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Official Review by Rich Kurtzman, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion is located in Greeley, Colorado, on the campus of Northern Colorado University.
The Northern Colorado Bears play in the Big Sky Conference and their stadium reflects the smaller conference in its size. Butler-Hancock is a quaint arena, tiny in fact, with a basketball capacity of 2,992 fans. Bleachers are rolled into the multi-use arena as volleyball, basketball and many other sports take place there.
Still, despite the small size, taking in a game at Butler-Hancock is a truly unique experience. Fans are right up on the court and when it's packed, the arena roars with noise.
Opened in 1975, the arena has undergone many improvements including a new hall of athletics, a new sound system, a message and scoreboard center, ticket center and renovated restrooms.
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 are only two concessions stands, on the west side of the arena, and their food choices are very minimalist stadium fare. The stadium offers hot dogs, nachos, candy, popcorn and Pepsi products - that's it.
It's recommended you eat before attending a game due to the little choice of food.
Butler-Hancock offers a fun atmosphere. There are tons of kids and families along with some alumni and students. In the small town of Greeley, the arena is good old fashioned family fun as fans follow their Bears.
And even though it's a smaller arena, Butler-Hancock gets quite loud as the fans love to cheer on Northern Colorado.
The stadium is located on campus, and just off campus there are lots of fast food restaurants (Wendy's, Taco Johns, Jimmy Johns, etc.) to the southeast. Also, A.F. Ray's offers decent chicken wings while Downunder Hillside has a ton of beers on tap and very good food.
But, since Greeley is such a small town, it's tough to find fine dining and a vast variety of places to eat or shop.
Northern Colorado's fans are very good and the stadium was very nearly sold out even though the students are out of town due to winter break.
Fans are knowledgeable. They're loud when something good happens, cheering along, also loud when getting on the refs when they think there's a bad call.
Boisterous booing filled the night I attended as the refs blew many whistles in favor of the visiting team.
Even though their Bears lost that night, the fans still had a fun time and were overall in a good mood, teaching good sportsmanship to the youngsters in attendance.
Butler-Hancock is located on the Northern Colorado campus and it's easy to find because many roads lead right to it. There's an expanse of parking lots, all free next to the arena, which is extremely convenient for fans.
Because of the tiny size of the arena, there are only one set of restrooms on the west side, next to the two concessions stands, and beware, lines get very long at halftime.
The return on investment is solid because Bears games are one of the best and most fun things to do in Greeley on a blustery winter's night.
Tickets are very inexpensive at $15 apiece and it's entertainment for the entire family.
Not a whole lot of extras besides the massive inflatable bear in one corner and mini basketball game at halftime for fans. Also, Bears' mascot "Claws" throws out t-shirts to fans during timeouts and so do the cheerleaders.
Rich Kurtzman is the Rocky Mountain Regional Correspondent for Stadium Journey. You can follow him on facebook and/or twitter for links to all his pieces and many more photographs of stadiums he reviews.
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