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Official Review by Paul Hilchen, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Peter W. Stott Center, named after an alumnus and booster of Portland State, is the home for the PSU Viking basketball and volleyball teams. Built in 1966, it is located on the campus of Portland State University, which is on the south side of downtown Portland. The campus sits on 50 acres of real estate known as the University district.
The Stott Center also boasts rooftop tennis courts where the men’s and women’s tennis teams compete. This facility is the main hub for PSU athletics. Seating 1,775 fans in the main bleachers, it is one of the smallest college basketball arenas in the country.
The Vikings compete in the Big Sky Conference, where they won conference championships and NCAA bids in 2008 and 2009. The program joined the Big Sky Conference in 1996.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
All-you-can-eat basketball is the way of the Stott Center. Anyone purchasing a ticket to a PSU home game receives all you can eat hot dogs, popcorn and soda from the concession stand. This is a unique promotion to say the least. Zenner's hot dogs, Papa John's pizza and Franz Bread sponsor the Get Stuffed all-you-can-eat. There are other items available, but there is no menu or prices listed anywhere. If hot dogs and popcorn don't spark your interest, there are limitless options near the campus to eat before or after the game.
Taking into account the Stott Center's diminutive size, it does not feel like you are in a Division I arena, rather more like a high school gym. There is only one entrance to the gym. An 11 member pep band performs at the end of the court opposite to the entrance.
There is a good sized video board on the end of the court next to the band that seems oddly out of place. When the team is playing well, there is a much different feel to the arena, but there is very little excitement during the game in off years. This is a program on the rise, but its home hasn't quite caught up yet.
Downtown Portland has plenty of options for most tastes. Lodging is plentiful near the campus, highlighted by the Marriott and Hilton hotels. The Cheerful Tortoise, a sponsor of PSU athletics for 50 years and voted Portland's Best Sports Bar, is the place to be before and after games with daily drink specials a terrific menu. Voodoo Doughnuts is a must visit locale. The Bacon Maple bars are outstanding.
If you are looking for a more cultured experience, the Portland Art Museum is a few blocks away from the campus or a trip to OMSI - Oregon Museum of Science & Industry, should be on your itinerary. There is also a maritime museum on the banks of the Willamette River a mile or so away.
Despite the stands being filled to about 60-65% capacity during my most recent visit, the crowd was very quiet. I could hear the coaches instructing their players more than I could hear the crowd. The student section, referred to as "The Green Man Group" was not audible either, with most socializing instead of paying attention to the on court activities. I'm sure that if the team was competing for a conference title or tournament spot, there would be a much different feel in the Stott Center.
With the campus of PSU being in downtown Portland, congestion is a big problem. There isn't much parking close, so be prepared for a bit of a walk. There are a few parking garages within six blocks of the arena, or you can take your chances trying to find parking on the street. Beware though, Portland is infamous for having one way streets, and bike lanes. If you're not familiar with the city, you could be faced with an unwanted adventure trying to find your way around.
Public transportation is available within a two block radius. Tri-Met's MAX (train) and bus services are probably your best bet in getting to and from the Stott Center.
Once inside, it is very easy to get around. For the size of the building and the capacity, there is plenty of room in the lobby for fans to move around, get a hot dog, buy a t-shirt, or anything else you might want to do.
Tickets are $18 for adults and $8 for youth. There really isn't a bad seat in the house because at the worst, you are no more than 50 feet from the court. The plastic seats are not very comfortable and there is no safe place to set your drinks. With the all you can eat concessions, if you are a big eater it works out to be pretty reasonable entertainment value. But if you are looking for the excitement of big time Division I basketball, unfortunately this doesn't quite fit the bill.
The PSU Hall Of Fame wall is just outside the court. Some notable names from the wall include Neil Lomax (NFL QB), Clint Didier (NFL TE), June Jones (NFL QB and Head Coach) and former MLB manager Tom Trebelhorn. The opposite wall has the school's Division II accomplishments including National Championships in Volleyball and Wrestling.
The souvenir stand has caps for $20, t-shirts for $15 and sweatshirts for $30 - $45. There are not as many items as you might find at other arenas, but there are many choices of styles with what they do have.
The Stott Center is soon to be expanded and renovated. The "Viking Pavilion" will be the new basketball home for PSU within the existing Stott Center building. The project is to include a 5,000 seat sports arena, concert and event hosting, symposia and other general purpose uses. Based on the current situation, the expansion is a welcome upgrade to this program. It will create a new buzz for the school. The future looks bright for PSU athletics.
Member Review by AlexShoemaker
Located in the heart of Portland State University, the Peter Stott Center is home to several Vikings athletic teams including Men's and Women's Basketball as well as volleyball. Surrounded by trees, a multipurpose field, a library and multiple lecture halls, it definitely has the feel of a campus environment.
It opened in 1966, and has seen crowds reach near 3,000, which is surprisingly large for its 2,000 seat capacity. There are plans for a new athletic facility, and a new building is under construction, but it is uncertain when the teams will official move locations.
Member Review by BelgradeBobcat on Jan 04, 2013
The Stott Center is small. I played in many much larger facilities in high school. But if you want to get up close to the action and have your voice be heard this is a great venue.
The fans that show up are into it, but PSU has an enrollment near 30,000 yet the 2,000 seat Stott Center is more than big enough for most of their games. That's too bad-PSU basketball is a good product and the tickets are cheap.
Any venue in Portland rates a 5 on the neighborhood scale because Portland is awesome. Great restaurants and bars are all over the place. Some of my favorites are the Rock Bottom Brewery, Bamboo Sushi, Ken's Artisan Bakery, and of course VooDoo Donuts (do not miss this place). If I were a recriut, I'd go to Portland State just because it's in the middle of Portland! What an incredible city.
If you're not with someone who knows where it is, you better have a GPS. The Stott Center is an unassuming building in the middle of campus. And chances are, asking directions won't help, as I don't think most PSU students even know they have a basketball team!
PSU is working on a new venue and I hope they get it, but the Stott Center is fun-if you can find it.
Member Review by BryndonCoughlin on Mar 18, 2013
Located in the heart of Downtown Portland, Oregon, the Peter W. Stott Center is buried in the Portland State University campus. The small arena is the home for the men’s and woman’s basketball and volleyball programs. Volleyball and basketball were recently the only sports that Portland State played on campus, while the other programs played off campus. This changed March 13th, 2013 as the University hosted their first ever conference tennis match at the Peter W. Stott Center rooftop tennis courts, where both men’s and woman’s teams now compete.
The Center seats 1,775 people in its main bleachers. When the Stott Center originally opened, it was packed with 2,345 fans. When The Vikings are considered a “bubble team” for the NCAA Tournament is when most fans come out of the woodwork to fill the gym and cheer on their Vikings.
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