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.
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 Bradley Center has come a long way when it comes to the variety of food. There are specialty restaurants like Qdoba, Saz's, and more throughout the 200 level of the arena. Also, there is a special gluten free menu on that same level. I'm not sure how many arenas have something like that, but I believe I can safely assume it is a rarity.
There aren't just specialty places to eat throughout the arena, though. You can find hot dogs, pretzels, nachos, and Pepsi products throughout the arena. Also, it is Milwaukee, so there are plenty of beer choices. There's a Leinenkugel's spot outside section 205, and Miller Coors products are available in most of the concession stands.
No matter where you're sitting, you will not be very far away from a good option for food. The Bradley Center does very well for itself when it comes to making sure fans are given plenty of options to avoid hunger.
While the Bradley Center was built as a home of the Bucks and an NBA arena, it has turned out to be a great home for Marquette. Not only does it hold over 18,000 people, but it usually is pretty full. Even if they are playing a team like North Carolina Central in December there is likely to be around 14,000 in attendance.
When the Golden Eagles go on a run and get momentum, the Bradley Center gets loud. Whoever designed the arena did a great job of making sure when the crowd gets loud the sound goes straight to the court. Some arenas that big for college teams don't necessarily maintain a loud atmosphere, but that isn't the case at the Bradley Center.
Whether it's before or after a game at the Bradley Center, there will not be a lack of options for food or drink. The arena is within walking distance of plenty of sports bars and also Milwaukee's hottest bars.
The Bradley Center itself isn't in a bad neighborhood by any means. It's right next to one of the younger parts of the city. Whether you want German food, a nice burger, or wings, there is not going to be a shortage of options for food or drink.
Most of the people that inhabit the Bradley Center for Marquette games have been fans for quite a while or are alumni of the school. That means they tend to get into the game a bit more than fans would for a professional team, especially the other squads that call the Bradley Center home.
When a referee makes a bad call, he hears it more than he might in other college arenas. Fans are also a bit closer to the court and the action than in many other arenas, which only adds to the intensity of the game. Fans aren't rude by any means, but they sure can get on their opponents in a big way.
Parking isn't an issue, really, if you're willing to pay $10-$20. If you're lucky or willing to walk a bit, you can find street parking around the Bradley Center.
To be sure of parking, though, there are a couple structures within a three or four minute walk of the arena, and also there are ground structures that are about five minutes. You will not have to go very far to get to your car, and also there are buses that run around the arena to take you to a few different parts of Milwaukee.
Tickets tend to be fairly cheap at the Bradley Center for Marquette games, but for big games they tend to get up in the range that good seats for Bucks game are. For a big game, win or loss, there is going to be a great atmosphere created by Golden Eagle faithful.
Whether it's against North Carolina Central or against Notre Dame: the Bradley Center usually gets pretty loud. It is going to be pretty loud at some point during the game, and the game presentation is also fine. There are plenty of t-shirts and other things given away during the game, and the mascot is also quite sociable. It's a good experience for people of all ages.
There really isn't much extra to the Bradley Center on a Golden Eagles game day. Outside of the experience of the game itself, the arena doesn't do anything special. It's about the same for the Bucks and Marquette. It will be a fun experience but there isn't anything that will jump out about the game experience outside of the game itself.
A NCAA Championship banner (1977) is always worth an extra point in my book. Hanging it next to a picture of Al McGuire is genius, and that perfection warrants another bonus.
Having an arena built for the NBA as a college team's home building can be risky. For schools like Seton Hall and Villanova it doesn't necessarily work out well. They don't draw enough in attendance to maintain a loud actual home court advantage.
That isn't the case for Marquette, as the Bradley Center is well occupied during games. They have a crowd that creates a real college atmosphere in a building that holds over 18,000. That itself is quite impressive.
If you want to see one of the larger college arenas in the country and a consistently competitive product that is supported heavily by its fans, then a Marquette game at the Bradley Center is a good place to go.
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.
1009 N Old World 3rd St
Milwaukee, WI 53203
4251 W State St
Milwaukee, WI 53208
333 W Kilbourn Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53203