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Cassell Coliseum

Blacksburg, VA

Home of the Virginia Tech Hokies

3.1

N/A

Cassell Coliseum (map it)
Washington Street & Spring Road
Blacksburg, VA 24061


Virginia Tech Hokies website

Cassell Coliseum website

Year Opened: 1961

Capacity: 9,847

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Kings of the Cassell

Named the ‘Best College Town in the South’ in 2011, Blacksburg is the home of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State College, or as it is more well-known, Virginia Tech. It has called Blacksburg home since 1872, and the Hokies have played basketball in Cassell Coliseum since it was opened in 1961.

Currently a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Hokies program has had modest success over the years. They have been to eight NCAA tournaments, but only two in the last 20 years, exiting in the second round both times. They were NIT champs twice (1973 and 1995), and have some notable alumni that have gone on to productive pro careers. They include Dell Curry, Bimbo Coles and Allan Bristow, who, along with Ace Custis, have had their jerseys retired and have banners hanging in Cassell.

3.1

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

Before making a food purchase at the first stand you see, take some time to walk around the concourse, as there is some variety to be found at the different stands. You will find the normal hot dogs ($3), nachos ($4) and popcorn ($3), along with Coca-Cola product soft drinks - go for the large in the nice, hard plastic souvenir cup for $5 - but you will also find some other items to satisfy your taste buds. Hawaiian shaved ice and hand-dipped ice cream ($4), along with homemade kettle corn and cotton candy ($5), are some of the options you will find, but my favorite is the chocolate milkshake ($4). They taste great, but it was interesting to find out that the stand that sells them is run by the Va Tech Dairy Club, and proceeds goes to help fund club activities.

Most of the stands appear to accept credit cards, but if you need cash there is an ATM located behind section 3.

Atmosphere    3

I found the atmosphere to be pleasant overall at Cassell Coliseum. It's an older facility lacking a lot of modern amenities, but it's still got some charm of its own. Some tips that may help you find your way around include the fact that odd number sections are one side of the arena and even are on the other. Also, as you enter a section portal, you are actually entering the middle of the section, and the odd number seats are to your left and the even ones are to your right. It could be a little confusing, but the ushers are friendly and helpful in assisting you to your seat. Seats are wooden and a little narrow, so depending on who you are sitting next to, you could feel a little cramped at times.

You won't find a large scoreboard hanging from center court at this arena. You will have to be satisfied with the ones that are located at each end of the floor. They provide all the information you need, along with stats for the five players on the court for each team, so they will suffice, it will just take you a few minutes to adjust if you are used to looking up above half court for that information.

Players enter and leave the court through a tunnel near section 18, which is located behind one of the baskets. Students and the pep band take up most of sections 1-5, so if you prefer not to be close to the music and rowdiness of the college crowd, you may want to avoid those sections. Sections 11 or 13 are preferable, as they provide a good view of the court and visibility to both player benches across the court.

If you like cheerleaders and dance squads, you will get your fill of them. They are out on the court at almost every timeout, more than I have seen at any other program during a game. This isn't a complaint, just an observation, and I appreciated not having to sit through a bunch of silly promotions by local sponsors. I was actually a little impressed that they had so many different routines.

The only disappointment for me came while I was walking the main concourse. I saw a sign stating 'Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame' over the entrance to a hallway. I was excited to go check it out when an usher stopped me to ask me where I was going. When I told him, he smiled politely at me and stated that the Hall of Fame was now located in another building. He also told me he didn't know why that sign hadn't been taken down yet, as a lot of fans had inquired about it. It was a minor setback, but worth mentioning in case you see the sign on your next visit and wonder where it is.

Neighborhood    3

Cassell Coliseum is located in the southern portion of a beautiful campus. If time and weather permit, take a stroll around before the game, as there are some good photo opportunities, especially the main entrance off of Main Street and the War Memorial Chapel. There are maps available on the university website, as well as mobile apps that you can use as a virtual tour guide. If you are into styles of architecture, you may appreciate the neo-Gothic nature of most of the campus buildings.

If you are traveling to the area from out of town, there is a nice Hilton Garden Inn about two miles from the arena that is reasonably priced and has a nice breakfast buffet. If you're looking to get a quick bite to eat, try Mike's Grill right on Main Street across from campus. This is not fine dining -- it's a basic burgers and pizza joint -- but the food is good and the price is right.

Fans    3

Hokie Nation is alive and well in Blacksburg. While the last couple of games that I have attended haven't been completely full, there have been decent crowds at both and a good turnout from the students, even on a late weeknight game. I noted a lot of fans wear the maroon and orange of the school, and it's great to see that support. The crowd stays pretty engaged throughout the game, although I didn't notice any particular chants or cheers that get them particularly pumped up or involved. Overall, Tech has a solid fan base that is supportive of their players.

Access    4

Access to the arena is pretty easy. Your best bet is to enter on Southgate Dr. and park at Lane Stadium, home of the Hokie football team. It's easy to get to and it's free! It's a short walk to the arena, but they also have shuttle buses that will take you over, which is a nice touch and comes in handy during inclement weather. The gate check experience was quick and efficient, and once inside Cassell Coliseum, the concourse flows pretty well and I never found it too crowded to maneuver around easily. Restrooms are of sufficient quantity and located throughout the concourse. Like any sporting event, exiting the parking lot/access road can be a little bit of a chore, but I did not find it to be an outrageously long wait.

Return on Investment    4

Considering the decent food options, free parking, fair ticket prices and the caliber of opponent that you can find throughout the ACC season, there is good value in a game at Cassell Coliseum. Depending on where you want to sit, you can increase your ROI by shopping around the secondary market on the web a few days before the game. Depending on the opponent, there is some value to be found out there.

Extras    2

The Hokie Shop, located between Sections 4 and 6, has a variety of gear and souvenirs and is worth a visit. It's small and can get crowded, but is a good place to pick up a memento of your trip.

I really enjoy the aesthetic look of the curved ceiling inside Cassell Coliseum. It gives an 'old-time' personality and feel to the arena that many of the modern homes of collegiate teams are missing. Don't get me wrong, I love new buildings - but sometimes it's cool to be nostalgic.

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Local Food & Drink

Mike's Grill  (map it!)

418 N Main St

Blacksburg, VA 24060

(540) 951-7391

http://www.mikesgrillblacksburg.com

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