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Official Review by Bradlee Ross, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Donald W. Reynolds Center is home to the University of Tulsa's Golden Hurricane basketball and volleyball teams in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The multi-purpose arena is 138,000 square feet and was first built in 1998. The 8,355-seat capacity of the arena makes it the sixth-largest basketball arena in Conference USA.
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".
The choices of cuisine are varied. The concession stands sell funnel cakes, French fries, chicken baskets, and burgers along with traditional venue food like popcorn, hotdogs and bratwurst. The variety is hurt by the fact that Pepsi products are your only choice of beverage. Side vendors also serve up barbecue sandwiches and frozen chill drinks, each of which tastes really good.
The number of concession stands is very accommodating. Lines were very small even during halftime, and the stands are adequately placed throughout the arena. There were only two side vendors though. One served the barbecue on one side of the arena while the other sold the frozen drinks on the whole other side.
The prices are average, completely normal for any type of sporting event. While the variety is good, some of the quality of things like pretzels and hotdogs is sacrificed for quantity.
The atmosphere is pretty fun, with a decent amount of sponsored games that award prizes to certain sections. There were also a couple on-the-court games at halftime that allowed individuals to win decent prizes.
The arena is bowl-shaped with two levels. The bottom level goes all the way around, while the top level is more of a horse-shoe. The open end of that horse shoe is an open forum where you enter the stadium that is flanked by concession stands and looks out over court.
The main scoreboard is on the huge video screen hanging out over the court. It is much bigger than I expected given the size of the arena itself. There is also a video screen in front of the scorer's table between the two teams' benches that showed various stats for each team throughout the game.
This is one of the few arenas or stadiums I've been in where I liked the higher level of seating. The view is really great, especially in the middle where you can see the entire court and the huge scoreboard. Individual seats give plenty of room and are comfortable.
The neighborhood is definitely on the low end of the spectrum for this venue. I found very little in the way of interesting places to go or things to do around the area. The campus is very pretty, but there was virtually nothing in the way of fan interaction. The average fast food joints are all I could find nearby.
It's difficult to gauge the fans in this venue. The crowd wasn't very big and at times seemed very disinterested. However, there was a general murmur of support throughout the entire game. The student section is very spirited, waving big yellow sticks and hypnotic, vortex-like signs.
Most of the crowd seemed to be made up of the students and older alumni, with little in between. However, the crowd can get very loud, very quickly, despite its small size. One dunk in particular made the arena go as loud as any I've heard.
The parking around the arena is terrible. Get there early. Otherwise, you'll be looking for a spot for a long time. The best bet for parking is to find an open spot on a nearby street. There aren't any parking lots within considerable walking distance that are open to the single game fan.
Walkways up to the arena and inside it are very spacious and accommodating. The restrooms are clean and have plenty of room. They also each have two entrances/exits to keep traffic jams to a minimum.
A ticket in the upper level (which is better, in my opinion, for a good view) only costs $10 or $19 for seats toward the middle of the upper level. Tickets for seats closer to the court go as high as $39 per ticket, which is still pretty affordable. That being said, I don't think the return on the investment is good unless you go with the cheaper upper level tickets, especially since the view is better up there.
One of the most entertaining parts of the entire experience was the remote control blimp that was flown around the stands at halftime. It was at least 8 feet long and flew around the big scoreboard in the middle. It was so neat that my fiancee, who was with me, immediately looked up the cost of one on her phone.
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