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Official Review by Steven Burke, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
When a venue hosts multiple teams it can be difficult to differentiate the atmosphere enough to make it feel like a distinctive home for different tenants. This can be even harder to accomplish when a college teams plays in the home of a professional franchise. While the primary tenant of the BMO Harris Bradley Center is the Milwaukee Bucks, it also serves as the home of Marquette Golden Eagles basketball and is that rare arena that provides two distinct game day experiences.
Plans for the replacement for the BMO Harris Bradley Center is in the works. The current venue may no longer be a state of the art facility, but remains serviceable and provides a great environment for college basketball.
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 BMO Harris Bradley Center has a great focus on food and beverage that just adds to the game experience. The venue has a large selection to choose from and all items are high quality.
The carvery is very stereotypical Wisconsin and that is a very good thing. It has a great selection of delicious hand carved sandwiches all served with chips and a pickle spear. All three offerings cost $14 with your choice of corned beef Reuben, downtown pastrami, and honey roasted ham. The downtown pastrami served on a pretzel hoagie with beer cheese and giardiniera is phenomenal.
A unique selection at two of the main concession stands is the chicken waffle cone for $9 with your choice of buffalo style or maple bacon. Another Milwaukee favorite is Usinger's sausages and the Usinger's concession stand does not disappoint, with hot dogs and sausages ranging from $7-$10. The price is reasonable and the sausages are delicious. Other stands include Qdoba, loaded nachos, My Greek Gyros, Cousins Sub, and Refuge Café.
The BMO Harris Bradley Center also has an impressive emphasis on something Milwaukee is known for and that is beer. All stands on the concourse serve the basic Miller products and a wider range is available at the Tap House stand along with the Leinenkugel lounge.
The BMO Harris Bradley has once again become an exciting place to enjoy college basketball and the people of Milwaukee are embracing and more importantly attending Marquette basketball. Under young head coach Steve Wojciechowski the Golden Eagles find themselves improving and looking forward to a bright future and the fans are just as excited.
The game day staff and ushers are extremely friendly and plentiful. You will never have to look far if you need assistance. Sightlines in the seating bowl are good for basketball all around and in both the upper and lower levels. The student section is always out in full force, filling their section behind the baseline and cheering on their team. Marquette definitely benefits from the large high definition NBA scoreboard above the center court providing video scripts and replays along with all the in game statistics you could desire.
Downtown Milwaukee is a great place with plenty of restaurants and bars within walking distance from the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Old World Third Street and Water Street are always busy after games and the streets of downtown Milwaukee provide a safe atmosphere for pedestrians. Many fans end up going out to a local establishment after a game, as many places run promotions in conjunction with each game with deals for a ticket stub postgame.
A quick one block walk from the BMO Harris Bradley Center is the Ale Asylum where you can find delicious food and beer brewed in house. The Asylum Burger is a great choice featuring a beef patty topped with aged cheddar, bacon jam, arugula, a fried egg, and pickled onion. Ale Asylum also has a Wisconsin favorite, fried cheese curds which won't disappoint.
If you are looking for a quick meal pregame or postgame check out Brick 3 Pizza; also just a block from the arena. Brick 3 Pizza is a great place to grab a slice or two.
Marquette basketball has a dedicated and interested fan base that begins with an involved student section that shows up to all home games. While the BMO Harris Bradley Center is an NBA arena it provides a distinctively different environment for college basketball and the fans have a significant amount to do with that. The city of Milwaukee has embraced the Golden Eagles as their team and they turn out in large numbers to show support. Between the students and the community Marquette has an active and involved game day experience.
BMO Harris Bradley Center is located in downtown Milwaukee and it is easily accessible from all directions with interstate access just a few blocks away. Once in downtown Milwaukee, parking is plentiful with various garages and surface lots within walking distance. You can keep an eye out for street parking as well as the metered spots which become free after 6:00 pm. I recommend arriving early if you want to look for street parking as it may require a search.
Marquette has a variety of ticket prices ranging from $10-$50; the Golden Eagles have also implemented a trend that is becoming more popular in all sports and that is prime games. Ticket prices vary depending on opponents with non conference games being the cheapest, followed by Big East games, and finally Big East weekend games being the most expensive. There isn't a bad seat in the BMO Harris Bradley Center, so depending on your budget and preference with location you should be able to find an affordable ticket. The secondary ticket market can also provide a great value especially for mid week games.
The quality of the game presentation including the video board is always superb. The video board is enormous and very impressive. It enhances the fan experience with HD videos during timeouts and also the best replays.
Another extra point for Marquette branding around the building, especially considering the fact that they aren't the primary tenant however, their branding is very evident and enhances the atmosphere as a true home for Marquette.
An extra mark for a small school (8,000 students) with a big-time following.
With the reinvigorated fan base, the improved performance on the court, and the level of competition provided in the Big East, Marquette basketball is definitely on the way up. This is a worthwhile trip to a great city for any hoops fan.
Member Review by paul
Milwaukee is one of the great sports towns in the United States. There's almost always a game in town, especially in the winter when you can choose to see the Marquette Golden Eagles, Milwaukee Bucks, or Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) at the Bradley Center, or the UW-Milwaukee Panthers, Milwaukee Iron (AFL), or Milwaukee Wave (MISL) at U.S. Cellular Arena. All that, plus an outstanding MLB stadium in Miller Park, and a complete devotion to the Green Bay Packers.
Of all of those winter options, the Marquette basketball experience is definitely the best. When the students begin to cheer, "We are (clap, clap) Mar-Quette (clap, clap)" at the end of a close game, you'll feel the experience at its best.
Member Review by mtrebby123 on Jan 12, 2013
The BMO Harris Bradley Center became the home of the Marquette Golden Eagles in 1988 when they moved from what is now known as the US Cellular Arena. It is the 15th largest arena in the country that hosts college basketball on a regular basis with a capacity of 18,850.
For Marquette games, the Bradley Center usually draws at least 15,000 and it is consistently close to a sellout for important Big East games and also when in-state rivals Wisconsin visit. The record attendance for a Marquette game there is 19,085, which was set in 2008 for Senior Day against Georgetown.
Also home to the Milwaukee Bucks and Admirals, the Harris Bradley Center sees its largest consistent crowds for sporting events when the Golden Eagles are on the court. While the Bucks draw an average of just less than 14,000 per game and the Admirals get a crowd of about half of that, Marquette easily has the most passionate following.
When the arena is full for a big game, the Bradley Center’s volume is among the loudest in the country. It may have been built as an NBA arena, but it has become a nice college home for the Golden Eagles.
Member Review by profan9 on Feb 22, 2014
Much has been made of a September 2013 statement made by current NBA commissioner Adam Silver about the inappropriateness of the BMO Harris Bradley Center for NBA basketball. The Bradley Center is the home of the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA, but is also home to the Marquette Golden Eagles of the revamped Big East Conference in the NCAA.
Opened in 1988, the Bradley Center was built without public money with a $70 million gift from Jane Bradley Pettit in honour of her father Harry. The Bradley Center has been home to various other minor sports in addition to the Bucks including indoor soccer and a few incarnations of the Milwaukee Mustangs of the Arena Football League.
It is also currently the home of the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. Marquette has called the Bradley Center home since its opening, and is one of a handful of NCAA programs that make their basketball home off-campus. The court at Marquette was renamed the Al McGuire Court after the legendary Marquette coach who coached his final game in the 1977 title game, which gave Marquette their only National Championship.
Marquette was one of the "Catholic 7" that left the old Big East Conference to go to the new Big East Conference, taking their name with them. The new/old conference left the football dominated conferences and schools and have returned a big conference to the NCAA where basketball is king. It seems that NCAA basketball is also king at the Bradley Center. The Golden Eagles provide the premier experience of the building and seem to be what is really happening in Milwaukee. Regardless of what Adam Silver says, BMO Harris Bradley Center is a great experience for basketball ... College basketball!
Member Review by newsome321 on Jul 02, 2014
Great college atmosphere, Big East is as big as ever!
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