bounce house in the concourse, but there are no noteworthy in-game promotions that provide fans over the age of 8 with a source of amusement to make up for the fact that the watching the Lipscomb Bisons play basketball can be downright torturous. The best thing that can be said about the area in which Allen Arena is located is that it is only two miles away from the Curb Event Center, the true crown jewel of Nashville college basketball arenas. There really isn't anything exciting in the immediate area of the Lipscomb campus. The only thing that can make a game at Allen Arena worth going to is if Belmont is playing against Lipscomb in the annual Battle of the Boulevard because the Bruins actually know how to play basketball well!
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