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Holmes Convocation Center

Boone, NC

Home of the Appalachian State Mountaineers

3.1

3.2

Holmes Convocation Center (map it)
111 Rivers St
Boone, NC 28608


Appalachian State Mountaineers website

Holmes Convocation Center website

Year Opened: 2000

Capacity: 8,325

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Boone Ball

Mar 13, 2017

Far from the hustle and bustle of Charlotte and Raleigh, western North Carolina is a beautiful region full of mountains, hiking, skiing and scenic drives. Some of those scenic drives will take you through the small, but well-known town of Boone. Nestled in the mountains and not far from the famed Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone is home to the Mountaineers of Appalachian State University. This school's primary claim to fame is football, where their domination of the I-AA ranks and famed upset of Michigan are well-known by even the casual football fan. But the Mountaineers basketball team aspires to the same notoriety, even if they don't have the NCAA Tournament success (just two appearances) to support it.

From 1968 to 2000, the Mountaineers played their home games in a massive bleacher-filled facility known as Varsity Gym. While this gym had played host to countless basketball games and other events, the university recognized the need for a more modern and comfortable venue. In 1997, they began work on the 200,840-square foot facility that would become the Holmes Convocation Center. In 2000, the facility opened with a massive home game sellout against the North Carolina Tar Heels. The 8,325-seat multi-purpose facility has been home to Mountaineers basketball ever since.

3.1

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    3

Concessions are located sporadically around the circular concourse, and all offer what can be considered "the usual" for a college basketball venue of this size.

Nachos (with a chili option), hot dogs, chili dogs, popcorn and pretzels are offered at all stands. You can get a barbecue sandwich at some locations, but that's about the extent of unique flair here. The good news is all food items are under $5. A variety of candy and ice cream is available, as well, for moderate prices.

Pepsi products are available at all stands for under $4 for up to 32-ounce sizes. Bottled water and Powerade are also available. No alcohol is sold here.

There's not a lot of variety or high-end food here. The barbecue sandwich is probably your safest bet if you're looking for something on the tasty side. While overall quality and quantity leaves a bit to be desired, everything will be affordable.

Atmosphere    3

The arena itself is nice enough with its fair share of character, but there's not a lot that stands out as truly unique or special here.

As large as the overall venue is, half of the upper seats are tarped off, leaving only the lower ring. Blue, black and gold seatback seats go all the way around on all sides. No central scoreboard hangs from the ceiling; instead, four scoreboards hang from each side of the court, with the two on the sidelines sporting small video boards. Banners hang down one side of the court with conference flags flying at the top of the arena above the tarped-off seats. The court features a giant "A" in the center, and is ringed by black baselines and sidelines. Nothing here stands out, but all of it is relatively nice.

The coolest thing going on in the Holmes Convocation Center is Yosef, the school's mountain man mascot. This flanneled mascot engages throughout and is beloved among the fans. The student section is along the side of the court and could present a challenging atmosphere for visiting teams when full. There is a pep band, but it seems sparse and their engagement is minimal.

General admission seats fall on either end and corner of the court, while reserved seating is at center court. It's not difficult to move around from seat to seat here, so I'd recommend choosing a general admission seat.

Neighborhood    5

There are few more beautiful places in the southeast than western North Carolina, and Boone is the college-town epitome of that. It's surrounded by beautiful mountain settings, ski resorts, hiking and a quaint town full of all of the college amenities you might need.

Just north of the venue along King Street, you'll find a wide variety of restaurants worth checking out. You can choose almost any of these and not go wrong. For a healthier local choice, the F.A.R.M. Cafe is a popular option. For the craft beer drinker in you, Lost Province Brewing Co. offers delicious craft beer and excellent pizza.

The area around Boone is all about nature and the mountains. Along with numerous ski resorts, there are some quicker trips worth the scenic view. Grandfather Mountain to the west is perfect for any level of hiker, with its varying degree of trails, all of which offer scenic views. If you're more interested in just the scenic views, check out Blowing Rock to the south. And if you just want to take it all in from your car, the Blue Ridge Parkway isn't too far away. Or just wander around the quaint town of Boone and enjoy the local charm.

Any number of quaint hotels can be found in the surrounding area, with mountain and outdoorsy themes. For proximity to the Convocation Center, the Courtyard by Marriott or Comfort Suites will be right down the road.

Fans    2

Fan attendance at a Mountaineers basketball game is sparse, but those there are loyal.

In 2016, a Mountaineers game averaged 1,212 fans. For a stadium of over 8,000 seats, this definitely leaves the arena feeling empty. Even with the covered upper seats, there are still plenty of empty seats around the venue. Even the student section and pep band seem sparsely populated.

Those in attendance try their best to get loud. You'll see plenty of passionate, yellow-and-black-plaid-wearing fans making whatever noise they can. The students chant and are boisterous, but when they are only 2-3 rows deep, there's not much that can be done. In the cavernous arena that is half-blocked off, there's just not enough fans here to make this feel like a true home court advantage.

Access    3

One of the charms of Boone is how tucked away into the mountains it is. Unfortunately, for most of us, that can present a challenge when it comes to access.

The nearest airport is 70 miles away in Tennessee. Major airports are all over 100 miles away. Boone is also nowhere near a major interstate. Backroads through the mountains are the only way to get there. While these drives are absolutely beautiful, it means Boone isn't really on the way to anywhere. If you're going to an Appalachian State game, Boone has to be your destination.

Once you arrive in Boone, accessing the stadium is fairly easy. Parking garages on campus just to the north are just a short walk away. Because the fans don't show up in numbers, navigating the roads to get here is pretty easy.

The main gate has ticket windows and is easy enough to access. There's no real issues with access or lines anywhere here.

Once inside, the concourse is wide and circles the entire venue. Again, the lack of fans means it's very easy to get around with no problems at all. Restrooms are more than abundant and are a quick stop from any seat you may have.

Return on Investment    4

You definitely can't beat the price for a game here, so any measurement is about what the experience will be like.

Tickets are $10, at most, and food won't cost you more than $5 per item. It's easy to spend less than $20 on the trip here. Unfortunately, you'll be one of the few that does. Appalachian State basketball is more of a distraction from the beauty of the surrounding area, as opposed to the other way around. If you're in Boone for hiking, camping or skiing, it may not be worth taking a couple hours off at a game, regardless of price. But with that price being so low and the tendency for the weather to get a little chilly, take the time to stay warm and enjoy a comfortable venue.

Extras    2

It's hard to assign too many extras, as the venue seems like a potentially great venue sitting dormant until the fans arrive. But they do a great job advertising their history with banners hanging from the ceiling. Despite only two NCAA tournament appearances, the Mountaineers have frequently won the Southern Conference North and even overall regular season championships. It'll be interesting to see if this translates into tournament bids in the future that draw in more fans.

Final Thoughts

Boone is beautiful, and the Holmes Convocation Center seems full of the same potential to be a top-of-the-line venue. Someday, perhaps the tarps on seats will lift and the Mountaineers' aspirations will be achieved, bringing the fans that are so passionate about the football program into the basketball venue.

Holmes Arena

Judging by your comments,the surrounding area and the scenery seem to be the major selling points.I could not help but notice the many 'empty seats' disguised as fans.
Perhaps,the emphasis is on football,and not on basketball.It would seem that college kids would support all their athletic pursuits,not just one or two.There is not much excuse for about 75% of the facility being empty,especially on a weekend.

by jerry | Jan 29, 2013 12:34 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Be Yosef

Total Score: 3.43

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

There is much beauty to be found in North Carolina, and for lovers of the mountains, one of the best places to find this beauty is the town of Boone. This tiny mountain town of fewer than 20,000 residents boasts a proximity to some of the state and region's finest ski resorts and attractions. The world-famous Blue Ridge Parkway is nearby, and legendary musician Doc Watson called Boone home.

Appalachian (pronounced app-uh-LATCH-in) State University is arguably Boone's most famous inhabitant. Founded in 1899, this university is part of the University of North Carolina system and boasts numerous academic accolades. Most fans outside the region know Appalachian State for its "unofficial" promotional video or the football team's upset of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2007.

ASU is trying to build a basketball tradition to match that of their football program. The home of this building project is the on-campus Holmes Center. Opened in 2000, the Holmes Center serves as the home of the Mountaineers' winter sports, as well as concerts and other events in the High Country of North Carolina. The surrounding region is so beautiful that it is almost a shame to have to come inside, but the winter weather in Boone will occasionally force you to do so. When you do go inside, the Holmes Center provides you with a comfortable place to watch some of the best Division I basketball around in the Southern Conference.

Holmes Center

Total Score: 3.43

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 1
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

A good mid-major venue, although nothing special about it aside from its remote mountain location.

Holmes

Total Score: 2.71

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 1
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

A large mid-major arena in a remote mountain community. Holmes is essentially the poor man's version of Western Carolina's Ramsey Center. The last couple seasons, it's almost empty during games, except when they play WCU.

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Local Food & Drink

F.A.R.M. Cafe  (map it!)

617 W King St

Boone, NC 28607

(828) 386-1000

http://www.farmcafe.org

Lost Province Brewing Co.  (map it!)

130 N Depot St

Boone, NC 28607

(828) 265-3506

http://www.lostprovince.com

The TApp Room  (map it!)

421 Blowing Rock Rd

Boone, NC 28607

(828) 386-1216

http://www.tapproom.com

Murphy's Restaurant & Pub  (map it!)

747 West King St

Boone, NC 28607

(828) 264-5117

http://www.murphysboone.com

The Town Tavern  (map it!)

208 Faculty St

Boone, NC 28607

(828) 264-2226

http://www.thetowntavern-boone.com

Casa Rustica  (map it!)

1348 NC Hwy 105 Ext

Boone, NC 28607

(828) 262-5128

http://www.casarustica1981.com

Red Onion Cafe  (map it!)

227 Hardin St

Boone, NC 28607

(828) 264-5470

http://www.theredonioncafe.com

Troy's 105 Diner  (map it!)

1286 NC Hwy 105

Boone, NC 28607

(828) 265-1344

http://www.troys105diner.com

Local Entertainment

Grandfather Mountain  (map it!)

2050 Blowing Rock Hwy

Linville, NC 28646

(828) 733-4337

http://www.grandfather.com

The Blowing Rock  (map it!)

432 The Rock Rd

Blowing Rock, NC 28605

(828) 295-7111

http://www.theblowingrock.com

Tweetsie Railroad  (map it!)

300 Tweetsie Railroad Rd

Blowing Rock, NC 28605

(828) 264-9061

http://www.tweetsie.com

Appalachian Ski Mountain  (map it!)

940 Ski Mountain Rd

Blowing Rock, NC 28605

(828) 295-7828

http://www.appskimtn.com

Mystery Hill  (map it!)

129 Mystery Hill Ln

Blowing Rock, NC 28605

(828) 264-2792

http://www.mysteryhill-nc.com

Lodging

Courtyard by Marriott Boone  (map it!)

1050 NC 105

Boone, NC 28607

(828) 265-7676

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/hkybn-courtyard-boone/

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