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Robert A. Mott Gymnasium

San Luis Obispo, CA

Home of the Cal Poly Mustangs



Robert A. Mott Gymnasium (map it)
One Grand Ave
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407

Cal Poly Mustangs website

Robert A. Mott Gymnasium website

Year Opened: 1960

Capacity: 3,032

There are no tickets available at this time.


Local Information


A Mott to be Desired

In terms of sustainability, few venues in college basketball have held up as well as the Robert A. Mott Gymnasium. Recently passing the 50 year mark, the gym has been the home of the California Polytechnic State University Mustangs since 1960.

Located near the central coast of California, Cal Poly is located in San Luis Obispo. Though the city has a population of over 250,000, the gymnasium has a capacity of only 3,032.

The gym was named after a former physical education faculty member named Robert A. Mott. An instrumental member of the University from 1946-1978, Mott was not only the head of the P.E. department, but also coach of both the baseball and men's basketball teams.

Since opening, the venue did receive a renovation in 1998 which included chairback seating and improved ventilation. Today Mott Gym carries monikers such as "The Asylum" or "The Big Ugly" due to the inspired behavior of the fans during home games.


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

While I see some interesting menu options, there was only a single concession stand in one corner of the arena.

The options here included the popular tri-tip ($7), Vienna beef hot dog ($4), Johnsonville bratwurst ($4), nachos ($4 - add chili or cheese for $1), candy ($3), kettle corn ($5), or a beef stick ($2).

The beverage options included soda ($3), Monster energy drink ($4), water ($2), coffee or cocoa ($2), Tum-E Yummie ($1), or the surprising offering of Jamba Juice ($4).

Atmosphere    3

As previously mentioned, the gym has been nicknamed "The Asylum" due to the raucous behavior of the fans. The layout of the seating is really conducive to making it a challenging environment for opponents to play in.

The band ultimately proved to be more formidable than the student section, as it was often those with 807 on the backs of their shirts who lead the chants and produced the most noise. Some of the chants included "P-O-L-Y, fight, fight, fight," "Go C-P (clap), go C-P" and "Go Poly Go." At one point during the contest, I think I even heard them recite the chorus to Lil John's Song "Shots.

During breaks in the action, several contests occurred on the court. One was a rather challenging one where a fan was tasked with making a lay-up, free throw, and three point shot in less than 35 seconds without any rebounding help. Another displayed a bean bag toss for Big West Tournament tickets, but my favorite was when they attached two fans to opposite ends of a bungee cord and challenged the two to see who could make a lay-up first.

The cheer squad, positioned in front of the band, would often entice fan interaction with giveaways or tosses of t-shirts, gift certificates, and yes, even toothbrushes.

The second half certainly proved why it can be such a tough place for opponents to play as the opposing team had to face off against the band and cheer team when shooting free throws. This was definitely one of the more inspired bands when it came to heckling the other team, so I certainly did not envy the pressure of the opposing team.

The seating was broken up into four sections surrounding the court. The end with the band offered limited bench seating next to the band, which I would recommend so that you can make out the chants shouted out by them. The opposite end offered bucket seating and the fanbase there seemed to be an older crowd. The sideline seating behind the player benches are bucket seats while the sections opposite the teams are bench seating. There is a single long table running the length of the court opposite the player benches that appears to be seats for the sponsors.

The gym has a rather muffled sound system and throughout the contest I couldn't make out the promos or some of the chants. There are small scoreboards on each end of the arena that display the score and time remaining; not much more. The side opposite the band seemed to have a display board that was not functional on this particular evening.

There were several retractable baskets that hung from the ceiling, so be careful of where you sit as these could obstruct your view.

Neighborhood    4

While San Luis Obispo is not one of the better known California cities, I certainly enjoyed my weekend stay due to the accessibility getting around the city and beautiful green mountains surrounding the area.

I'd recommend heading downtown for your food and beverage needs. In just a few hours time, a friend and I were able to stop in at a variety of different establishments. First of all, I'd recommend tracking down "Bubble Gum Alley," a small alleyway that is filled with used wads of gum. It certainly sounds disgusting, but is quite the sight to behold.

Bars that we stopped in at included Mother's Tavern (largest and most well-know), Frog and Peach Pub (live music nightly), The Library (get a library card for drink specials), and Black Sheep (NY Times best bar menu).

We stopped in at the San Luis Obispo (SLO) Brewing Company to have some food and try their microbrews, but unfortunately a single server was covering the entire bar and it took over 20 minutes to get our drink. They also left the front door open on a rainy day and it was ridiculously cold in the restaurant. We eventually left and went to the Buffalo Pub and Grill. Here, we were treated to some phenomenal service and I certainly had one of the best tuna melts I've ever encountered.

If you are new to town, you should definitely take a moment to check out the Madonna Inn. While there is a bar area and casual dining area, the formal area certainly has over the top pink decor everywhere. Before leaving, be sure to check out the men's restroom downstairs because it certainly has the most interesting amenities that I have seen anywhere.

If you have the opportunity to step outside of town for a bit, I would recommend checking out the nearby towns of San Simeon (Hearst Castle and elephant seals), Pismo Beach (clam picking), or Solvang (Ostrichland and Dutch America).

Fans    3

Despite the contest being against a non-conference opponent and the area experiencing some tough weather, the gym was still rather full.

It seemed that from the tip, the fans picked a player and chanted "airball, airball, airball" for every moment this player was in possession of the ball. I was rather surprised by how consistent they were with this chant.

The crowd also paid close attention to free-throws, chanting "whoosh" after a make and then going into a hip thrust.

All in all it seemed to be the band that led the way, with the balance of the crowd following along. It was a different dynamic as I am accustomed to the student section leading the way, but the band got the job done.

Access    3

Unfortunately San Luis Obispo is located in central California, and it is several hours from major markets or airports. You can get to the school easily from the 101 or the scenic California Route 1. The gym itself is located at the southeastern entrance to the university.

The parking was the most painful part of the visit. There was another event going on that evening and there were no indicators of where basketball fans should park. Eventually we paid the $5 fee and found a spot. Unfortunately the exit seemed to have no organization and it took a good 20+ minutes to exit the venue.

Return on Investment    3

There were few expenses to account for here as I've already mentioned the limited concession options and $5 parking fee. Coupled with tickets that go for $15 for adults and $10 for youth, fans are not likely to spend more than $25 at any given game.

As the venue is normally full, you are sure to get a rather exciting college basketball atmosphere for a great price.

Extras    2

I struggled to find a lot of extras to write about here. I could mention the word "Asylum" painted above the bleachers opposite the player benches, but I didn't notice much of an ode to the name other than the mural.

When you enter the gym, you will quickly spot the Cal Poly Mustangs trophy case (over 35 deep) and the Mustang Hall of Fame. While I didn't take note of many recognizable basketball names, I certainly looked twice when I saw the plaques of the NFL's John Madden, MLB's Ozzie Smith, and UFC's Chuck Liddell.

Mott Gym has hosted several NBA teams during the preseason over the years, including the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.

Final Thoughts

While I was impressed by the turnout and engagement of the fans, Mott Gym hardly seems like a Division I college basketball venue. Hopefully, in the coming years the team can secure an NCAA tournament berth and generate some additional buzz around the program. The Mustangs certainly have a committed fanbase and they simply need to focus on growing the program to new heights.

Follow Drew's journeys through Southern California on twitter @Big10Drew.

I wish you were there on a bigger night

I wish you were there on a bigger night. Cal Poly has a huge rivalry with UCsb easily the biggest rivalry in the conference, mostly thanks to there notable soccer, rivalry. Undisputed the biggest in the nation, regularly drawing record crowds. And the game doesn't disappointed for basketball. There isn't even close to enough seats in the student section for that game, and the crowd can get wild. This year the crowd was so loud in the final seconds that it knocked out the internet video feed. You can find the video on youtube. I am convinced Mott can be one of the loudest gyms in the nation thanks to its small, tight design with a arched roof and all. Also, last year the student section was a lot better, a lot of the guys that were really into it graduated, and they left a hole. 2 seasons ago, in 08-09 we had a horrible season and we're still recovering from that. But out new coach, Joe Callero looks to be taking us places.

by rollpoly | Apr 09, 2011 09:42 PM

Request from Poly Advocate Remove Offensive Photo

I am writing this regarding one of your â??rotatingâ?? photographs of Mott Gym that says: â??ASYLUMâ??Home of the Mustang Maniacs.â?? This sign has been deemed offensive to those students who are suffering from mental illness and has been removed from the gymnasium. I request that you remove the photograph of the sign from your website for the same reason and for the additional justifications that follow. The social stigma of this sign is a serious impediment to those students who might otherwise seek treatment to secure their mental health. As a secondary concern, the sign should be removed because of its offensive nature to anyone who understands, lives with, or professionally treats those who suffer from debilitating mental disorders.

I realize that the intent of the â??maniacsâ?? message is one of â??unreasonable enthusiasm,â?? and thus a potential tribute to school spirit. However, the more common use of such words as â??maniacsâ?? and â??asylumâ?? are associated with serious mental disorders. For example, you can check (at www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary ) that common synonyms for â??maniacâ?? include crackbrain, head case, loon, lunatic, nutcase, psycho, psychopath, sicko, and wacko; and that synonyms for â??asylumâ?? include madhouse, bedlam, and institution.

Please understand, this is not a question of political correctness or ivory-tower snobbery. Every individual who cares for those suffering from mental illness would consider the social stigma transmitted by that sign not only to be extremely offensive, but dangerous to the mental health of afflicted students at Cal Poly who see it. I understand that there is a lack of awareness of this stigma in the general population, and therefore hold no rancor or ill-feeling towards those who displayed the sign or who have published its image.

A significant number of our college students suffer from some form of mental illness, and it has conclusively been shown that the â??Number Oneâ?? impediment for a student to accept the reality of this illness and to request treatmentâ??treatment that can mean the difference between life and deathâ??is the huge social stigma associated with this disease. I hope that you can understand how that large, public sign in the Mott Gym greatly amplifies the social stigma of mental illness for any student who comes in contact with it.

by KREIKNEROS | Nov 19, 2011 06:50 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Old and Ugly but with plenty of spunk

Total Score: 4.29

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

Food and beverage can be real good, I got the Chicago Beef Sand which once, great. Line is short if there even is one. Atmosphere: it can get pretty loud and pretty crazy in there especially when ucsb is in town. Fans: lets face it it's not the east coast, but once again, thanks to soccer, the rivalry with ucsb can hold its own as far as mid majors go. Neighborhood: SLO #2 happiest place in the world according to the today show. nuf said. Access: Parking isn't so hot and signage is poor but at least you can park in the garage right behind the gym. and if you know what you are doing, you can park for free if its the weekend. Return on Investment: its Cal Poly, student tickets at other schools can top these, and every seat in the hose is a good one. Extras, once again hard to judge, but with a good chance of catching something or getting to participate in a timeout game or something you cant complain. and theres the band.

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SLO Brewing Company  (map it!)

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Mother's Tavern  (map it!)

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Frog & Peach Pub  (map it!)

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Buffalo Pub & Grill  (map it!)

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The Madonna Inn  (map it!)

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