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Quicken Loans Arena

Cleveland, OH

Home of the Lake Erie Monsters



Quicken Loans Arena (map it)
1 Center Court
Cleveland, OH 44115

Lake Erie Monsters website

Quicken Loans Arena website

Year Opened: 1994

Capacity: 20,056

There are no tickets available at this time.


Local Information


Monster Pucks

Cleveland’s history of pro hockey hasn’t seen the kind of success you might expect for an area that has long been the state’s traditional home of hockey at the amateur level (Since 2000, 11 state champs in boy’s hockey have been from the area). Cleveland’s history of pro hockey dates back to the late 1920s. A notable run was made by the (first) Cleveland Barons in the American Hockey League. The Barons existed from 1937-1973 and won 10 Calder Cup championships over that time.

There have been two major league hockey teams in town, though both were short runs with limited success. The Cleveland Crusaders played in the upstart World Hockey Association for 4 seasons (1972-1976) and failed to draw an average of more than 7,000 fans a game despite making the playoffs in all four seasons. With local fans seemingly unwilling to accept the team as truly “major league”, after the ‘76 season the team moved.

Richfield Coliseum wouldn’t sit without hockey for long as the Cleveland Barons name was resurrected in the summer of 1976 for a franchise in the NHL. The Barons only lasted two seasons, 1976-1978, before the team was ended. Oddly enough, both Cleveland teams would play a role in Minnesota’s pro hockey history, when the Crusaders were eventually moved to St. Paul to become the second incarnation of the WHA’s Minnesota Fighting Saints and the Barons were folded into the NHL’s Minnesota North Stars.

Additionally, minor league teams calling Cleveland home were the Lumberjacks (ECHL, 1992-2001) and yet another iteration of the Barons name (AHL, 2001-2005).

The Monsters came to be in 2007, after Dan Gilbert, owner of both the NBA’s Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena, bought an inactive American Hockey League franchise. The name is in reference to a local legend, “Bessie”, a giant, snake-like creature that inhabits nearby Lake Erie’s waters with supposed sightings dating back to the late 1700s.

In addition to the Cavaliers, Quicken Loans Arena is shared with the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League.


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

While most of the branded restaurants (Quaker Steak & Lube, See Saw Pretzel Shop, Cold Stone Creamery) are open as normal for Monsters games, one notable absence is that of Michael Symon's B Spot Burgers. The acclaimed chef and restaurateur, and proud Clevelander, has an outpost on the lower concourse BUT it's only open for Cavs games. The saving grace is there is a location near the arena in the newly opened Horseshoe Casino. If you eat elsewhere and just want a snack, I'd check out the cupcake stands, which run $3.50 a piece.

Nearly all of the concession stands on the lower concourse are open, which makes for a fairly quick turnover. If you are up in the club area, you have quick access to your own smaller stands. These sell more of the basic items (hot dogs, popcorn, etc.).

Atmosphere    4

If a small crowd is expected, the upper deck will be curtained off completely, cutting the 20,056 seating capacity in about half. I've been in a few arenas where seating is curtained off, usually it looks like a stop-gap measure. If anything, it just draws your attention to how cavernous a place is. The upper deck was closed on this occasion and I must say, I actually think it did help the atmosphere in the seating areas. After the initial noting of the curtaining, I really didn't notice it the rest of the game and the place felt like a much smaller arena.

Minor league sports are often an affordable alternative for families who maybe don't want to spend the kind of cash it takes to go to a major league game. Minor teams know this and will usually tailor their marketing or game experiences as such. The Monsters do that but offer some activities to include kids in the game rather than just distract them from it. The concourse featured stations with posterboard and markers so the kids could make their own signs, face painting (Monsters logos), and other activities.

Though Quicken Loans Arena is nearly 20 years old, it still feels incredibly modern, thanks to an extensive renovation in 2005, when Gilbert bought the place. With the way the seating bowls are constructed (with a lower bowl of only 14 rows, topped by a slightly taller club section) it helps to keep the upper deck in closer. This provides great sightlines from almost every angle.

The game presentation is top-notch. Clearly, being under the Cavs umbrella has helped with the production values. Everything feels major league with video clips, in-arena hosts and well-versed arena staff. When there is one major tenant in an arena, often the secondary teams can become something of an afterthought. That is not the case here, since Gilbert (who owns the Cavs) also owns the Monsters, and there is much more of a vested interest in their success.

In the rafters you'll notice a couple banners representing the past Cleveland hockey teams. One notable absence is there's nothing from the short run of the NHL Barons.

Neighborhood    5

Both Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field sit in a part of downtown named the Gateway District. It is a major entertainment destination for the city. It's full of bars and restaurants to match any taste or price range. For a sports bar, Nick's Sports Corner is a block away at 612 Prospect. For fine dining, look into reservations at Lola (Symon's flagship restaurant) at 2058 East Fourth. Be sure to walk around the area, there are so many places to discover something you'll like.

As for activities post-game, there's the casino I mentioned earlier. It's open 24 hours but only serves alcohol until 2:30am, just like every other bar. If gambling's not your scene, there's Hilarities Theatre, a comedy club that features a steady stream of national acts.

Fans    4

The fans I encountered were knowledgeable and friendly. Though any chance at reaching the playoffs had since passed, a strong crowd of over 9,000 (of the modified 10,025 capacity) came out clad in Monsters paraphernalia to cheer their team on as the season wore on to its end. After the energetic team introductions, the crowd kept the noise up as a fight broke out literally two seconds into the game (apparently the two players involved had exchanged words the previous night). Through the rest of the game, there was an abnormal amount of 'NOISE!' and 'GET LOUD!' animations of the videoboard, to which people obliged.

The crowd is a good mix of casual fans, families and beer drinkin' die-hards. No one appeared to get too rowdy or obnoxious. It seemed like a smart hockey crowd, at least for the people I was surrounded by. There was a lot of good conversation related to a player's season and exchanges on the positive and negatives of Lake Erie's play.

The good rating for the fans is really because of the continued support of this team. The next game the weekend after my visit drew an impressive 14,290 in the regular season finale. The Monsters' average attendance has ranked no lower than sixth (of 30 teams) in the last four seasons in the American Hockey League.

Access    5

A unique feature of all sporting events at Quicken Loans Arena is there are no tickets to be printed to gain entry to the building. Every seat is sold through Flash Seats, an electronic ticketing site (also owned by the Cavs group). You buy your seats on the site, but then rather than having to print the tickets out and bring them with you, all you have to do is bring the credit card you paid for the tickets with. Upon entry, an usher swipes the card and a small receipt is printed with your seat location. Using the site is similar to any other online ticket site, but not having to print the tickets to get in is one less thing to worry about when you're trying to get out the door.

Quicken Loans Arena is strategically placed near both highways and public transit. The arena sits about three blocks away from I-90, an east-west corridor, as well as I-71, which leads into downtown Cleveland from the south. Parking is plentiful and should run you about $10 in the garages right next to the arena. The garages to the north and east of QLA both have skywalks connected to the arena, a convenient feature when the weather is bad. Street parking can be found if you don't mind the walk (look on Carnegie Street), and the hourly parking meters aren't enforced on weekends or holidays.

The arena is well-connected to Cleveland's mass transit system, RTA. There are stops on the arena's cross streets (Ontario and Huron) for seven different bus routes. Additionally, the arena is connected by enclosed walkway to the Tower City Center, a mixed-use complex of buildings featuring shopping, a casino and other entertainment options. A light rail station sits beneath the complex and is a major stop for all three rail routes RTA currently runs. An All Day Pass with unlimited trips can be had for $5 for adults/$4 students/$2.50 for kids.

Return on Investment    4

There may be some sticker shock when looking at the high-end of ticket prices. Glass seats will run you $65. The good news is there's a wide range of options including lower sideline or club seats for $29 all the way to end zone seats for $10.

The team does offer a good number of packages to reduce costs including a 'Family Value Pack' which has 4 lower level seats, $20 in concession credit and a group photo for an affordable $59. Additionally, there are plenty of 'Thirsty Thursday' discounted beer nights and dollar hot dog nights on Fridays to potentially save you some money.

Extras    3

One point for the emphasis on the family aspect of games. In minor league sports, you often have to market to families rather than just hardcore sports fan, and the Lake Erie Monsters do that effectively.

Another point for the production level of the game. The introductions, the scoreboard content, and in-game entertainment certainly benefit from the connection to the Cavaliers.

A point for the resurgence of pro hockey in Cleveland. Clearly fans have embraced this team as their own and hopefully the Monsters will be around for the long-term.

Final Thoughts

The Monsters' organization puts out a consistently good experience and it appears they're being rewarded by strong attendance and knowledgeable fans. The sightlines are great for hockey, and the arena's location is great for pre and post-game activities or food/drinks.

The 2010-2011 season was the first time the Monsters made the playoffs since Dan Gilbert brought the franchise to Cleveland. Although Lake Erie lost in the first round it was an exciting 7 game series which probably educated some of the younger fans on the intensity of playoff hockey. Previous to that series it had been my experience that the crowd rarely made noise directly in relation to the game. "Noise" signs on the scoreboard, video board hijinks and the wave did the trick. I hope that the crowd is gradually becoming one that is more aware of things like power-plays and penalty killing to bring them to life. Sometimes the off-ice entertainment actually draws attention from key moments. For example, on too many occasions just as a penalty was being called against the opposition, something came blaring out of the sound system unrelated to the game action. Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the "side-show" and its importance to the overall package. I just think a bit more judicious use of the items in the bag of tricks would help to make this a more difficult place for the opposition to play.

Cleveland had a long and successful tradition in the AHL before the advent of the WHA and then the NHL's version of the Barons. Each season the management has done a bit more to build some connections to that tradition, as well as the Browns, Cavs and Indians which have helped to make the Monsters fit in as one of Cleveland's pro sports teams, even if minor league. Special warmup and game uniforms and many creative promotions keep the place hopping, especially on post-Super Bowl weekends.

Finally, don't forget the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University as a fourth sports venue not too far away.

by estimatedprophet | Nov 29, 2011 12:07 PM

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Crowd Reviews


Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 1

For the 2011-2012 season, the Lake Erie Monsters celebrate their 5th year in Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena and this may be one of their more successful years so far. With the prolonged NBA lockout and interest in the NFL Browns waning, the Monsters might be able to capitalize on a relatively vacant Winter sports scene.

Lake Erie shares the Arena with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and so the venue is first-class. Dan Gilbert of Quicken software fame owns both teams. Coupled with the Colorado Avalanche serving as a worthy parent, the Monsters continue their progress on the ice and are looking to accomplish great things during the 2011-12 season.

Quicken Loans Arena was built in 1994 and still looks like it is brand new. The transformation after the NBA's Cavaliers changed their uniform color scheme led to the replacement of seats to feature a red hue. The concourses are palatial and make for a great place to attend a game.

A Monster Of a Time

Total Score: 4.43

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

The Lake Erie Monsters is the best sport in Cleveland, Ohio. The fast paced and hard hitting action is top notch to keep everyone going during a game. These young guys are out to make it to the NHL and are trying to prove themselves. The atmosphere at The Q is always fun and imaginative.

As a 1st season Monster Hockey Club member (season ticket holder) I have had nothing but the best experience at every game. Its never a dull moment at the games. The food choices could be better but who could go wrong with Dollar Dog and Soda night on Friday nights. Also for college students on weekday night games you can get in for cheap. Thursdays are Thristy Thursdays with $2 beer and $5 margaritas. I don't recommend kids on Thristy Thursdays.

Mostly weekend games are played and there are plenty of things for kids to do. For adults there is a new 50/50 for the 2013/14 season which gets up to $2,000-3,000 on good nights. The 50/50 benefits the Monsters Community Fund and is sometimes paired with other charities on special nights. After every game the Ohio Lottery sponsors Chuck-a-Puck where you can buy foam pucks with numbers on it onto the ice post game for a chance at winning $250 on weekday nights and $500 on weekend games.

Overall the experience will leave you wanting more. I always look forward to getting back and watching the action.

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