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Official Review by Chad Minton, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Known as “The Roundhouse”, McKenzie Arena was built in 1982 and serves as a great stage for college basketball for the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Unlike similarly-sized programs, Chattanooga enjoys a large home venue that seats nearly 11,000 fans. The facility itself actually serves as the city of Chattanooga’s main facility for concerts and other entertainment events. If Chattanooga could find some national success and build a larger fan base as a mid-major program, McKenzie Arena could really become a tough place to play for visiting teams.
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You'll be pleasantly surprised when you check out the menu at McKenzie Arena. The prices are extremely fair, but there are also plenty of unique options to choose from.
Perhaps the most unique of these choices is an item called Tornadoes. These are wrapped corn tortillas with chicken, cheese and peppers inside. These things are quite large, and you can get two for just $4. There is also an item called Mocs Pie, which is basically a chili pie stuffed with Fritos, cheese, jalapenos and other toppings. These are also $4 each. The menu doesn't stop there, as bratwursts ($4) and a Papa John's pizza slice ($3) are available as more filling options.
The more basic items include hot dogs, nachos and pretzels, all for $3. You have the option of adding chili or cheese to any item for just 50 cents more.
The drinks include Coke products, Powerade and bottled water.
It really was quite impressive to see such fair prices along with a very wide variety of choices. The amount of concession stands is clearly sufficient to support any amount of fans that might make their way to McKenzie Arena.
Every seat in McKenzie Arena is the chair-back seat that can be found in many larger arenas. The seats are fairly comfortable, and the only complaint is that the seating is a little cramped. However, any seat in the lower level of the arena offers an excellent view of the action.
There are two large video screens in two corners of the arena's upper deck. These screens offer a clean video image of the game, along with fun things like the kiss cam. There are numerous contests for the fans during media breaks that keep everyone's focus on the floor.
Since the crowd was a little sparse on this particular evening, there were times when the arena was rather quiet. That put a damper on the atmosphere, and the visiting UNC-Greensboro's hot three-point shooting probably didn't help the cause of raising the level of enthusiasm throughout the arena.
The arena is located right in the middle of downtown Chattanooga, and Chattanooga can really be a fun place to explore. If you're a fan of Irish pubs, checking out the Honest Pint is a must. It's located just a few blocks away from McKenzie Arena, and you'll find all of your Irish favorites from beer to food. Another place that is worth visiting is the Pickle Barrel Restaurant. They offer good beer and tasty food. This is a place where you can meet new people and just have a good time after the game.
If you're staying in Chattanooga for more than just one night, you need to pay a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium. It's a short drive through downtown from McKenzie Arena, and there are several additional things to do in this part of Chattanooga.
It would be very difficult not to have a good time after attending a game at McKenzie Arena. Everything is conveniently located near the arena to help you avoid the headache of driving all over a sprawling city with which you are not familiar.
The fans were very knowledgeable and stayed to the bitter end of this contest that ended in a 30-point defeat for the Mocs. That's loyalty if I've ever seen it. Sure, the crowd was very sparse, but some of that probably had to do with the nasty weather that hit the Chattanooga area on this night. The rain was relentless, and one would imagine it kept a lot of people at home.
However, the fans that did make the trip cheered for the Mocs throughout the game. Even when the game was essentially decided, the fans kept applauding made baskets. Hopefully, more fans will start packing into this arena in the future, because this place could get really loud with more fan support.
It's pretty easy to find Mckenzie Arena once you get off Interstate 24 or Interstate 75. A short drive down East 4th Street will take you right by the arena, and parking is right next to the building.
Even though Chattanooga is a moderately-sized city, it's not too hard to navigate with regards to finding McKenzie Arena. There are signs throughout the downtown area that will direct you towards whatever important landmark you're trying to find. The city does a nice job at catering to the people that may not know their way around Chattanooga.
The restrooms are tiny, but there are enough of them to keep the lines low. They are kept pretty clean, as well.
Tickets are offered at three different price levels. The upper level can be bought for just $8, but the more popular choice on the night I attended was the mid-level seating for $10. These seats offer an exceptional view of the game for a reasonable price. For just a few dollars more, you can sit in the lower bowl of the arena.
The prices at the concession stands are bargains for the food that's offered, and the parking is just $5.
You can have a great night out enjoying some quality basketball in a nice venue for under $30 at McKenzie Arena.
Jim Reynolds was honored at halftime of the game I attended in early 2013 for broadcasting his 1,000th Chattanooga Mocs basketball game. The entire arena stood and applauded him for his great contributions to the program, and that was a cool thing to see.
Another extra goes to the one of the concession stands contributing all of their proceeds to a local middle school. It's always important that these venues give back to the local community, and McKenzie Arena seems to be doing just that.
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35 Patten Pkwy
Chattanooga, TN 37402
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