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Dale F. Halton Arena

Charlotte, NC

Home of the Charlotte 49ers

4.3

3.7

Dale F. Halton Arena (map it)
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28223


Charlotte 49ers website

Dale F. Halton Arena website

Year Opened: 1996

Capacity: 9,105

There are no tickets available at this time.

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The Niner Nation's Capital

It is not too common that a school has one official name, while its athletic teams have a different name. This is the case, though, in North Carolina's Queen City. The Charlotte 49ers are the athletic teams for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, primarily because of the school's desire to establish a single athletic identity. This athletic identity continued to be shaped with the addition of a football program prior to the 2013 season.

This is not to say that there is no athletic history on the school's campus, however. Then known as UNC Charlotte, the 49ers reached the NCAA Final Four in 1977, led by future Boston Celtic Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell. The school has also registered 11 NCAA tournament appearances, five conference tournament championships and five regular-season conference championships since beginning its program in 1965.

Charlotte's basketball teams call Halton Arena their home. Built in 1996, this on-campus facility also hosts the James H. Barnhardt Student Activity Center. The building makes for an interesting and unique atmosphere for home games, and is a great addition to a school with a plethora of beautiful athletic facilities.

4.3

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    4

Halton Arena has the unusual benefit of housing a student center. This allows for a food court type of feel on the main concourse, and there are plenty of choices available within a rather short walking distance.

The options include a number of the so-called "standards." Chains like Papa John's and Bojangles' also take up residence in the food court area, allowing for a pretty reasonable meal for all types of eaters. Some of the items are common across the different stands, including beverages, popcorn, and nachos. Calorie counts are also listed for each item, which is either really helpful or really depressing, depending on your viewpoint.

There is also an option for burger lovers. The Burger Stop offers quarter-pound cheeseburgers ($6.50, with fries), hot dogs ($4.25), and french fries ($3.25 regular, $4 with chili and cheese), . There are also barbecue pork sandwiches ($6.50, with fries) and bacon jalapeno burgers ($7, with fries). Bottomless popcorn tubs ($7), funnel cakes ($4.25), soft pretzels ($4.25) and nachos ($4) round out the menu, along with candy ($3). Oreo churros are also available in a two-pack for $4.

Coca-Cola is the campus' bottler, with regular fountain drinks at $3 and souvenir cups for $4 (with $1 refills). Powerade and water are also available at several of the stands.

Atmosphere    4

Charlotte basketball suffered a bit of a downturn over the past few years, but one would never know that from walking into the arena. The university made a creative head coaching hire in bringing in former NBA star Mark Price, and the change was almost instantaneous. Fans are noticing the difference in the on-court action, and they are getting behind their hard-working 49ers.

The arena seats just over 9,000 fans, so just about every seat in the house is a great seat. Some of the seats that are furthest from the floor are in a bit more darkness than the others because of the angles of the lighting, so if that makes any difference, you may want to sit a bit closer or further away. The scoreboard at center court is huge, and it also affords you the chance to watch the game as it takes place. A running tally of each player on the court's points, fouls, and other statistics is also available alongside the video feed. Further, there is a small LED scoreboard along the scorer's table at center court.

The 49er pep band takes up residence behind the basket nearest the visiting bench, and for a fairly small group, they are quite loud. The band plays during some of the media timeouts and other game breaks. There are also pre and postgame performances. The school also employs a dance team, their cheerleaders, and their mascot, Norm the Niner to accompany the band.

Neighborhood    3

Charlotte has a quite large campus, and Halton Arena is in the middle of that campus. Due to that location, there is not a lot to do that is within walking distance. Most of the nightlife and dining choices are along University City Boulevard (North Carolina Highway 49) or WT Harris Boulevard (NC 24) and are a mile or so away. There are a number of gathering places that fit this description, with Macado's, Cheddar's, and Amalfi Pizza & Pasta among them. Ciro's, Thai House, and Bar Louie are also quite popular with the locals.

The place to visit, however, is Davinci's Pizza. Davinci's is a short five-to-ten-minute drive away from the arena, near the intersection of University City Boulevard (NC 49) and South Tryon Street (US 29). Davinci's offers gigantic slices of pizza (try the pepperoni lovers!), appetizers, and domestic and import beers, for those who partake.

As with many of the venues around Charlotte, if the choices nearby are not enough for your taste, you can always proceed north a few miles to Concord Mills Mall or south to center-city Charlotte. Shopping, bars, dancing and sightseeing are within a short drive of the Charlotte campus, assuming you have a vehicle available.

Fans    4

Charlotte has a loud student section, which is involved throughout the game. There are also a number of die-hard fans that make noise from beginning to end, screaming both for their green-and-gold clad players and at the referees. Call-and-respond chants of "Forty! Niners!" fill the air during key moments.

The attendance is slowly recovering from the brief downturn -- the announced attendance was just over half-capacity on the night we attended -- but the fans are involved, make noise at all the right moments and voice their clear support for their team (and hatred of the referees). Whenever one would expect to hear the crowd at full throat, they get just that.

Access    5

Anyone flying to Charlotte from a conference opponent's outpost would quite likely select Charlotte Douglas International Airport as their destination. The airport is within 15-20 minutes of the university, and is accessed by Interstates 85, 77 or 485. A number of US and North Carolina highways also connect to the airport. Charlotte's bus system, CATS, also allows access from the airport to the university via the 5 and 11 buses. This option will take a little over an hour, however, so be prepared for the delay if this is your chosen route.

Parking at Halton Arena is reasonably easy - once you find where you are going, of course. From the main entrance on NC 49, follow the signs around the campus to Halton Arena. Parking is in the West, or more likely, Union Decks, and is free. Be careful, though, as the West Deck is somewhat tough to find, with the deck being labeled on the side by the entrance and not from the main road. When you see the track and the rest of the athletic complex on the left, the deck is across the street. If you continue along the street, the Union Deck will be on the right. Traffic guides will lead you to the appropriate places to park.

With the Student Activities Center in the "lobby" area of the arena, it is quite easy to move inside the facility. The ticketing office is outside the main entrance, so this also frees up a bit of room inside the lobby. The concourse area inside the arena is spacious enough to prevent bottlenecks, and the bathrooms in the lobby area are clean and plentiful. The lone drawback is that the concession and bathroom areas being on this main level prevents you from seeing the action, but the lines move quickly enough so that you will not miss much of the action.

Return on Investment    5

If you want to see big-time basketball at small-time prices, Halton Arena is your place. Tickets for a 49er game start at $10, with the most expensive seat available for purchase at $25. Charlotte plays a rather high level of competition in Conference USA and the non-league schedule each year, which adds to the value.

Charlotte offers great value, with a ticket ($10), hot dog ($4.25), soda ($3 or $4), and parking/program (both free) coming in well under $20 per person. If you want great entertainment at a great price, you can't do a lot better than Charlotte basketball.

Extras    5

Charlotte has quite a bit of history for a "young" program, and the school pays tribute to that homage in multiple ways. There are a series of banners hanging above the floor honoring all the postseason teams in 49er history, including a special banner for the 1977 Final Four team. There are also a series of retired jerseys honored along the wall in Halton Arena, with a banner for former coach Jeff Mullins and his 182 victories as the 49er coach.

The scoreboard in the end zone features a "Three-o-Meter" that keeps track of made three-point shots throughout the game. Some schools have signs or some other form of keeping track of the threes, and though this may seem like a superfluous stat, it is at least nice to be able to see how many of them have fallen throughout the game.

Norm the Niner is Charlotte's mascot, and one of his assigned activities throughout the game is to man the t-shirt gun. The gun fires multiple t-shirts into the crowd at random intervals via a multi-barreled gun. If there's one thing college kids love it's free stuff, and free t-shirts are always a nice touch.

A large souvenir stand is set up on the main concourse, allowing fans to buy Charlotte-branded t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and more. The inventory is clearly on display to all fans, and they will likely have you covered on any 49er item you could need.

For the kids, there is a bounce house located on the concourse. If you're looking for your missing child anywhere inside Halton Arena, check the bounce house. This one is a huge hit with the kiddos.

Finally, Charlotte basketball is carried over Charlotte's IMG Sports Network, including local station 1660 AM. The play-by-play announcer, Matt Swierad, is also the play-by-play voice of the Charlotte Knights, the AAA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Swierad is one of the best in the business, and provides a solid voice to 49er hoops. If you bring a radio to the game - and can manage to hear it inside the arena - a great broadcast awaits you.

Final Thoughts

Despite Charlotte only having about 50 years of basketball, there is still a fairly equal amount of history and potential in the program. With a large campus in a bustling city, a quality program, and an outstanding facility in Halton Arena, it is easy to see why fans and prospects alike should flock here. Once the school regains its winning tradition and gets its football program established, this well-kept secret should be discovered by that many more interested parties.

Halton Arena

One of your better reviews ever.You sold me on wanting to come there to see a game right out of the gate.I loved all the background info and the amenities in and around the arena.I especially loved the reference to 'Cornbread' Maxwell,as he was one of the main characters on the Celtics of old,which was my favorite pro team.
I think you knocked this one out of the park,and the folks there should be most appreciative of your complimentary review of this gem.

by jerry | Nov 21, 2012 10:37 PM

Paul

Great review. Just one glaring error. The chant isn't "Who are we?" "Niners"...It's "Forty!" "Niners!"

by pbhorneriv | Nov 29, 2012 05:18 PM

Chant

Thanks for pointing that out regarding the chant. I must have incorrectly heard it. I have made the change - thanks for reading! :)

by brian | Nov 29, 2012 06:39 PM

Matt Swierad

I love the comment on Swierad as i listen to him every time I go to a game. If you want to listen to it at the arena listen to HIM AND Lanny Ford at 87.7 FM or 730 am

by flyingcircus6974 | Jan 03, 2013 09:49 PM

RE: Matt Swierad

Matt is one of the best in the business. He's incredibly skilled at what he does, and a great asset to the Queen City and Charlotte athletics. I'm glad to get the word out about him, and even if you're not in Charlotte, it's worth streaming a 49er game to check out their radio team.

by brian | Jan 04, 2013 01:58 AM

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Crowd Reviews

The Niner Nation's Capital

Total Score: 4.29

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

It is not too common that a school has one official name, while its athletic teams have a different name. This is the case, though, in North Carolina's Queen City. The Charlotte 49ers are the athletic teams for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, primarily because of the school's desire to establish a single athletic identity. This athletic identity will continue to be shaped with the addition of a football program at the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level for the 2013 season.

This is not to say that there is no athletic history on the school's campus, however. Then known as UNC Charlotte, the 49ers reached the NCAA Final Four in 1977, led by future Boston Celtic Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell. The school has also registered 11 NCAA tournament appearances, five conference tournament championships and five regular season conference championships since beginning its program in 1965.

Charlotte's basketball teams call Halton Arena their home. Built in 1996, this on-campus facility also hosts the James H. Barnhardt Student Activity Center. The building makes for an interesting and unique atmosphere for home games, and is a great addition to a school with a plethora of beautiful athletic facilities.

Halton Arena

Total Score: 3.43

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

Sightlines aren't great, especially low in the upper deck near the staircases. But otherwise you can't ask for a better college basketball environment.

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Local Food & Drink

Davinci's Pizza  (map it!)

5700 University Pointe Blvd

Charlotte, NC 28262

(704) 900-6951

http://www.davincipizzaonline.com

Picasso's Sports Cafe  (map it!)

222 S Church St

Charlotte, NC 28202

(704) 376-8767

http://picassossportscafe.com/

Bar Louie  (map it!)

8760 J M Keynes Dr

Charlotte, NC 28262

(704) 285-7010

http://www.barlouie.com

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