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Official Review by Kurt Smith, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Alumni Gymnasium, or the Broncs Zoo, as it’s known by locals, is small but clean and modern. It is the kind of venue you’d refer to as “intimate,” rather than “high school sized.” It only seats 1,650, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in college spirit.
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I may have been the first person to visit Rider's Alumni gym to try the hot dogs. The food selection here is minimized to a few tables with a hot dog grill and students hawking Ball Park franks out of a package, along with slices of a local brand of pizza. They don't even have a supply of mustard.
There are a few snacks and drinks, but that's it. Still, it's cheap, so there's that. And there is a Starbucks in the student center near the concession stand table, so you can get a decent cup of coffee and a blueberry scone.
Rider's Alumni Gym is small, but it's still very clean and professionally outfitted. There are modern scoreboards and ribbon boards, and the action on the court is fast enough to make a spectator think, yeah, I'm probably not that good.
Reserved seating is on the side of the floor behind the player benches, and the general admission is on the opposite side, with another strangely oriented section tucked in a wall behind the visitor's basket. The reserved seating has backs and the general admission does not, and the GA section is a bit tight, especially since it gets more packed than the reserved seating in lean seasons. The lighting is plenty bright, and with the small size and noisy crowd it can make for a fun evening.
Lawrenceville is a residential community not far from both Trenton and Princeton. The college is probably the town's biggest employer. There isn't much in the way of eateries nearby, just a few sandwich and pizza shops down Route 206. But there is the Tastee Sub Shop, which is very popular with locals and this observer after trying a turkey sub. Tastee is perfect for a college town as the sandwiches are big and affordable.
For a team that has been struggling, the Rider fans are pretty enthusiastic. They are close enough to the action to goad opposing players, and the fans sitting close enough have no problem doing so. With the small arena, the fans can get very loud, and most of the crowd has a decent understanding of what is happening on the court. They're definitely a boon to the home squad.
It doesn't get much easier to get to a college basketball game. Rider's campus is just a short drive south on Route 206 from I-95, just where I-95 turns into I-295. The biggest difficulty for non-Jerseyites might be wondering why the interstate makes a U-turn. But the entrance is very visible and there is more than ample parking.
Answering nature's call is a bit difficult, with just one restroom each for men and women, and the men's room is too tiny to handle a crowd of 1,000+ fans. There's a lot of "excuse me"s exchanged in the men's room at halftime.
You can take the family to a Broncs game for not a lot of money, especially in the general admission seats, which are under $10. If you bring a large enough group, you can get GA tickets ridiculously cheap. But even the reserved seats are affordable, and if you don't mind a Ball Park frank as your game sustenance, the food is cheap too. The quality of the basketball is well worth the small amount of cash.
Did I mention there's a Starbucks? There's also a neat Rider Sports wall of fame just outside the lobby near the student center.
Member Review by shamus170
Playing in tiny 1,650-seat Alumni Gymnasium is Rider University, home of the Broncs. Fans have helped create a decent home court for the basketball team as they usually pack this cozy gym and the students, known as the Broncs' Zoo, make it a tough place to play.
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