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North Charleston Coliseum

North Charleston, SC

Home of the CAA Tournament

3.6

N/A

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


CAA Tournament website

North Charleston Coliseum website

Year Opened: 1993

Capacity: 11,475

There are no tickets available at this time.

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High Stakes in the Lowcountry

In 2016, the Colonial Athletic Association announced they would move their men’s basketball tournament to the North Charleston Coliseum for the coming years. After adding the College of Charleston to the conference in 2013, the tournament was moved to the city after being in Baltimore at Royal Farms Arena several years prior. Overall, the site worked well in 2017 because the closest two teams, UNC Wilmington and College of Charleston were the top two seeds. But even if they weren’t, Charleston is a great vacation destination for any fan, and is an excellent tournament host.

3.6

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    3

North Charleston Coliseum offers good food with good variety, but it is very expensive. It's a pro arena so you can expect pro pricing as well. For example, something simple like a hot dog costs $4.25. A burger and fries runs $9. Perhaps the best deal comes in the local food section, where you can get BBQ with beans and coleslaw, or tater tots for $8.50.

Pepsi products are sold in small ($1), medium ($4), and large ($4.75) sizes. In addition to beer ($8) and wine ($7.75), there's a cocktail bar in the food court. Cocktails are available for $8.75, with doubles priced at $17.50.

Atmosphere    3

As with many conference tournaments, the atmosphere very much depends on which teams are playing. It's not the most central location, with the center of the CAA teams nowhere near Charleston. It seems the conference wanted a vacation destination and they certainly get that with the Holy City.

The College of Charleston is right around the corner, and the trip isn't too far for schools like UNC Wilmington or Elon. On the other hand, schools like Northeastern, Delaware, and Drexel have to travel several hours to get to Charleston and their fans aren't very well represented. In games involving mostly northeastern schools the crowd is sparse at best. However, when the local schools play, it is a nearly full arena. None of these games actually sell out due to the size of the arena, but there are plenty of fans filling both the upper and lower levels.

Though it may look big from the outside, it's an intimate arena. Every seat is close, even the ones on the upper level. The only exception are the seats in the end zone. Because it's a hockey arena, there's plenty of space behind the baskets. You're probably better off choosing a seat that runs parallel to the side of the court. The seats are all individual red chair backs and come with decent legroom.

Outside the seating bowl, you'll find a concourse that runs all around the arena. It's easy to get lost if you don't know where you're going. The sides are symmetrical and nearly every entrance looks identical.

There's a small video board hanging from the ceiling. It's no Jumbotron, but definitely gets the job done for announcing and showing advertisements. Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of this arena is the lack of other scoreboards. The only scoreboard found is the one hanging from the ceiling. There are no end zone scoreboards, just a small clock.

Neighborhood    5

The area surrounding the arena is the main reason that the conference chose Charleston as their new tournament location. Charleston is one of the greatest vacation destinations in the world and is constantly found on many travel lists towards the top. In the immediate area around the arena, you'll find outlet malls along with plenty of restaurants and hotels. But just a short drive down Interstate 26, you'll find beautiful downtown Charleston. This historic city is one of the most popular tourist decisions in the world, and has a little something for everybody. You can find unique shops, fine dining, and just overall fun in the city.

The best place to eat around the Coliseum is Jim 'N Nicks BBQ. There's also a downtown location, but they both serve the same food. It's pulled pork, the famous Carolina barbecue, topped with any one of the local sauces. There are also great sides and homemade cornbread.

If you're looking to go downtown, there's never a shortage of places for you to go. This list could be 20 to 30 restaurants long if we're doing a full list of restaurants in Charleston to visit. Since this is a sports site though, let's stick to a great sports bar downtown. Charleston Beer Works is a spectacular sports bar, located in the heart of downtown on King Street. Of course the food is amazing, with wings, burgers, and several beers for under $6.

If you're from out of town, there are several hotels within walking distance of the Coliseum. The Embassy Suites is actually part of the convention center, and the Hilton Garden Inn has its own boardwalk from the hotel to the Coliseum. The convention center is right near the airport, so there are plenty of hotels around the area with good prices as well.

Fans    3

The crowd is very dependent on who is playing. Thankfully the 2017 tournament final featured UNC Wilmington and College of Charleston, the two closest teams to the tournament. Attendance dropped to 3,031 in 2016's tournament final in Baltimore, but the first final in Charleston reported 6,342 spectators. It's certainly a great start, and almost exactly what the CAA wanted.

Access    5

Getting to the North Charleston Coliseum could not be easier. If you're driving, take the Montague Avenue exit off of Interstate 26 (212). If you're flying in, the airport is no more than a five minute drive from the Coliseum. Even if you're taking a train, the station in Charleston is only about 10 minutes away from the Coliseum. The arena was placed with this kind of access in mind.

Parking is $5 at the gate, so make sure you bring cash. There's plenty of parking spots around the arena so you don't have to worry about getting there early.

Return on Investment    2

It's tough to say what the return on investment will be. It likely depends on what team you're rooting for. If you're a fan of the College of Charleston, or another local team, then there may not be a lot of value in this experience. You've likely been to the North Charleston Coliseum, and a $30 session ticket is a steep price for two games. However if you're visiting Charleston from out of town, you might really enjoy the fact that the tournament is held in Charleston. That being said, tickets were $60 for a full tournament book in 2017, and $30 per session (two games). Parking is reasonable and concessions are very expensive. In short, as a destination city, this is a great spot for the CAA to host. However, the prices for tickets and food might deter some fans.

Extras    4

Every school brings their pep band, but certain schools have larger ones are others. For example James Madison's band is very charismatic and even has their own Twitter account. It seems to be quite an attraction and they certainly come prepared.

Meanwhile other schools, including the College of Charleston, don't really have much of a presence. They will make themselves heard on free throws and during timeouts, but the larger bands are much more easily heard.

Instead of the usually hockey nets behind the goals, each end zone features a banner for each team in the conference, a nice touch from the CAA.

Each game features a unique halftime performance, each showcasing a different local group. During one game, there was a local music program that performed a few songs.

Finally, the PA announcer deserves some credit. He pulls double duty as the voice of C of C and the Charleston Riverdogs. He's got plenty of character, and uses a microphone headset to give him more mobility. Overall, it's a great voice and a great perk for locals.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Charleston is a great host for the CAA tournament. It may not be the best geographically, but it makes up for it with the lively downtown and local team. As a tourist destination, you can't beat Charleston. The North Charleston Coliseum is very convenient, and it is a more than suitable host for one of the better mid-major conference tournaments.

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Local Food & Drink

Jim ‘N Nicks BBQ  (map it!)

4964 Centre Pointe Dr

Charleston, SC 29406

(843) 747-3800

https://www.jimnnicks.com/menus/north-charleston/bar-b-q/

Charleston Beer Works  (map it!)

480 King St

Charleston, SC 29403

(843) 727-2151

http://charlestonbeerworks.com/

Local Entertainment

Lodging

Embassy Suites Charleston Airport Hotel & Convention Center  (map it!)

5055 International Blvd

North Charleston, SC 29418

(843) 747-1882

http://embassysuites3.hilton.com/en/hotels/south-carolina/embassy-suites-by-hilton-charleston-airport-hotel-and-convention-center-CHSEMES/index.html

Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Airport  (map it!)

5265 International Blvd

North Charleston, SC 29418

(843) 308-9330

http://hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/south-carolina/hilton-garden-inn-charleston-airport-CHSAHGI/index.html

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