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Mohegan Sun Arena

Uncasville, CT

Home of the Connecticut Sun

4.0

N/A

Mohegan Sun Arena (map it)
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT 06382


Connecticut Sun website

Mohegan Sun Arena website

Year Opened: 2001

Capacity: 9,518

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Soaking In The Sun

A visit to Mohegan Sun Arena and the Connecticut Sun is quite unique for two reasons: the arena is inside a casino and the team plays in the smallest market to host a major professional team in the country. The popularity of the UConn Huskies women’s basketball team made the state a desirable place for a WNBA franchise, and in 2003, the Orlando Miracle moved to Connecticut. Instead of playing in Hartford, the team went to the southeast corner of the state, in the small village of Uncasville along the Thames River. It is here that the Mohegan Tribe opened a massive casino a few years after becoming federally recognized in the mid 1990s. An arena was built inside Mohegan Sun in 2001, and the casino brought in a WNBA team a few years later. After a couple of early appearances in the WNBA Finals, the Sun are still looking for their first title. Thanks to a terrific location, great fans and a beautiful facility, the Mohegan Sun Arena is certainly worth a trip.

4.0

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 many concession stands throughout Mohegan Sun Arena, but most of them feature the same variety of food. While the selection is OK, I found the overall offering to be underwhelming. Common at most stands are hot dogs ($4.50), meatball grinders ($5.50) and hamburger sliders ($5.00). Snacks can easily be found too, like popcorn, nachos, pretzels and candy. Deli sandwiches come with a few different cold cut options, and on the night I attended, chicken parmesan sandwiches ($7.00) were offered. I did find it interesting to see a few hors d'oeuvres, as fans could buy a vegetable crudite or a pepperoni, cheese and cracker combination.

Soda products come from Coca-Cola, while Bud provides the beer. There are other beer carts around, which is good to see, as Goose Island, Newcastle and Blue Moon (to name a few) offer fans more choices. For those looking for liquor, a stand featuring Absolut makes mixed drinks.

Atmosphere    4

Mohegan Sun Arena is a stunning facility. It's stunning not in the sense that it is loaded with state-of-the-art features or luxury suites and specialty seating; rather, it is aesthetically pleasing, and the atmosphere is excellent for the general sports fan. The Mohegan Tribal theme that can be seen throughout the beautiful casino is maintained in the concourse of the arena, where the bronze-orange terrazzo floor and the decorations above set a terrific ambiance. Even the bathrooms look good. Inside the near-10,000 seat arena, basketball is a natural fit. The octagon shaped interior features two levels of seating, with a similar number of seats in each deck. Sight lines are great, and they are even better than normal in the upper deck, where a lack of suites in the arena brings the general fan closer to the action. There are only two sections for luxury seating in the building, and they can be found built into the wall above of each side of upper seating.

The knocks against Mohegan Sun Arena are minor, but surprising given that it is a relatively new arena (built in 2001). Seats are tight, and combined with the skinny armrests, you might be touching your neighbor for parts of the game. Also, the scoreboard is terrible and badly in need of an upgrade. The board is not located above center court, but rather can be found on the end walls. The dated board is centered by video that malfunctioned and was off for the second half. Meanwhile, on the corner walls of the arena, secondary video screens were so hazy that they weren't worth viewing.

Neighborhood    5

In less than five minutes, you can walk from your arena seat to a restaurant, a slot machine, retail stores or even an indoor waterfall. Welcome to one of the biggest casinos in the United States, as Mohegan Sun offers what most arenas cannot. While a casino may not be a "neighborhood", there is a lot to do both before and after a Sun game. Most like to eat, and there are endless options in the casino, ranging from upscale to take-out. Gourmet restaurants like Tuscany and Michael Jordan's Steakhouse offer a sit-down experience with excellent food. The numerous casual restaurants are just as good, especially Bobby's Burger Palace and the brand new Virgil's Barbecue. Then there are the quick and easy places, like Ben and Jerry's or Krispy Kreme, good for those with a sweet tooth. Plus, there are numerous bars.

If casinos aren't your thing (and after losing both on the slots and tables, it may no longer be my thing either), there are other places to see in southeast Connecticut. About 20 minutes to the south is the scenic village of Mystic. Located along the river of the same name, the downtown is quaint and worth a stroll, while the two main (and crowded) attractions are the Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport. I found the Seaport particularly intriguing, and it is easy to spend an entire day there. Also about 20 minutes away from Mohegan Sun is the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. Located near the other mega-casino, Foxwoods, this museum is very well done as it depicts the history of a different Native American tribe, the Pequots.

Fans    4

Part of the reason the Orlando Miracle came to Connecticut in 2003 was that there was already a fan base of women's hoops established. People in the Nutmeg State follow the Husky women very closely, and the hope was that it would translate to the pro game. I would say that it has nicely done so. For the season-opening game that I attended, most of the arena was full. While many WNBA teams grossly inflate attendance numbers, the Connecticut Sun are a rarity, in that the announced attendance actually does a good job of representing those that are there. Fans mostly fill up the Mohegan Sun Arena, and those inside are really into the game. Each basket was met with rousing applause and those in the lower bowl rose to their feet after big runs by the home team. And if a play is made by a University of Connecticut alum, the fans easily make it known that player was a Husky.

Access    5

Highway access makes it very easy to reach Mohegan Sun Arena, as the main thoroughfare through Southern New England (I-95) is about 20 minutes away. The casino/arena is just off I-395, which runs north-south through the eastern half of the state. A four-to-six lane connecting road (Route 2A) leads to the complex, which has multiple entrances. There are several free parking garages to choose from, with the Riverview Garage providing best access to the arena. For those that end up in a different garage, the walk through the casino is nearly 5-15 minutes just to arrive at the arena's doors (with the lights and dings of the slot machines tempting you the whole way). Plenty of overhead signs throughout makes finding the sports facility easy.

Inside Mohegan Sun Arena, the single concourse is wide enough to accommodate the crowds. Even at halftime, I had no troubles moving around. Only when everyone left did it get jammed a bit, and that's because there are only two exits back into the casino. Bathrooms are plentiful and adequate.

Return on Investment    4

The free parking is a great perk that other WNBA teams don't have the luxury to offer. Tickets are of average price, as most seats can be found in the $20 - $50 range. Most of the sideline seats are $26 - $36, and I would say these are generally fair. Unfortunately, the Sun uses TicketMaster, so those fairly-priced seats quickly become unreasonable, thanks to the ridiculously exorbitant fees from TicketMaster (in some cases hiking up prices by 35%). It may be risky, as the team does sell out a few games, but the box office may be worth a try to save money. For the average ticket price, it is certainly worth it to see a Sun game.

Extras    3

The owners of the team, Mohegan Sun, should be commended for their part in helping with the recovery following the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma that took place in May of 2013. The Sun donated ticket sales from some of the tickets sold during the game we attended.

Many have been in the arena for something other than a Sun game, as concerts are a significant part of the arena schedule. Thanks to the casino, a nearly continuous flow of big-name acts make their way to Uncasville. There is even a Walk of Fame on the floor near the box office, which displays stars from the music industry who have performed during the arena's history.

Another display found at the arena is in the concourse, where the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame is located. The display case is filled with plaques, and it was surprising to see how many boxers the state has produced. A continuously playing video at the center shows old clips of these honored boxers.

Final Thoughts

Follow all of Sean's journeys at Stadium & Arena Visits.

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