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Official Review by Brian Jones, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Hank McCamish Pavilion is the home of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets men’s and women’s basketball teams of the Atlantic Coast Conference. It opened in 2012, replacing Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
McCamish Pavilion holds 8,600 fans. The cost of the renovation of Alexander Memorial Coliseum was $50 million and the venue is now named after Hank McCamish who gave the lead gift for the facility.
Alexander Memorial Coliseum was a great place to watch basketball games, especially when the Yellow Jackets were winning. But McCamish Pavilion has everything a fans needs to have a great experience. From location to food and to return on investment, a college basketball fan will not be disappointed with this state-of-the art facility.
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".
There are concession stands located all over the arena, and they feature the typical foods such as hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, and candy, which will cost about $5-$7.
What makes McCamish Pavilion stand out is they also sell Domino's Pizza and Chick-fil-A. The cost for both is a little bit more than what you will find at a normal Domino's or Chick-fil-A, but it still has the great taste.
Because McCamish is located on campus, no alcohol is allowed. And because Atlanta is Coke country, Coke products are sold in the arena.
If there is one thing to eat at McCamish, it has to be the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich. It costs around $5 dollars, but it never disappoints.
McCamish has a really good atmosphere, and one could argue it has the best atmosphere for a college basketball game in the state of Georgia.
The arena is bowl-shaped, which gives fans a good view of the action, no matter where the seat is. Also, the seats are close to the action, so you get the feeling you are part of it.
The scoreboard hanging above the arena floor is one of the best in college basketball. With four video screens, it gives fans an opportunity to watch the live action, as well as pregame videos.
The cheerleaders and dance team are fun to watch, and the band is very enjoyable. They are key factors in the strong atmosphere McCamish provides.
If there is one place to sit in the arena, it would have to be mid-court. You can see all the action, without feeling too far away.
McCamish is located in the heart of the Georgia Tech campus, which is located in the heart of downtown Atlanta. So there is never a dull moment.
The restaurant options in the area are endless. But the best places to go are STK-Atlanta, The Melting Pot, and Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaurant. All three places are a little expensive, but the food and drinks are top notch.
As for area attractions, the Georgia Dome, the World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium and the College Football Hall of Fame are located about five minutes from the area. You can spend all day in one of those places, if you wanted to.
The best hotel to stay in is the W Hotel. It's a four-star hotel located less than a mile from McCamish that features a spa, living room and business center.
McCamish holds 8,600 fans and on a normal Saturday afternoon, you can find close to that attendance.
The Georgia Tech basketball fans are smart, have passion and they want a winner. The student section is very lively, and a lot of it has to do with the conference the Yellow Jackets play in. The ACC basketball fans are known for being the craziest in the county, and while Yellow Jacket fans are not on the same level as Duke or North Carolina, they know how to have fun.
For where McCamish Pavilion is located, it's very accessible.
The area is located right off of Interstate 75, so driving is a good option. However, public transportation is also a viable option, because MARTA, the local transit system, can take you close to the arena.
Parking can be a little tricky. There are limited spots located by the arena, so the best bet is to park at the parking decks located around the area. Depending on which deck you park in, it can be a 10-miniute walk, but it won't cost more than $10.
There are plenty of entrances to the arena, but the main entrance is the best place to enter, because there are more gates in that area.
The concourse is big, so walking around McCamish is a non-issue. And there are plenty of restrooms that are always clean.
Going to a game at McCamish will not cost an arm and a leg. In fact, you can get really good seats for $15, if you are lucky.
Parking won't cost more than $10. So that is not an issue, either.
Depending on what food you buy at the arena, you will likely pay $12 for a meal, which is expected for a newer facility.
Because of those factors, as well as the competition Georgia Tech plays in the ACC, you get your money's worth every time you go to McCamish Pavilion.
As you walk inside the area, there are programs, posters and rosters for both teams available for fans. That is something you don't get at too many college basketball arenas.
One of the other cool things about the arena is there are flat-screen televisions all over the concourse. So if you need to go the restroom or get a snack, you won't miss the action.
The retired numbers hanging above the arena are a nice touch. Georgia Tech was a very strong basketball program in the 1990s, and a few players from that decade have their numbers hanging above McCamish.
The staff does a good job with ticket deals. One of the best deals is you get a ticket and all you can eat at the concession stand for $30. You can never go wrong with that.
McCamish Pavilion is a great example of what a college basketball arena needs to be. It's not the best college basketball arena experience in the country, but it's definitely worth checking out, because you won't be disappointed.
Member Review by jmccurdy
Is it mere coincidence that the Atlanta-area team with the most consistently decent record plays its games in the oldest of those teams' arenas? Alexander Memorial Coliseum, home of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets basketball opened in 1956 and shows no signs of shuttering, regardless of how its squads perform.
Call it whatever you like - admirers might choose "The Thrillerdome" due to fond memories of close finishes, while the more cynical might go with "The Big Tit" because of the somewhat suggestive architecture - but the spot is a Dirty South staple. Here have run NBA stars Kenny Anderson, Mark Price, Matt Harpring and Dennis Scott, not to mention the (hopefully) up-and-coming Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal.
There may be no chance for the GT men in the season of this writing (2010-11) and other ACC schools will always look down from their positions on high (Duke, UNC), but there is tradition in basketball at Alexander nonetheless.
Member Review by Kristospherein on Jan 31, 2012
The place is a dated, concrete nightmare. It's the ACC so the on-court action and fans make the trip worthwhile but the state of the coliseum takes away from the atmosphere.
Member Review by JB on Oct 22, 2012
The rater is obviously a big east fan! The food options are plenty and they are awesome!! I really am curious as to what side of the bed this rater woke up on during his visit.
Member Review by Brian L Jones on Feb 10, 2014
Alexander Memorial Coliseum was home for Georgia Tech basketball from 1956-2011. It was called the Thriller Dome because the men’s team would always put on a show, especially when the team was coached by Bobby Cremins.
In 2010, Georgia Tech decided that the arena needed a facelift. A $45 million facelift, to be exact, and in the process the arena would be renamed to Hank McCamish Pavilion in honor of the $15 million donation by the McCamish family. The renovation included reconstruction of the seating bowl, an added upper-level balcony and club seating and an expansion to the club plaza.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams may not be as successful as they were when the arena was called Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Due to the renovations, however, McCamish Pavilion is a great place to take in a college basketball game.
Member Review by oldskoolberk on Dec 31, 2014
While Georgia Tech isn't the same basketball program as they were 25 years ago when the "Thriller Dome," getting to a game here at McCamish is still a treat. The place is very nice now, upgraded to a good bit, and has a nice college basketball atmosphere. Even when I went to a non-conference game where most Tech fans and the cheerleaders had been to Miami for the Orange Bowl the day before, you still get a good basketball atmosphere. One can only imagine when Duke, Louisville, UNC, and Syracuse come to Atlanta.
FOOD: They must have pulled out the Zaxby's because it was Chick-Fil-A now. Strange because Zaxby's is still one of the sponsors for the Yellow Jackets. That said, the basic menu of dogs, nachos, and popcorn are all there. But at a relatively expensive price (most over $5).
ATMOSPHERE: It isn't a large venue by any means, but that is actually a great thing. The seats were fine as there were no sightline issues, and it just had a unique feel to the place from top to bottom.
NEIGHBORHOOD: You are in a nicer area of Atlanta so you have some better options to eat before the game. The Varsity is a short drive from the campus and is a good spot before or after a game. Of course, you have some nicer sit-down restaurants as well.
FANS: I'm guessing a large portion of the base that go to Tech basketball games were down at the Orange Bowl in Miami for the Yellow Jackets/Mississippi State football game because it was half full at best. That said, the fans that were there were into the game and were pretty friendly.
ACCESS: Won't matter on which way you go on I-75 and fight the great Atlanta traffic in the evening, if you get off on North Avenue, you are right at the arena. That being said, finding a parking spot is not that easy. Anywhere near the arena is a permit only. So you will probably have to park on campus in a parking deck somewhere where it is a nice walk. And bring some money because it went up to $15 for parking.
ROI: Getting tickets to a Tech game that is non-conference is easy to get for the most part unless a power conference school is visiting, then it creeps up a bit. Most non-conference games are $10. The regular conference games, range from $45, which I guess isn't too bad given it is ACC basketball. Food prices are a little high for my liking at a college game, and souvenirs are on par, so overall you get what you paid for, and that is fine.
EXTRAS: The cleanliness, the layout of the place, and the history that is a nice one for Georgia Tech really put this place as a must-see for a college basketball fan.
61 North Avenue Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30308
848 Peachtree Street, NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
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