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Official Review by Danica Rhoades, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Founded in 1997, The Idaho Stampede is the official NBA affiliate of the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, and Utah Jazz. In the 2007-2008 season, the Stampede won the NBA D-League title. Originally the team played in the Idaho Center, located in Nampa, Idaho, before moving to their current location in Downtown Boise.
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".
CenturyLink Arena offers concessions in an open concourse that allows fans to get snacks without having to miss much of the action. The concourse overlooks the arena floor, and sits between the lower and upper levels of seating. Throughout the concourse fans can find: hot dogs, pretzels, Pepsi products, hamburgers, chicken strips, wraps, nachos, quesadillas, draft beer, wine, mixed drinks, Papa Murphy's Pizza, Blimpie Subs & Salads, Dippin' Dots, and other frozen treats. While the variety and set up are fantastic, the prices are a bit steep for most items.
The Stampede do a good job of providing entertainment for the fans. The Stampede Spirit dance team performs throughout the warm-ups and game. There are also several events in which fans get to compete for prizes. Between the third and fourth quarters, all the children are invited onto the floor for a dance party. And the half time show is always something really entertaining. At the game I attended for this review, for example, AcroDunk, a stunt dunk team, performed.
CenturyLink Arena is located right in the center of Downtown Boise. There are plenty of restaurants and bars for fans to visit before or after the games. The Boise Convention Center is located directly across from the arena. Shopping, hotels, and parking are all within a block of the arena as well.
The Idaho Stampede has a group of die-hard fans that attend nearly every game and are truly invested in the team. The majority of fans, however, attend the games when they have nothing better to do, when their children are being featured in an event, or when they want to treat their kids to a fun event. In close games, the fans get fairly involved, but when the score is lopsided (whether it is in the Stampede's favor or not), the fans check out for the most part.
Because the arena is located in the downtown area, there is plenty of parking available very close to the arena. Free parking, however, is pretty much non-existent. According the City of Boise's website, there are 3,500 parking spaces in the city-operated downtown parking garages. Visitors receive the first hour free in all garages except the Grove Street Garage, and each additional hour is $2.50. In addition, there are several privately owned surface parking lots available. Most of these lots charge a $5 flat fee for event parking.
Idaho Stampede games are very reasonably priced. For a fun night at a sporting event, the prices are very hard to beat. The cheapest seats are available for $7 and the most expensive are only $20. Any seats in the arena provide a great view of the action and are easy to access and comfortable.
CenturyLink Arena has several unique features that are bonus-point worthy. Because the arena is built into the Grove Hotel, the arena offers luxury suites that provide catered meals and overlook the arena floor. In addition, the Sports Zone Bar and Restaurant, located along one side of the arena, offers tables that overlook the action. During the Stampede games, the arena sets up a bounce house for the kids to play in (for a small fee). Additionally, a mini-blimp, which drops coupons down to fans, can be found circling the arena during sporting events.
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