Jones Convocation Center (map it)
9501 South King Dr
Chicago, IL 60628
Year Opened: 2007
There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Paul Swaney, Stadium Journey Co-Founder
I was excited to attend a game at Chicago State University. The fact is, being a resident of Chicago for 13 years, I didn't know anything about this school, and was glad to finally see the final D-I basketball program in Cook County.
They have a new arena, which cost around $36M, so I thought that at worst, this may be an average experience. Boy, was I wrong.
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".
Would you like a slice of pizza ($4), hot dog ($3), nachos ($3), or popcorn ($1.50)? That's it. Those are your choices from the one concession stand. Cans of soda ($2) or bottles of water ($2) are also available.
The worst part is that when I went to the concession stand, about 40 minutes before tipoff, I was told that the pizza had not yet arrived, and the cheese for the nachos wasn't yet warmed up.
Walking into the arena during pre-game, the music blasts at a decibel level that is way too much for this venue. The result isn't so much exuberance as it's just really, really loud.
Green and gray concrete is the majority of what you see throughout. The first five rows offer chairbacks, but it is temporary seating that folds up after the game. The next four rows are permanent seats, also with chairbacks. In both cases, the leg room is less than average, but there is good height between rows. Take the stairs up and you'll find metal bleachers atop more gray concrete. All in all, it's a pretty drab environment.
The worst part of the experience was the PA announcer. Perhaps I should give him the benefit of the doubt, and say that he was compensating for the apathetic crowd (I won't call them fans). But the fact is, I left the arena feeling completely annoyed by his antics. I really can't describe succinctly in words what was so annoying, but essentially this gentleman thought that he was the reason that people had come to the game. He talked over the action so much that it seemed at times like he was doing play-by-play, including stealing the line of Chicago White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson's "You can put it on the board - YES!" He would also occasionally during dead air times just randomly say the name of the conference, "Great West." Absolutely awful. Someone tell me when he has left the building and I may return.
Jimmy's Original, is the stand of the inventor of the Maxwell Street Polish Dog, Jimmy Stefanovic. Jimmy has since passed on, but this classic stand, which never closes, is worth a stop in. There are no tables, so unless the weather is miraculously good, you'll be eating in your car. Order a Polish with "everything" on it, and you'll get a plump sausage with grilled onions, sport peppers, and yellow mustard, along with some crinkled fries on the side, all for $3.50.
Other than this classic, there's not much to write home about, and I'm stretching to even include this in the neighborhood.
There were at least two moments when the Chicago State Cougars scored a basket, and not one person in the entire arena, other than the bench for the home team, clapped or cheered in any way. That just can't happen. Why are people even going to the game if they care so little? I don't know.
There's no student section, no pep band, and really nothing to build any kind of positive home court advantage.
Parking will cost you more than the price of a ticket to the game. It's $5 for one of the lots near the arena, and $3 for a general admission ticket. Bathrooms are fine, and you certainly won't see a line with the crowds at these games.
The description for a zero score in this category is, "They could pay me, and I wouldn't go back." I take that very literally. Especially with the PA announcer still on staff, there's no way I am going back to a Chicago State basketball game, even if they paid me. It's not that I spent a lot of money, I didn't. It is an affordable trip to a (barely) Division I basketball game, but there just isn't anything here to endorse. If my son was on the team, I may not go. It's that bad.
Nope. There's nothing here that is extraordinary in a positive sense. Not even close.
If you've read this far, then you must love watching car crashes. I said to a friend soon after my visit that this was the worst live sporting event that I have ever seen, and I've seen a lot. I don't take that infamous title lightly. The truth is that I love going to live sporting events, just to watch a game. Skip this one. Trust me.
Member Review by Cam Cain on May 06, 2013
Do not go to the Jones Convocation Center
16 E 95th St
Chicago, IL 60619
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