• Search by team or stadium name:

Buy the latest issue of Stadium Journey Magazine - Subscribe Today!

Stadium Journey Sports Magazine Subscriptions

Bank of Kentucky Center

Highland Heights, KY

Home of the Northern Kentucky Norse

3.0

3.3

Bank of Kentucky Center (map it)
500 Nunn Dr
Highland Heights, KY 41099


Northern Kentucky Norse website

Bank of Kentucky Center website

Year Opened: 2008

Capacity: 9,400

There are no tickets available at this time.

Reviews

Local Information

Share
this

Norse Code

Opened in 2008, the Bank of Kentucky Center has taken the Northern Kentucky University Athletic Department to a whole new level - The NCAA’s Division I level. Due to the construction of the Bank of Kentucky Center, NKU’s entrance into Division I from the Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference was temporarily delayed when the Norse were rejected by the Ohio Valley Conference due to the conference’s members fearing the Norse would have an unfair recruiting advantage because of their new luxurious arena. NKU was eventually accepted by the Atlantic Sun Conference where they posted a .500 record in their first year.

With a seating capacity of 9,400, the Bank of Kentucky Center dwarfs the Norse’ old home, Regents Hall, while providing all the bells and whistles of a modern NCAA Division I arena such as suites, club seats, and courtside seats. These amenities have also allowed the facility to host other events such as concerts, the Division II Elite 8, and an indoor football team that was known as the Kentucky River Monsters.

3.0

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

There are indeed a few bright spots about the concession stands, or shall I say stand. The first bright spot is the fact that guests are able to purchase Cincinnati-style chili. Anyone who has been within a 50 mile radius of Cincinnati knows how legendary Cincinnati style chili is. It was a great move for the Bank of Kentucky Center to give their fans a taste of this unique style of chili.

The second bright spot is the fact that you can purchase an NKU souvenir cup from the concession stand. It's not very often that a small college team like NKU offers their fans a chance to purchase commemorative cups. These cups, like most of the other things at the Bank of Kentucky Center, certainly convinced me that NKU is constantly striving to be one step ahead of their competition.

My main complaint with the concession stand is that it is basically just one large stand. Yes, there is a small ice cream area in the back corner of the arena as well as a beer stand at the entrance to the facility. Outside of that though, there is only one area with about 6-7 cash registers from which to purchase food. As a result, the lines leading up to this one area can become quite lengthy before games and at halftime.

I was very surprised to see such an unbalanced design for the concession stands especially given the fact that I was sitting on the other side of the arena. I'm led to believe that eventually NKU will put some kind of concession stand on the other side of the arena so that those on that side (like me) don't have to make an odyssey to the other side of the arena for a pack of Skittles only to find out they have to stand in a lengthy line as well.

Atmosphere    3

The atmosphere is good but not great. I was thoroughly impressed with the NKU Hall of Fame room located in the northeast corner of the arena. I was also impressed with the amount of black and yellow that was used throughout the arena to give the Norse fans a genuine home court feel. You definitely get the sense that you are in "Norse Country" when walking around the facility.

Like everyone else, I too like visiting arenas shortly after they open so that I can see the newness of them before it wears off. Although the Bank of Kentucky Center is now five years old, the newness still hasn't worn off. The facility is still extremely clean, the paint is still bright, and the arena as a whole is still a state-of-the-art facility that belongs in the top echelon of mid-major teams. The real challenge for NKU will be what they do with the arena once the newness wears off to keep it at the top of the charts.

Neighborhood    2

Neighborhood? Well, there really aren't any neighborhoods of any kind around the Bank of Kentucky Center. To the west of the arena is the NKU campus, but even the closest building, the power plant, is a few blocks away from the arena. Outside of that, it appears that the Bank of Kentucky Center is in sort of a dead zone between campus and the small town of Highland Heights. I expect this to change as the years progress and the Bank of Kentucky Center brings in more high profile events. But in the meantime, your best bet for food is to head east onto the Alexandria Pike where a Frisch's Big Boy, an O'Charley's, and a LongHorn Steakhouse can be found several miles south of the Bank of Kentucky Center.

Fans    2

The game I attended happened to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, games in the arena's short history as the Norse erased a thirteen point deficit in less than three minutes to win the game in regulation. After the game, there were a handful of students who rushed the court so the arena did have a few student fans who took the game seriously.

Outside of that, most of the fans appeared to be apathetic towards the game. I was surprised to hear that NKU only averages around 3,000-4,000 fans a game given that NKU has boldly built an arena that is head and shoulders above their competitors while also taking the gigantic step of moving up to Division I.

Before the frantic final three minutes for the most recent game that I attended in early 2013, the arena was as quiet as I've ever heard an arena. The crowd seemed more interested in what was going on around them rather than what was going on in front of them on the court. If I were a visiting team, I would feel completely comfortable and at home at the Bank of Kentucky Center. Given the beautiful arena and Division I status that NKU has gotten for their fans, I expect a much better effort from them in the coming years.

Access    4

Unlike the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University nearby, Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky is a little ways off of the main interstates going through the area. But once you reach campus from the I-275 Bypass, getting to the Bank of Kentucky is fairly easily. Once you exit on to University Drive, the only thing in your way from the arena is an interesting but controversial roundabout.

Unfortunately, there aren't very many, if any, free parking spots within walking range of the arena. However, there is a large parking garage that fans can park in on game days for a mere $4. The garage and arena are connected via an iconic bridge that welcomes visitors to campus with the words "Northern Kentucky University" lit up in bright lights.

Return on Investment    5

The tickets to the Bank of Kentucky Center couldn't be any cheaper. I paid $5 a ticket during my visit and could have basically sat anywhere in the arena. For games that draw more fans, the most a fan should expect to pay for a Norse game is $7-$10. How many other places can you go and pay those type of prices for a facility as new and as nice as the Bank of Kentucky Center? I dare suggest that the Bank of Kentucky Center is every bit as good, if not better, than Xavier's Cintas Center and Cincinnati's Fifth Third Arena.

Simply put, the Bank of Kentucky Center is a diamond in the rough. Only a fool would pass on an opportunity to see this shiny, new, and affordable arena.

Extras    2

One extra point for the vision displayed by Northern Kentucky University in building the Bank of Kentucky Center while moving their athletic department up to Division I. Building an arena the size of the Bank of Kentucky Center isn't something most Division I teams can afford or have the courage to build. While there will certainly be bumps in NKU's first few seasons in the Atlantic Sun, the future for the Norse program is very bright.

One extra point for the NKU Hall of Fame inside the Bank of Kentucky Center. This side room is both free and educational for those wanting to learn about the history of both NKU athletics and the Bank of Kentucky Center. This room is great for reinforcing the Norse image and spirit throughout the building.

You must be a Stadium Journey member to post a comment.

Already a member? Sign in or Create a Stadium Journey Account

-- OR --

Crowd Reviews

A Great Up and Coming School

Total Score: 3.29

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 2
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 3

I have lived in the Northern Kentucky area for almost a decade and have seen NKU grow a lot. The Bank of Kentucky Center (BOK) is a huge upgrade from the very small Regents Hall. It is a legitimate Division I facility that would fit with a school twice its size. While there is not much of a neighborhood vibe around campus yet, the road system is easy to navigate and there is adequate parking. The food is above average and the occasional dollar beer nights are fun. The fans are hit or miss, there seems to consistently be around 2500-3000 people a game but the student section does not always show up. That being said I have seen a few games where they get several hundred students and they can be very active. This is something that will hopefully build up over time as they develop a fanbase as a Division 1 program. The tickets are dirt cheap and are free to students, combined that with the fact that the basketball team is actually pretty good makes it well worth the price of admission.

Share your thoughts about Bank of Kentucky Center

Local Food & Drink

Frisch’s Big Boy  (map it!)

2611 Alexandria Pike

Highland Heights, KY 41076

(859) 781-1225

http://www.frischs.com/

O’Charley’s  (map it!)

100 Cross Roads Dr

Cold Springs, KY 41076

(859) 442-9270

http://www.ocharleys.com/locations/markers.php?radius=300&state=KY

LongHorn Steakhouse  (map it!)

200 Cross Roads Blvd

Cold Springs, KY 41076

(859) 441-4820

http://www.longhornsteakhouse.com/locator_g/default.aspx?q=41076&RestaurantID=5198&cmpid=lh_ll_google

Local Entertainment

Lodging

w

© 2017 Stadium Journey