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Official Review by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Located in Waco, Texas, the Ferrell Center is home to the Baylor Bears basketball and volleyball teams. The first-ever event held in the Ferrell Center was a political rally by former President Ronald Reagan, on September 22, 1988. The first sporting event here (a Baylor women's basketball game) took place a couple of months after that, on November 25, followed a few days later by the men's basketball team versus San Diego State.
The Ferrell Center, a building with a golden-domed roof, has a seating capacity of 10,284 for basketball and 6,000 for volleyball. The arena is named in memory of Charles Robert Ferrell, who died in 1967 during his sophomore year at Baylor. The actual basketball seating area is named after Paul J. Meyer Sr., in recognition of his contributions to Baylor University. The height of the facility is 111 feet, and the dome covers 3 acres. The Ferrell Center continues to undergo improvements, keeping the arena updated while providing the best possible facility for students and fans. The university recently upgraded the floor and video boards, but the biggest improvement came in 2006 - the construction of the Lieutenant Jack Whetsel Jr. practice facility; this 42,990 square-foot facility includes practice courts, coaching staff offices, and a VIP receiving area.
Some of the notable events that have taken place at the Ferrell Center include NBA exhibition games and training camps, as well as women's and men's postseason NIT games. The highest attendance record in Ferrell Center history is currently at 10,627, with the most recent mark being set on January 7, 2017 versus Oklahoma State.
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 Ferrell Center offers basic stadium fare at typical prices. There are plenty of concessions stands inside the arena, which means short food lines and little congestion inside the concourse. The prices are typical of other venues; the smokehouse loaded nachos ($9) are at the top of the list as far as pricing, and give you beef fajita meat, shredded lettuce, sour cream, onions, and jalapenos on top of nacho chips. For basic stadium fare at a cost of $5, you can choose between the arena dog, garlic sausage dog, basic nachos, and cotton candy, while other typical selections such as peanuts, popcorn, pretzels, and assorted candy are sold for $4.
There are a couple of money saving combos at the concession stands, for example the Bear Pack, which gives you a hot dog, kettle chips, and a small fountain drink for $9, or get two of each for $17, leading to a little more savings. Also, in addition to the basic fare, there is Frito pie, which is a mixture of Fritos, chili, cheese, onions, and jalapenos. You can also find two types of chicken wraps, either chicken Caesar or blackened chicken; all three of the latter cost $7. Alternatively, there is a State Fair concessions stand selling foot-long corn dogs, funnel cakes, or sausage on a stick for $6.
Besides the main stands, the Ferrell Center also brings in outside vendors, such as Papa John's and Chick-fil-A. Papa John's sells pizza for $6 a slice, while Chick-fil-A's prices are higher here than at their regular stores. However, they do offer a chicken basket for $8, which saves you a dollar compared to buying a chicken sandwich and waffle fries separately; you can also add a chocolate chunk cookie for $2. An interesting thing about the concessions here at the Ferrell Center is that the calories of all items are shown on the menu boards.
If you are looking for a beverage, the soda selection at the Ferrell Center includes Dr Pepper, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Sierra Mist, Mug Root Beer, and Mountain Dew; these options come in a small size for $4 or the souvenir 32oz size for $6. Besides soda, you can also find Gatorade, Aquafina bottled water, and coffee priced at $4 each, while fresh-squeezed lemonade and iced tea cost a dollar more. Note that the Ferrell Center doesn't offer any alcohol products.
The Ferrell Center's food and beverage options will satisfy any hunger during the event, however, Waco has enough to offer in terms of restaurants that eating before or after the game is more strongly recommended.
The success of Baylor's basketball program, coupled with playing in a competitive Big 12 Conference, elevates the atmosphere inside the Ferrell Center to a wonderful environment that anyone would enjoy. The atmosphere becomes even louder and more serious when nationally ranked opponents, such as Kansas or the hated Big 12 rival Texas Longhorns, invade Waco.
The students sit along the baseline in an area nicknamed the "Bear Pit," which continues all the way back to the upper level; this section is next to the Baylor band. The band, spirit squads, and mascot Bruiser keep the energetic crowd entertained throughout the game. In addition, during timeouts there are fan contests, as well as the typical spirit squad entertainment. The video boards above the court and in the upper corners allow for replays to be shown, as well as other graphics that enhance the experience inside the arena. Overall, it is a wonderful college basketball atmosphere. See the videos below to watch the players coming onto the court and being introduced:
The Ferrell Center is located on the Baylor University campus in Waco, Texas, at the corner of University Parks Drive and LaSalle Avenue, next to Baylor Ballpark and the softball facility, Getterman Stadium. Being on the northeast corner of campus, about 1 ˝ miles from I-35 and the City of Waco, there isn't much here but the sports facilities. However, Waco has numerous restaurants and lodging opportunities you can take advantage of while attending a Baylor event.
There are several places in Waco that offer Texas BBQ; Rudy's Country Store and BBQ is a chain throughout Texas, and can be found just off of I-35 at the Circle Road exit. Rudy's serves brisket, ribs, and sides in a cafeteria-style setting with indoor picnic tables. Another really good option is Coach's Smoke, located just west of the Baylor campus, in downtown Waco on Austin Avenue. Coach's Smoke serves excellent BBQ, burgers, and a good selection of draft beer. If you want the best, however, my suggestion is Vitek's BBQ. This local landmark is on the south side of Baylor's campus on Speight Avenue. Vitek's is the home of the Gut Pack, which includes brisket, sausage, Frito chips, and beans. If you decide on this dish you won't need to eat for the rest of the day, as it is heavy and filling, but delicious. You should plan on being there early, however; Vitek's serves outside as well as inside, but the wait can be long no matter which one you choose.
If you are looking for something besides BBQ, the Tex-Mex scene in Waco is just as popular. Trujillo's is a great Tex-Mex option, located at the traffic circle on LaSalle Avenue. Trujillo's is a family-owned restaurant that will surely give you the authentic taste of Mexico. However, if Trujillo's is crowded, or the game is on a Sunday, then try Ninfa's Mexican Restaurant on South 3rd Street in downtown Waco.
George's Restaurant is also a popular place to meet before, during, and after the game. This restaurant has been serving Waco since 1930, and the crowds are large, so make sure you get there early. Another popular Waco landmark since 1948 is Health Camp on Circle Road; this restaurant is a classic roadside pit stop from the past, serving burgers, hot dogs, and a large selection of shakes, malts, and frozen custard. Although many of these restaurants aren't exactly close to the arena, they are close enough to enjoy before or after the game.
There are plenty of attractions and things to do while in Waco, such as visiting the Dr Pepper Museum. Waco is the home of this popular Texas soft drink, and inside the museum you can see how the soft drink is made, learn the history behind it, and get free Dr Pepper to drink. Waco's other attractions include the Cameron Park Zoo, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame, all of which are worth a visit. If none of these seem interesting, however, then take a stroll through the beautiful Baylor campus, where you can visit the Bear Habitat, home to Joy and Lady, Baylor's two live black bear mascots, and learn more about these creatures.
Along with numerous choices of restaurants and attractions, lodging in Waco is plentiful. Most of the hotels are located along I-35, where you'll have choices such as Courtyard by Marriott, Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn, Homewood Suites, Hilton, and Hotel Indigo.
No matter the sport, Baylor Nation has some of the best fans. They are energetic, fun, polite, respectful, knowledgeable, and supportive of all Baylor athletics. While attending a basketball game at the Ferrell Center, you'll see lots of Baylor green and gold being worn, hear loud cheers for anything the Baylor team does, and of course, hear jeering at the referees when calls are incorrectly officiated.
The Ferrell Center is located on the far northeastern corner of campus, away from I-35 and the normal Waco traffic. There is free parking for Ferrell Center events near the arena, and the flow of traffic seems to move well before as well as after the event.
There are two main entrances into the Ferrell Center on the parking lot side, and getting into the arena is easy and fast. As you enter through the main doors, you'll walk into a spacious circular concourse. The seating areas, restrooms, and concessions are well marked throughout the concourse, and you'll also see banners supporting both the men's and women's basketball teams. As you walk around the venue, the Ferrell Center's unique domed roof and banners hanging from the rafters will grab your attention. The seating consists of green plastic chair backs, but there is plenty of room, and there isn't a bad view of the court anywhere in the arena.
The Ferrell Center has free parking, terrific seating, and a wonderful atmosphere to watch a high level of college basketball. Baylor's online ticket prices range from $15 to $45 for weekends, however, if you can go to a game during the week, tickets prices are about $10 less. Note that all tickets will cost $5 more if you buy the day of, so plan ahead when possible to get better prices.
The Baylor men's basketball program continues to be one of the top in the country. The reasonable price to watch top caliber college basketball, to have an entertaining and fun filled evening, along with free parking, makes it well worth the investment to visit the Ferrell Center.
The Ferrell Center is a well-maintained venue that is over a quarter of a century old, yet continues to provide a friendly environment during Baylor athletic events. The student section and Baylor band also add a lot of excitement.
When thinking about the Ferrell Center, it is easy to think of the men's basketball team, however, the women's program has also been dominant over the last decade. The Lady Bears Final Four appearances, conference championships, and two national championships are celebrated throughout the Ferrell Center.
In the last five years, the Baylor men's basketball program has made a Sweet Sixteen appearance, an Elite Eight appearance, and has won an NIT Championship. Furthermore, the team recently earned their first ever AP #1 ranking in the history of the program. This ranking and their continued success under Coach Scott Drew has the Bears in position, not only to return to the NCAA tournament, but possibly to earn a spot in the Final Four. The Baylor basketball program is reaching new heights, as well as developing future NBA players, which makes the Ferrell Center a place to visit for any sports fan.
Member Review by pderrick
Built in 1988 with the capacity to hold 10,347 people, the Ferrell Center has been the home of Baylor Basketball for over 20 years now. Once you walk into the gold dome you will notice wide concourses making for easy access around the arena. Inside the arena you will find 41 rows of comfortable seat back chairs that make for a great view of the court no matter where your seats are located. Above the court and at the corners of the arena are scoring/video boards which allow for replay, graphics and other video capabilities to enhance the event atmosphere in the arena.
Member Review by Tejasduck on Feb 19, 2015
The Ferrell Center has served as home court to the Baylor’s basketball and volleyball teams for more than 25 years. The golden dome building was opened in November 1988 at the cost of $12.5 million dollars. The seating capacity is listed at 10,284 for basketball and 6,000 for volleyball.
The Ferrell Center consists of the Paul J. Meyer Sr. Arena, along with the 2006 addition of the Lt. Jack Whetsel Jr. practice facility. A 42,990 square-foot facility which includes practice courts, coaching staff offices, and VIP receiving area. The Ferrell Canter was named in memory of Charles Robert Ferrell, who died in 1967 during his sophomore year at Baylor.
Some of the notable events that have taken place at the Ferrell Center have been NBA training camps and exhibition games, along with the women’s and men’s postseason NIT games.
300 S 5th St
Waco, TX 76701
1108 S University Parks Dr
Waco, TX 76706
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