Petersen Events Center (map it)
3719 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Year Opened: 2002
There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Joshua Guiher, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Pittsburgh Panthers play their home games in the 12,508 seat Petersen Events Center, which opened in 2002. Upon arriving, the building looks beautiful from blocks away and it doesn't disappoint when you finally get up the stairs to the main entrance. The Petersen Events Center is one of the most up-to-date basketball arenas in Division I basketball.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There are so many options for food at a Panthers game I'm not going to be able to cover them all here. Just for starters they had 3 different sizes of hot dogs ranging from $3 to $6! You can get Angus burgers, cheesesteaks, Nachos with just cheese, pulled pork, pulled chicken, beef or vegetarian style with roasted corn and black bean salsa. My favorite was a Bruster's Ice Cream station with cups, cones and waffle cones with 7 different flavor options of ice cream.
Soda was Pepsi and cost $5 for a 32oz cup or $4.25 for a 22oz version. The one thing that was lacking outside of the Bruster's was some sort of local restaurant featuring something unique to the area like Primanti Bros. Besides this, you couldn't ask for anything else to eat or drink at a Panthers game.
With such a nice arena and perennially top 5 program, the Panthers sell out almost all home games. Just walking a few blocks around town, there were no less than two dozen scalpers on the street corners and riding bikes. Tickets on the street were going for one and a half to two times the face value of $20.
Once inside, the crowd is very energized and into the game. The students occupy the first 10 rows or so of each end line and the side opposite of the scorers table. They are constantly chanting and jumping around for the entire 40 minutes of basketball. The only thing really lacking were some zany outfits with only two students wearing 1980's track suits and one student wearing a plush gator head.
Pittsburgh is located in Oakland, which is an average section of Pittsburgh. During rush hour, it isn't the easiest part of the city to navigate due to some one way roads but it isn't too bad, just allow a few extra minutes.
The shopping and restaurant section starts just two blocks straight down De Soto St from the Petersen Events Center and has both national chains and some local establishments. Personally I ate at a place called Pizza Sola. For a single slice it cost me $4.82 and it was average at best.
I also stopped by the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company and got some Reese's Peanut Butter and Chocolate Popcorn. It was the best popcorn I have ever had. The entire place was just different flavors of popcorn with a total of about 20 ranging from regular movie style to bacon cheddar to Mesquite BBQ.
With consistent sellouts and an active student section that goes by the name the Oakland Zoo, the fans at a Panther basketball game are some of the best in the country. I think what I liked most is that the fans were in their seats throughout the entire game action and only left for concessions during halftime. It's one thing to attend a game; it's another to actually be fully engaged. Pittsburgh fans are fully engaged.
Parking garages around the Petersen Events Center were charging $10 for the event, where on a normal night it would be $5. This isn't bad and certainly beats the $40-$200 for Panther and Steeler football games.
Moving around the arena itself was fairly easy as were the aisles as they were really wide. The biggest negative is what I mentioned above with traffic and getting around the city streets. The Bathrooms in the arena were really clean and had plenty of room to move around.
Ticket prices were $20.30 after local tax was applied, which is high compared to other Division I basketball programs in the state, but since Pittsburgh is one of the top teams in the nation with a beautiful new arena, the ticket price is justified. Couple in the very affordable parking and no NBA team in the city and you can see why a trip to see a Panthers basketball game is worth the price of admission. In fact, the only other major winter sport in the area is Penguins hockey with the cheapest tickets being $75 and parking of $18-20, it makes a Panthers game come off as a bargain.
Despite being a huge draw and a top program, it was nice not to be bombarded by advertisements during each timeout. The team relied on the cheerleaders and sometimes the band to keep the fans entertained. No needless half time entertainment, only one t-shirt toss and that was it. There were forbidden areas for media due to rotating electronic ads around portions of the floor, but that kept the timeouts fan friendly. There also is a wonderful display in the main lobby with basketballs from all sorts of Big East championships and NCAA tournament appearances.
Member Review by JVerlin on Aug 05, 2011
Going to a game at the Pete is like seeing an NBA playoff game, every time. The crowd guarantees that--during Big East season especially, the Oakland Zoo makes that building rock and roll, making it one of the most intimidating home courts in the country. Built within the last decade, the facility is clean and modern, with a food court serving the basics (Burger King, etc) while the vendors around the ballpark serve much more varied and original eats. Still, you come to the Pete to watch basketball, and they make sure you get it unfiltered and unedited. The fans know what's going on and support their team endlessly, without the PA announcer needing to start chants or tell people when to cheer. If you're ever in Pittsburgh, and you only have a chance to see one sporting event...make it a Pitt basketball game. You won't regret it.
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