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Chace Athletic Center

Smithfield, RI

Home of the Bryant Bulldogs

2.6

2.1

Chace Athletic Center (map it)
1150 Douglas Pike
Smithfield, RI 02917


Bryant Bulldogs website

Chace Athletic Center website

Year Opened: 2001

Capacity: 2,600

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Chacing Bulldogs

Opened in 2001, the Chace Athletic Center is home to the Bryant Bulldog’s men’s basketball team at Bryant University. On its face, the 2,600-seat arena pales in comparison to the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, where Providence College plays, or the Ryan Center in Kingston, home of the University of Rhode Island Rams, but it possesses its own charms.

2.6

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    2

Chace Athletic Center isn't a sports food mecca. The small concession booth sells your usual offerings of burgers, nachos, dogs, and basic snack food. The prices, however, are quite reasonable, with the most expensive item (cheeseburger) ringing in at $4.50, but most items run you $2.50 or less. None of the food tastes poorly, it just lacks variety and imagination.

Atmosphere    4

Coming to Chace as an opposing fan or player is a difficult proposition. Bryant provides an incredibly electric and oppressive atmosphere despite the small venue, abusing opposing players and literally shaking the house to its very foundations.

This also isn't necessarily the right place to take your kids; the student section is big and loud, and they don't often have family-friendly filters on their speech. However, that really adds to the atmosphere in the building, giving it a big-time college sports feel, despite Bryant's firm status as a small-time D-I school.

The building has the feel of a slightly oversized high school gym, which is both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because it capitalizes on that feeling in just about every way possible; the atmosphere is oppressive for opponents, and the fans are just about on the court, even if they don't have courtside seats. On the other hand, it lacks some of the more modern amenities that would make it a top-of-the-line facility, and that deficiency has to be noted. Still, the people at Bryant obviously know the value of a student section, and it's an exciting place to see a game.

Neighborhood    1

If you've ever been to the area around Bryant, you'll understand why neighborhood only earns one star. There's nothing there. The University is located on a barren stretch of state highway that features several retail stores and hotels, and one bar. That establishment, called Parente's, is not actually a bad place to get a drink or a bite to eat, and has reasonable prices. It's also the big place to go for any Bryant student outside of making the 20-minute drive to Providence. For anyone looking to stay in the area, it's the only place to go.

One could assess points for the school's proximity to Twin River Casino, but that's easily the most depressing place on Earth. Going to Twin River for a big night out - or as a starting point before attending a basketball game - is like going to a funeral for kicks. It's a glorified slot parlor (getting table games in midsummer) that has very little to recommend to sports spectators heading to a Bryant basketball game.

Fans    5

The crowd at Chace Athletic Center is downright inspiring. Roughly 50% of the crowd is students, if not more. They weren't just loud during my most recent visit, they were deafening. The crowd was 100% in to the game at all points, from opening shootaround to the final seconds, and one can only imagine how difficult they must make it for the opposing team.

Every basket and every possession is an event for the Bryant crowd. They also have pre-developed routines for various situations. For example, on home free throws, they go completely silent for a player's lead-up and hold up spirit fingers. When the ball hits basket and goes in, there's a booming "Whoosh" that echoes through the arena.

Each opposing possession is a cacophony of shrieks, screams, and expletives. The student section especially gets so loud it can make your eardrums pop. Somehow, little old Bryant University has found a way to turn Chace Athletic Center into a microcosm of everything that major college sports should be in terms of crowd support, and it's worth going to a game just for that.

Access    3

Bryant isn't exactly hard to get to, but it's not on the beaten path. The University and the arena are directly off of RI-7, a state highway that is accessible from I-295. It is not, however, in the middle of Providence, or off of the main interstate thoroughfare of I-95. Directions are probably necessary to get there, at least the first time.

Parking isn't really an issue. Even the most important games of the year will feature a few open spaces on campus and near the arena, so it shouldn't be difficult to find a favorable spot.

Return on Investment    3

Bryant games are fairly inexpensive, all told. General admission tickets are $10, with adjusted rates for courtside seats, senior citizens, and non-Bryant college students. Courtside season tickets are only $150. Coupling those prices with the inexpensive concession rates, a night out would probably run the average person well under $20.

It's a decent opportunity to see Division I basketball, too. Bryant's been pretty good recently, and the quality of game they display is far from the worst that could be seen at those prices. Plus there's that crowd; it really takes you to a different planet to feel your entire being rocked by those ravenous fans.

Extras    0

Bryant offers nothing extra to the experience, and probably shouldn't even be graded on that scale. What you see is what you get, but what you see is more than enough.

Final Thoughts

Providence College may be the college basketball mecca in Rhode Island, and URI is easily seen as the close second, but Bryant University is making its case as a legitimate contender for the Rhode Island basketball crown. Chace Athletic Center is a modest facility that serves the program's purposes, but definitely punches above its weight thanks to an absolutely amazing crowd and ludicrously tense atmosphere. If Bryant's neighborhood weren't so bare-bones, this would be almost as exciting a basketball destination as the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence.

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Parente’s  (map it!)

1114 Douglas Pike

Smithfield, RI 02917

(401) 231-7600

http://www.parentesrestaurantri.com/

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