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Charles Koch Arena

Wichita, KS

Home of the Wichita State Shockers

3.3

4.1

Charles Koch Arena (map it)
1845 Fairmount St
Wichita, KS 67260


Wichita State Shockers website

Charles Koch Arena website

Year Opened: 1955

Capacity: 10,506

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Here's a Shocker

Charles Koch Arena hosts many events at Wichita State University, but is most well-known for being the raucous home of Shockers men's basketball. "The Roundhouse," as it's affectionately known, opened on December 3, 1955 as Wichita Fieldhouse. In 1964 it was re-branded Wichita State Fieldhouse, then again five years later as Levitt Arena. Hailed for its innovative circular design, the arena went unchanged for four decades before ground was broken on the "Roundhouse Renaissance" in 2002. Fostered by a sizable endowment from Charles Koch, Levitt Arena underwent $25 million in major renovations to become the hailed basketball haven it is today. As Charles Koch Arena, it has a capacity of 10,506 and is popularly considered the top home-court advantage in mid-major NCAA basketball.

3.3

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

Charles Koch offers a nice array of classic stadium fare and relatively unique sandwich options. All are fairly priced, nothing typical costing more than $5.50. Pork and brisket sandwiches are a dollar more, while the real prize of the selection – BBQ pork nachos – seems awfully expensive at $8. It's more than worth it though, as they're as tasty as the offering is huge.

Still, one wishes more of a local feel was infused into the concessions at The Roundhouse. Wichita has a surprising amount of culture to offer, and it's disappointing it is not highlighted here.

Atmosphere    4

As great as the WSU fans are, other factors contribute just as much to Charles Koch's stellar atmosphere. Chief among them is how seating surrounds the court in a perfect circle – everyone is close to the action and there isn't a bad view in the house. One wonders why more arenas don't look to WSU for inspiration, as this is truly one of the most unique and aesthetically pleasing court set-ups in college basketball.

There's a palpable buzz of excitement that builds as tip-off approaches, and the student band and cheer squad do an exceptional job of keeping the crowd involved during timeouts. If you'd have told someone this was ACC basketball in its heyday, they'd not know the difference. WSU's is a stellar college atmosphere.

Neighborhood    2

Located on the outer edge of the Wichita State campus, Charles Koch, surprisingly, isn't surrounded by many student hot-spots or local flare. Rather, chain restaurants and a major road sit on the side that faces away from campus.

Still, a gem of a local watering hole is within walking distance of the arena: Kirby's Beer Store. This is a classic dive, a hole-in-the-wall type of place that is loved by those that frequent it. Beer's on tap, drinks are stiff, the juke box is jumping, and local frozen pizza is ready to put in the oven. Best, there's a tiny stage in the corner where live music is often played. If you want several drinks, sing-alongs, and a small-town feel, this is your place.

Looking for more child-friendly or up-scale entertainment? Make the ten minute drive to Old Town, Wichita's proud, brick hub of activity.

Fans    4

The mighty Shocker faithful are without a doubt some of the most passionate in the country, and it shows in attending a game at Charles Koch. There's nary an empty seat in the house, and each is occupied by a fan as excitable as they are knowledgable. Of greater importance, there's a feeling of intimacy given off by the fan base – they know players' capabilities and tendencies, and when one does something extraordinary, he's rewarded with extra cheers and applause.

The WSU students' section is as active and engaged as most any in college basketball. They participate in pre-game traditions, play along with promotions during timeouts, and offer a great mix of fun and concentration in on-court play. At halftime, they even carried the WSU mascot from the bottom of their section all the way to the top without dropping him.

These are mid-major fans at their best, and that's clear immediately upon entering The Roundhouse.

Access    4

Charles Koch is easily accessed on all sides by car or on foot, and parking is plentiful. The newly renovated concourses are wide and clean, and finding bathrooms, seats, and food is no problem due to oversized signage. Getting to and from your seat is done with ease as well; stairs aren't too steep and railings are helpful.

Return on Investment    4

As previously stated, you would not know this wasn't BCS conference college basketball if you weren't told. This feels like a major sporting event because to the people of Wichita and Shockers fans that's exactly what it is. For the relatively cheap ticket price of $27, you'd do worse at the majority of college basketball venues, and better at few.

Extras    2

Additional mention goes to Charles Koch's circular design. It needs to be experienced to understand just how unique it is.

Also, the WSU athletic hall of fame is a sight to behold. It's no doubt the nicest and most well-done in the Missouri Valley conference.

My take

Jack, I hate to pee in your Wheaties, but there is a reason no one builds circular arenas anymore and that is that it is a horrible design that makes it tough to get seats close to the court. The seats that are naturally closest to the court are the corner seats. It takes a lot of money to redesign these circular design venues to get seats close to the court. I think this venue might have been the first circular design and then it caught on during the 60s and by the 80s the fad was over.

A lot of schools are still stuck with this poor seating configurations like EKU, SE Louisiana State, Weber State, Southern Miss, Ole Miss and many others. Others like Texas and Wichita State have spent the money to try and correct it.

I hope that explains why nobody looks to Koch Arena for inspiration.

by CigarBoy | Feb 03, 2012 02:08 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Great place to watch a college basketball game

Total Score: 4.00

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 2
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

There isn't a bad seat in the house. The fans are raucous and the place gets very loud. A great atmosphere for a college basketball game.

When the roundhouse is rocking there is no better atmosphere in college basketball. And I have been to several arenas including Phog Allen Field House.

Absolutely shocking

Total Score: 4.14

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Just caught a game here when the Shockers were playing a lowly William & Mary and the place was packed and the house was rocking. One of the absolute best student sections I have seen. The roundhouse is perfectly built for mass decibels that's for sure.

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Local Food & Drink

Kirby's Beer Store  (map it!)

3227 E 17th St

Wichita, KS 67208

(316) 239-7990

http://www.kirbysbeerstore.com/

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