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North Charleston Coliseum

North Charleston, SC

Home of the South Carolina Stingrays

2.6

N/A

North Charleston Coliseum (map it)
5001 Coliseum Dr
North Charleston, SC 29418


South Carolina Stingrays website

North Charleston Coliseum website

Year Opened: 1993

Capacity: 13,000

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Catching Some 'Rays

The South Carolina Stingrays were established in 1993, and play in the North Charleston Coliseum in the city of North Charleston, SC. They were the first professional hockey team in the Palmetto State, and are the oldest continuously-operating ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) franchise to remain in its original city. For their first several years, the Stingrays were a minor league team affiliated with the Washington Capitals, but in 2012 inked a new deal with the Boston Bruins. The Coliseum is presently undergoing a renovation to add more concessions stands, widen the concourse, and create more event spaces for parties and receptions. With a revamped home ice, better marketing and more advertising, the Stingrays could be a much more popular team than at present. For now, though, it wouldn’t be hard to find a Charleston resident who never even knew the team existed.

2.6

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    2

No one would drive 20 minutes north of downtown Charleston to get a great meal, so don't expect to find one at the Coliseum. The prices are normal stadium numbers, and the food is generic and unexciting. Chicken strips and fries ($8), corn dogs ($4.50), and nachos ($4.50) can be purchased in the really large lounge area off the main concourse. The only good thing about the food and beverage selection is that a rather large beer is only $7. They have normal domestics, as well as a few microbrews. It's too bad they had to pour it into a big gulp cup instead of letting me drink from the milk jug sized can of Foster's.

Atmosphere    2

The North Charleston Coliseum was built in 1991, but feels quite a bit older. There is really nothing special to say about the venue, other than it is the only place in town big enough to host a pro franchise and major events, like a concert from locally-born Darius Rucker, or WWE's Friday Night Smackdown. The atmosphere at either of those events would surely exceed what I witnessed at the Stingrays game. The in-game production, music and video, aren't bad, but I just got the feeling most of the crowd was more or less indifferent to the game I attended. The biggest cheers, of course, were during the second period when a little bit of a scrap went down in the corner. Perhaps the crowd would have preferred a boxing match? Oh, it was also freezing inside the arena, probably colder than if the game was played outdoors. This could have had something to do with the lethargic crowd; everyone was hibernating.

Neighborhood    4

The best thing about the Coliseum is its really nice location. Located minutes from the Charleston airport, it sits just off two major interstates, and near plenty of hotels and restaurants. Across the street is a Tanger outlet center with all the normal Polo, J. Crew, Nike, and other stores you'd expect. There are dozens of places to grab lunch or dinner, from fast-casual chains like Chipotle and Panera, to sit-down chains like Chili's and Buffalo Wild Wings. There is also a Firefighting museum (?!) which is located directly between the Coliseum and Tanger outlets.

Fans    2

To be fair, there were a lot more than I expected, and upwards of 10 percent of them were wearing Stingrays gear. But, this is still minor league ice hockey in a location better known for beaches and palm trees. There are a few diehards, but for the most part the stands were full of parents with kids who needed something to do with them on a Saturday night. The Stingrays averaged more than 9,000 fans in the early years, about 64 percent of the 14,000-seat capacity at the North Charleston Coliseum. But, the team set an all-time low for average attendance in 2011-2012 at 3,250, and did just a smidge better in future seasons.

Access    3

It is a really easy drive from anywhere in the Lowcountry, with its prominent location just off interstates 26 and 526. If you ever flew into Charleston airport for a Stingrays game, which would be crazy, you could nearly walk from the terminal to the game. There is plenty of $5 parking, but the lot is about the equivalent of a block from the front doors, so I suggest parking at the outlet stores or a restaurant across the street for free. The walk is nearly the same, and you'll save $5, which you can put towards a Foster's oil can.

Return on Investment    3

Tickets are $10, so you won't be out much, and you can definitely sneak down from the upper level if you are cunning. Parking is free if you can walk a couple blocks, beer is plentiful and reasonable, so the value is there if you are a fan of hockey. The game is not at all boring, the players play hard and it's easy to see they care about winning. If you enjoy the puck, or are just looking for something different to do during the at times chilling Charleston winters, you should check out the Stingrays.

Extras    2

The Stingrays mascot, Cool Ray, is not very cool. A cartoony, anthropomorphized stingray, I read that he was born when the team used a childish ray logo in the past. It's too bad he's not more like the current logo, a slick stingray design that looks really nice on the team's navy/red/silver sweaters. An alternate logo for the team shows the Ravenel Bridge, the famous Charleston landmark, being paved with a blazing puck. Although Cool Ray is awful and uninspired (Really? Cool Ray? Why not Sting, or Chuck, or Maximus, or any other name), the team's logos and colors are really sharp.

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