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Official Review by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The University of Delaware (UD) is the largest university in Delaware. It has 18,500 undergraduate students and has public funding, although it is not wholly a state run institution. It was originally created as a Presbyterian free school back in 1743. U.S. News & World Report ranked UD's undergraduate program 75th among "national universities" and tied for 29th among public universities in its 2016 rankings.
The university’s College of Engineering is highly ranked nationally, as is the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics.
The University of Delaware football program has been extremely successful nationally, while the UD basketball struggles a bit more. In seven appearances in postseason tournaments, the Fightin' Blue Hens are yet to win a postseason game.The Fightin' Blue Hens have appeared in the NCAA tournament five times, most recently in 2014 where they fell to Cincinnati in the first round. They play in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
The Bob Carpenter Center opened in 1992 to house the University of Delaware basketball teams. In 2010, a new entrance and other renovations spruced some of the place up a bit. The “Bob,” as it is commonly known, is also a frequent venue for concerts and other events.
The Bob Carpenter Center is also home to the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League.
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".
The south and north concourses each have concession stands. These are standard snack bar type stands, with hot dogs for $2.75, Pepsi starting at $3 and $1.75 candy bars. There is nothing special, but if you need a soda, these are your places.
Luckily before you even get far past the arena entrance, you will find a Pit barbecue stand in what appears to be a semi-permanent location. The stand offers a decent variety of food combos. The rotisserie chicken combo is a decently-priced $9.75, and the daily special this day was orange chicken. All combos come with two side items. You can also make your own platter from choosing three side items for $6.25.
There are two temporary stands for the UDair Creamery, offering ice cream made only feet away from the arena. This ice cream is extremely fresh and very creamy. Do not pass a chance to get one of these ice creams.
There is also an enclosed Bob Carpenter Club above the north concourse offering amenities for certain seat holders.
The concourse is at the top of the arena, looking down towards the playing surface. There are four seating sections around the court, although the one near to the band is mostly covered in a Blue Hens tarp.
The main stands are mostly chairback seats, although there are some old-style bleacher sections on the ends of the south section. These are very uncomfortable, so it is recommended to avoid these sections. These bleachers are also the only part of the arena facility that show a great deal of age. There are some seriously rickety railings along these sections.
Besides the very good pep band, there are cheerleaders and a dance team. The mascot, YouDee is always around the arena creating fun.
Newark (pronounced here as New-Ark) is a great college town. There are numerous food options on East Main Street that will fill you up before or after a game. Grain Craft Bar+Kitchen is a new craft beer and food restaurant on the far upper part of East Main that offers some great choices.
Other popular options are Catherine Rooney's Irish Pub and Grotto Pizza. El Diablo Burritos is brand new to the town and offers huge, but affordable, burritos with an amazing variety of options.
Parking on East Main Street is always a bit of a problem. There are many public lots, but note that they may be behind buildings and hard to find. Many restaurants offer validation for the public lots.
If you do not want to fight for parking, head the opposite way from downtown Newark and towards the gigantic Christiana Mall area. Right before getting there is Border Cafe, designated only with a large "EAT" sign. Their large and varied menu offers great Tex-Mex & Cajun options at a pretty cheap price. Try the catfish fajitas with a side of jambalaya.
Numerous dining and lodging options are prevalent around the Christiana Mall area, although if in search of lodging, one should look at the Embassy Suites located across from the baseball stadium.
Around the corner from the Bob Carpenter Center, behind Rust Ice Arena, is the campus-run UDairy Creamery. Stopping for a pre or postgame ice cream cone is a must.
The fan attendance can be pretty lacking. Generally games are filled to less than half of the arena's capacity. The UD women's team often draws as many fans as the men's team. When local legend Elena Delle Donne, now of the WNBA Chicago Sky, was playing for the Fightin' Blue Hens the arena was filled to capacity.
I also noted the lack of students. The arena is far from the various student housing complexes around campus so it may be expected. but it is a shame that the students cannot be there in bigger numbers in order to create a better atmosphere.
The University of Delaware is easy to reach, and is only a couple miles off of Interstate 95. You may have to pay some tolls, although locals will know how to avoid them as much as possible. Coming from points south on I-95 getting off at Maryland Route 279 will avoid the toll pretty easily, and it is a short drive to the stadium. There are plenty of parking options.
The prices are fair at UD games. The tickets range between $3 and $15. Floor seats go for $40 but you must be University of Delaware Athletic Fund Member to purchase.
Another great aspect to UD games is the free parking.
The UDair Creamery is practically worth admission alone. Do not pass up these fine offerings. But if you do then at least stop by the main location just around the corner.
Make sure to take a look at UD Athletics Hall of Fame and the athletic banners and trophies in the main lobby.
The UD mascot YouDee (Get it?) is fun and is always around greeting families in the arena.
The Bob Carpenter Center is a very nicely designed arena for a mid-major basketball program. If the crowd were to come support the team a bit more the building could be an intimidating place for opponents to play.
Member Review by shamus170 on Dec 09, 2012
Delaware basketball was thriving in the 1990s. The school made four NCAA tournament appearances, had a stellar coach in Mike Brey and a newly built arena. Through the decade, the Bob was constantly packed and rocking as the Hens won a fair share of games. Fast-forward to the 2012-2013 season and it has been a struggle since Delaware moved to the CAA eleven years ago. Though the team has improved recently, the crowds and atmosphere have dropped off. One constant is the arena as the Bob Carpenter Center reaches its 20th anniversary. The place still shines and from the outside to the concourses to the interior, this arena overall is a decent facility.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Jan 18, 2016
Cheapest tickets are $8 and you can sit anywhere. The sandwich station was very popular, a rare sight at this level of event. Try the ice cream, beware the lineups at halftime though. Nothing around here though other than a TGIF across the street, walked through campus on a Saturday afternoon and it was dead quiet. The Blue Hens are not very good this year, but are definitely worth visiting, be sure to check out the Hall of Fame to see Mike Trout's dad, who played baseball here back in the early 1980s.
102 E. Main St.
Newark, DE 19711
483 Stanton-Christiana Rd
Newark, DE 19713
270 E. Main St.
Newark, DE 19711
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