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Official Review by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
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.
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".
Ferrell Center offers a variety of food selections and prices around the concourse. The smoke house loaded nachos is the top of the list as far as pricing at $9 which gives you chopped pork and cheese on top of a serving of nacho chips. You can also grab a lone star meatball sandwich or a BBQ pork slider basket (potato chips are the side) for $8 dollars. The creole blackened chicken wrap, grilled chicken and mixed greens, or a Texana salad are available for $7. If you are looking for the basic stadium fare, at the cost of $5 you can choose between the arena dog, basic nachos, and cotton candy while the other typical food fare such as peanuts, popcorn, pretzels and assorted candy items is sold at $4.00 each. Papa Johns pizza is sold inside the Ferrell Center for $6 a slice. There is a State Fair food selection of foot long corn dogs, funnel cakes, sausage on a stick all at the cost of $6 per item.
Waco is home the home for Dr. Pepper so Baylor basketball offers the Dr. Pepper products along with 7up and RC Cola. These options come in 20 oz. bottles for $4. Fresh lemonade is a dollar more than the soda.
The atmosphere is wonderful inside the Ferrell Center especially during conference games played between January and March. The atmosphere seems to become a little louder when the heated rival Texas Longhorns invade Waco. Spurred on by the recent success of Baylor athletics, the student body serenades the visiting Texas players and the burnt orange faithful with chants and signs of "we own this state." The students sit along the baseline in an area nicknamed "The Bear Pit" next to the Baylor band. The band along with the mascot Bruiser and the Baylor spirit squad keeps an energetic crowd entertain between timeouts. The scoring/video board above the court and in the upper corners allow for replays, and other graphics to enhance the event atmosphere in the arena. Overall it is a wonderful college basketball atmosphere.
The gold dome 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.
Waco has numerous restaurants to enjoy while attending a Baylor event. Vitek's BBQ is on the south side of the Baylor campus. It 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 the rest of the day as it is heavy and filling, but delicious. You should plan on being there early, Vitek's does serve outside as well as inside, but the wait can be long no matter which one you choose.
George's Restaurant is a popular place to meet before, during, and after the game. The restaurant has been serving Waco since 1930. The crowds are large so be prepared to get there early.
Although the restaurants aren't exactly close to the arena, they are close enough to enjoy before an event. If you just want to do something in the neighborhood besides eating, there is the Dr. Pepper Museum. You'll get to see how the popular Texas soft drink is produced, the history, and get your own Dr. Pepper drink.
Waco is home to other museums; the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. If you are walking on the campus of Baylor University there is the Bear Habitat, home to Joy and Lady, Baylor's two live black bear mascots.
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 a lot of the Baylor green and gold colors being worn, the loud cheers for anything the Baylor team does and of course the jeers at the referees when the calls are incorrectly officiated.
The Ferrell Center being located on the northeast corner of campus keeps away the Interstate 35 and the City of Waco traffic. There is free parking for Ferrell Center events and the flow of traffic seems to move well before as well as after the event. There are two main entrances for the general public from the parking lot side of the center. The entry to the Ferrell Center is easy and fast. As you enter through the doors, you'll walk into a spacious circular concourse. The sections, restrooms, and concessions are well marked throughout the concourse. You'll see banners supporting both the men's and women's basketball teams. When you walk through the section portals, the Ferrell Center's unique domed roof along with the banners hanging from the rafters will grab your attention.
The Ferrell Center has free parking, terrific seating, and a wonderful atmosphere to watch a high level of college basketball. Baylor ticket prices range from $10-$25; you really can't beat the price especially when the closest Big 12 schools are doubled in the price. The time and money is well worth the investment when watching an event at the Ferrell Center.
When thinking of the Ferrell Center, it is easy to think of the men's basketball team, however the women's program has been dominate over the last decade. The Lady Bears Final Four banners, conference champions, and two national championships are celebrated throughout the Ferrell Center and are worth an extra point.
"The Bear Pit," the band and student section that provides the excitement of college basketball into the Ferrell Center is deserving of a point.
The Ferrell Center itself for being a well maintained venue that is a quarter of a century old that provides a friendly environment while attending Baylor athletics events.
The Baylor men's basketball program in the last few years has an NCAA Elite Eight appearance, NIT Championship, and an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance. With a Top 25 ranking, the Bears look poised to return to the NCAA tournament. The success of the basketball program along with playing in a competitive Big 12 Conference elevates the atmosphere inside the Ferrell Center to a wonderful environment for anyone to enjoy. The continuing leadership under Coach Scott Drew will no doubt keep the Baylor basketball program reaching new heights and making 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.
1108 S University Parks Dr
Waco, TX 76706
100 Texas Ranger Trail
Waco, TX 76706
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