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McLeod Center

Cedar Falls, IA

Home of the Northern Iowa Panthers

4.1

4.4

McLeod Center (map it)
2501 Hudson Road
Cedar Falls, IA 50614


Northern Iowa Panthers website

McLeod Center website

Year Opened: 2006

Capacity: 7,018

There are no tickets available at this time.

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McLeod Five

The McLeod Center hosts men's and women's basketball, volleyball and wrestling. The $26 Million arena opened in 2006, and holds just over 7,000 fans.

4.1

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

There are two main concession stands, one located on each side of the court. The food selection is about what you'd expect: Pepsi products ($3, $4), bottled water ($3), popcorn ($2.50, $3.50, $4.50), nachos ($3.50), hot dogs ($2.50), brats ($3.50), and pretzels with cheese ($4). They also offer caramel corn ($3.50), candy ($2.50), peanuts ($2.50), pizza by the slice ($3.50) and malt cups ($3.50).

Atmosphere    4

Before the game, I was fortunate enough to visit the UNI trophy display, located between the McLeod Center and the UNI Dome. Here I found a significant piece of history: the 2010 ESPY for "Best Upset," referring to the second round game in the 2010 NCAA Tournament that saw the No. 9 seed Northern Iowa knock off No. 1 overall Kansas, shocking the world and destroying brackets across the country. Very cool.

For a Saturday night game against conference rival Wichita State, Panther fans filled the McLeod Center to about 90 percent. The majority of the crowd consisted of young families and alumni.

The student section, however, is what made the atmosphere in this arena so unique. Nearly three-quarters of the student section was full as I entered the McLeod Center approximately 55 minutes before tip-off. They were attentive, enthusiastic and especially loud throughout the game, despite losing by 18.

What makes the UNI student section stand out from any other college basketball game I've ever been to is the Interlude Dance, a two-minute riot during the first timeout in the second half. The Interlude Dance electrifies the building and sends chills down your spine. To see this live was worth the price of admission alone.

Neighborhood    4

The McLeod Center is on Hudson Road in Cedar Falls on the Northern Iowa campus. Less than a mile away is College Street (known as "The Hill"). The Hill features local sports bars such as Becks and The Other Place. Becks is a more traditional bar and grill type of hangout, whereas The OP is your typical local pizza joint featuring the best pizza in town. These are both great pre and post-game hot spots and are well within walking distance from the arena.

Fans    5

It's tough to find anything bad to say about the UNI fans. Despite riding a two-game losing streak, the Panther faithful packed the McLeod Center for this particular game and showed enthusiasm and interest throughout. A home team three-pointer brought fans to their feet every time. The Interlude Dance alone is worthy of a perfect score in this particular category. Here's the link again. Seriously, check it out.

Access    5

Parking in the West and South Dome lots are reserved for those with parking passes. The 27th St. lot, South Art lot, and North Dome lot all surround the McLeod Center/UNI Dome, and are free of charge. Click here for parking lot map.

The four men's and women's restrooms aren't very big, though neither is the McLeod Center. Expect easy access before and during the game, and quick-moving lines during halftime.

Return on Investment    5

UNI basketball tickets are fairly priced. Student seats are free (with a student ID), and every other seat in the house is $17. Well worth the price of admission for a mid-major conference college basketball game.

Extras    3

I realize the Interlude Dance and ESPY for "Best Upset" were already counted in previous categories, but they're definitely worth repeating. One extra point goes to the student section for rocking the house all night, specifically during the Interlude Dance. Two big points to the McLeod Center for housing an award that most players and teams dream about but will never achieve.

Final Thoughts

In Comparison to Carver Hawkeye Arena (University of Iowa), the McLeod Center boasts better access, and a much more exciting atmosphere. Perhaps it's not a "must see before you die" arena, but the experience is much more than you would expect from a mid-major conference. If you're ever in the area, I would definitely recommend a trip to the McLeod Center for a night of men's college basketball.

Corrections

McLeod is in Cedar Falls, IA not Cedar Rapids, IA. It also only cost $26 million not $126 million

by cannic | Feb 28, 2011 11:05 AM

RE: Corrections

Indeed. Thanks for the feedback. We apologize for the mistakes.

by paul | Feb 28, 2011 03:50 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Amazing venue

Total Score: 4.43

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

Only thing missing is a hanging scoreboard above the court.

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Local Food & Drink

Beck's  (map it!)

2210 College Street

Cedar Falls, IA 50613

(319) 277-2646 â??

http://www.barmuda.com/

The Other Place  (map it!)

2214 College St

Cedar Falls, IA 50613

(319) 277-9720 â??

http://www.theotherplace.com/

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