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Official Review by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The American Airlines Center is the prime venue in the Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) area hosting year around sporting and live entertainment. The venue is home to the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA and the Dallas Stars of the NHL. The AAC, as commonly referred to by the local sports fans, opened in 2001 replacing the outdated Reunion Arena. The building is made of brick, limestone, and granite with signature arches located just north of the historic West End in downtown Dallas.
The American Airlines Center has hosted both of the Dallas Mavericks NBA Finals appearances in 2006 and 2011.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is no shortage of food or beverage when attending an event at the American Airlines Center. It doesn't matter if your tickets are on the lower, platinum, or upper level, you'll find something that is satisfying to your appetite. The prices are typically inflated for an NBA arena, however, there are a few game day special combos that could save you a couple of dollars.
There is an abundance of concessions stands throughout the arena including Big Dawgs, Pizza Patron, Fast Break, Taco Bueno, Grilled Zone, High Steaks, Hot Popped and Twisted, Bubba Burger, BBQ Stampede, and Motley's Pub. To see the incredible variety that the AAC offers when it comes to food service, view their concessions website.
If none of the 10 concession stands mentioned above satisfy your appetite, there is a Market to Go which offers fresh deli sandwiches, vegetarian options, tossed salads as well as bottled beer.
There are numerous alcohol selections inside the AAC not just with the food concession but specialty beer bars such as the Texas beer bar serving Ziegenbock, St Arnold's, Fireman's 4 and Franconia, Blue Moon Bar with all the Blue Moon products, and Import and Craft bars with beers around the world such as Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale from Oregon, Goose Island (Chicago), Brooklyn Lager (NY), Alaskan Amber (AK), Kirin Iciban (Japan), and Stone Arrogant Bastard (CA). The prices are typical within the NBA ranging from $7-$12 dollars. Woodbridge wine is sold for $8.00 a glass.
Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper products are served with the prices being between $4.25 for a regular size and $8.00 for a bottomless souvenir cup.
The AAC also features full service restaurants. The Pira is located on the southwest corner of the arena and can be accessed by patrons with or without event tickets and stays open until 2:00 am on event days. The Pira is a Latin-themed eatery/ultra-lounge that provides a wide variety of beer, wine, and spirits and is complemented with outdoor seating, a DJ booth, state of the art lighting, and TV screens to keep a festive atmosphere well after the event is over. The Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Club is another full service with outdoor seating located on the southeast corner, however, you'll need an event ticket to enter this area. The Jack Daniels's Old No. 7 Club is a sports bar with food such as brisket, wings, nachos, and other sports bar favorites. There is a separate area in the Old No. 7 Club on the lower level that provides a more global dining experience. If you want an interesting place on the upper level of the arena away from alcohol, check out the Dr. Pepper Fan Zone which provides food such as brisket, chicken, and the Dr. Pepper float. Platinum level seating provides the rest of the unique bars and restaurants that the AAC offers to its patrons, including the Remy Martin V Bar, Red Bull Lounge, and El Jimador Tequila Bar.
The atmosphere begins before the American Airlines Center doors open on the south side of the arena in AT&T Plaza @ Victory Park. On the plaza there are games, music, and just an overall festive atmosphere. There is even a chance for a ticket to the game for the person that shows Mavs spirit along with an introduction on the video board during the game.
On the court, just before the game begins, flag bearers run onto the floor spelling "Mavs" and are accompanied by the Mavs Dancers. The Mavs drumline, Mavs Man (along with the Mavs Maniacs), and the Mavericks mascot, Champ, keep fans entertained during stoppage of play. The Mavericks provide different types of halftime entertainment throughout the season. The Mavs pro shop is called "The Hangar" and inside you can find Mavs gears. The overall atmosphere is one of the best in the NBA.
The arena is located on the northwest edge of downtown Dallas, just a short walk away from the historic West End section. The West End section consists of restaurants such as Sonny's Bryan's Smokehouse, Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse, Gator's, TGI Friday's, Spaghetti Warehouse, Hard Rock Café, Dick's Last Resort, and House of Blues-Dallas with key tourist attractions such as the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Sixth Floor Museum and the Holocaust Museum. Victory Park outside the south entrance of the arena consists of The Victory Tavern, Shooters, Kenichi, The Pira, or Cook Hall (located inside the W Hotel-Residences). These are good options if you want to stay next to the arena. The Dallas / Forth Worth area provides one of the largest urban centers in the United States. Within a short drive, there are amazing restaurants and attractions to explore while visiting the Metroplex.
Dallas has numerous lodging options around the AAC, including the Holiday Inn Dallas Market Center, W Dallas - Victory, and the Hilton Anatole.
The Dallas Mavericks are continually in the top five of the NBA when it comes to attendance. Fans are engaged, energetic, and at times can make the AAC one of the loudest arenas in the NBA. Having an owner such as Mark Cuban, who started his journey as a fan and sits on the sidelines cheering on the Mavs and often arguing over a bad referee call, really keeps the fans engaged. Fans show up in their Mavs gear every game and can often be found in more festive attire during holiday games. They are such a solid and proud fan base that the title of MFFL - Mavs Fan for Life - is not just a saying but a reality.
The American Airlines Center is one of the better downtown venues when it comes to parking with about 5,000 parking spaces available for guests. The parking lots open 2 hours prior to the start of the event. Cash parking is available in the parking garage across the street in the AudiPark Garage or various color-coded parking lots within a few blocks of the AAC ranging from $15-$40. There is additional parking south of the arena throughout the popular West End area where you can enjoy a pregame meal before a short walk to the arena.
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), along with the Trinity Rail Express (TRE) provides regular service to Victory Station which is located on the west side of the AAC. These two transportation services can connect you from anywhere in the Dallas area including the DFW airport and Fort Worth. In addition to the regular timetable, the TRE runs a special event train that leaves Victory Station 20 minutes after the end of the event so you won't have to miss the end of the game to catch a train.
The venue doors open 1 ½ hours before tip off. Once arriving at the AAC, there are four main entrances which provide quick entry into the building. The south side entrance is accessible from Victory Plaza where pre-event activities are provided before events. The west side entrance caters to public transportation including taxis or drop-offs. The north and east side entrances are primarly used by patrons from the parking garage as well as the box office. The AAC box office is located on the northeast corner of the arena. Concourses are well marked and spacious and you'll easily notice elevators providing access to the Platinum Club, suites, and upper level seating. The AAC stairs are in the corners of the building for walking access between the levels along with elevators.
When it comes to ticket pricing a lot depends on the customer willingness to pay for a certain area of seating to watch the game. Tickets can be found for as low as $5 in the upper level sections thanks to dynamic pricing. Mavericks tickets average around $51 per ticket which is under the NBA average. Owner Mark Cuban has made his commitment to filling the AAC on a nightly basis, so if you are willing to take a chance to get a great seat for under the normal price, you can wait at the box office a couple of hours before the game with a possibility of buying unsold tickets (usually singles).
An extra point is warranted by the Mavs Maniacs, an all-male hip-hop dance troupe, Mavs Man and the Mavs drumline for their in game entertainment.
Another point goes to the way the Mavericks organization honors the support from their season ticket holders with a banner filled with names of the season tickets holders hanging from the rafter along with the listing of the last 3 years in the concourse.
The American Airlines Center event operations, game day staff, and the overall maintenance of the venue really help to enhance the overall experience. Even after 15 years the AAC looks brand new.
And, of course, an extra point goes to Mark Cuban as the Mavericks owner because he seems to truly care about the Mavs product both on and off the court.
With the American Airlines Center being a premier venue, in a great city, and with an owner that wants the fans to love the team as much as he does, attending a Mavericks game is one of the best NBA experiences that you'll find.
The American Airlines Center (home to the Dallas Mavericks and Stars) is something of a hidden gem for North Texas sports.
Ask any sports fan in the area about their favorite venue and they'll fondly refer to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, an old-timey, traditional stadium that has been home to the Rangers since 1993.
You may have also heard about the spaceship-like structure that sits right next to the Ballpark that houses the Cowboys. That stadium isn't too shabby, either.
However, frequently lost in that mix is the American Airlines Center, completed in 2001.
The Mavericks have won at least 50 games and qualified for the playoffs in each of their nine seasons playing at the AAC, and their fans have turned it into one of the NBA's premier home-court advantages.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Mar 11, 2013
Located on the northwestern edge of downtown Dallas in Victory Park, the American Airlines Center (AAC) is home to the Dallas Mavericks as well as the Stars of the NHL, not to mention dozens of concerts and shows every year. The stadium opened in 2001 and it still appears to be brand new, making it one of the better venues to catch some NBA action.
From the outside, the stadium is quite beautiful, resembling an old train station rather than an entertainment venue. The exterior of American Airlines Center is composed of brick, limestone and granite and the signature arches give it the unique look. As you drive north on I-35E, the AAC majestically appears on your right. It could be an old airport perhaps, and with the naming rights purchased by American, the locals often refer to it as "The Hangar" because of its unique design. Interestingly, the arena lies below certain flight paths leaving DFW airport and on a clear day, you can see the American Airlines logo on the roof as you pass overhead.
2501 North Houston Street
Dallas, TX 75219
3030 Olive St #105
Dallas, TX 75219
2400 Victory Park Ln
Dallas, TX 75219
2200 Victory Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219
2201 N Field St
Dallas, TX 75201
4500 Harry Hines Blvd
Dallas, TX 75219
2440 Victory Park Ln
Dallas, TX 75219
2201 North Stemmons Frwy
Dallas, TX 75207