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Official Review by Paul Hilchen, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Previously known as the Rose Garden Arena, the Moda Center is the home of the Portland Trailblazers as well as the newly re-named Portland Steel of the AFL. It also houses the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL on a part time basis. The building was opened in 1995 and seats 19,980 for basketball. Some of the other events held in the arena over the years include concerts, PBR Rodeo events, monster truck rallies, MMA, and pro wrestling events. The WWE used the facility for two Pay Per View events (Unforgiven 2004 & No Mercy 2008). The UFC held UFC 102 in the Moda Center as well.
The arena also sports a Mitsubishi high definition video board and a top of the line JBL sound system that adds greatly to the fans experience. Attending an event at the Moda Center is a first class experience.
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".
The Moda Center has a multitude of food and beverage choices for fans. In addition to the typical arena cuisine options, now run by Levy Restaurants, the management has enlisted local restaurants to cater to the dining selections. Some of the choices include:
Sizzle Pie - A pizza place that names its menu from heavy metal bands/songs. Their motto is "Death to false pizza," and features the "Ace of Spades" (Pepperoni).
Killer Burger - Features a "Peanut Butter, Pickle & Bacon" burger for $10.25.
Seven Rivers Smokehouse BBQ - Cheddar Meltdown for $9.75 (nachos with cheddar and BBQ pork or beef).
Po'Shines Café De La Soul - Chicken & Waffles for $11.25.
No trip to the Northwest is complete without coffee. Buzzsaw, features Stumptown coffee (also a local business) for $4.25-$5.
Beer from some of the Northwest's best microbrews are available as well. Widmer Bros. & Pyramid are $8-$9. Wine (also a Northwest staple), from Local Cork, can be had for $10-$12.
As far as the typical arena choices you will find hot dogs ($6.50), soft drinks ($5.50 all the way up to $9.50 for the commemorative cup), burgers, pretzels, and popcorn available as well.
The Blazers are the longest tenured professional team in Portland, and have a huge following. Upon entering the arena, you can't help but notice the history of the Blazer franchise. All around the concourse, you see pictures of players, coaches, and executives alike. Bill Walton's jersey from the 1977 championship team is framed and on display.
When you get to your seat, you will see banners of division and conference titles, along with the lone NBA championship on one side, and retired jerseys hanging from the other side. The list of retired numbers is long for the Trail Blazers. The list includes Larry Weinberg (#1), Dave Twardzik (#13), Lionel Hollins (#14), Larry Steele (#15), Maurice Lucas (#20), Clyde Drexler (#22), Terry Porter (#30), Bob Gross (#30), Bill Walton (#32), Lloyd Neal (#36), Geoff Petrie (#45), Jack Ramsay (#77, in honor of coaching the '77 championship team), and an additional honor for long-time broadcaster Bill Schonely.
The Trailblazer organization takes great pride in their history, and is bold about telling visitors just where they've been. Being the only major league team in the city for many years, the Blazers are still THE game in town.
The Moda Center is situated between I-5 and the Willamette River in the Lloyd Section of Portland. The Rose Quarter boasts Dr. Jack's, a restaurant/bar that is the place to be before and after the game. Dr. Jack's is a tribute to former coach Jack Ramsay, who led the Blazers to their only NBA title.
The Spirit of 77, also in reference to the team's only championship, is also a hot spot before and after the game. It is a bit of a walk from the arena, but worth the walk. Downtown Portland is two miles away and has many interesting spots. Voodoo Doughnut is a must. The Bacon Maple Bars are great.
I can't imagine any other fans being more passionate or knowledgeable than Blazer fans. They have a reputation around the league for being such. The concourse, during play, is a ghost town. Everyone is in the arena cheering on the Blazers. Attention to the on the court action is second to none. You don't see the typical "I'm just here with friends because they had an extra ticket" type of attendee. True, hardcore fans, who live and die with the team, are the norm. They are attentive, loud, and respectful - but they don't mind letting you know exactly how they feel.
Public transportation is the way to go when attending an event in the Rose Quarter. The MAX (light rail), and the Portland Streetcar sandwich the property. Parking is available for $20, valet parking is also available. There are a few smaller garage type areas close for a lower price, but they fill up quickly. Businesses open their lots for game day in the vicinity of the arena if you don't mind walking a little. You can find parking on the streets, but that also fills up quickly.
Inside there is plenty of room to maneuver. The concourse is quite wide and can easily handle a full house. Handicap access and seating is sufficient for the crowds. Bathrooms are sizable and lines are usually short.
A game ticket, based on season ticket prices, ranges from $10 - $199. Specific game prices vary based on the opponent (prices are set when the schedule is released). A ticket in any range is well worth the price. The organization is committed to having the best fan experience in the NBA.
Capital improvements that are planned include retail kiosks on the upper levels to enhance access to merchandise, upgrades to Wi-Fi access, and the installation of a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) for wireless phones, and a complete redesign of the court floor (as voted on by the fans).
Each fan receives a free program upon entering the facility that contains stats, team history and other pertinent information. Fans can get their faces airbrushed in red, black, and white (team colors).
Blaze, the Blazers mascot celebrated a birthday on the night of this review. Guests for the "party" included mascots from other sports teams including from the NBA - Bear (Utah Jazz), Boomer (Indiana Pacers), Clutch (Houston Rockets), Moondog (Cleveland Cavaliers) & Pierre (New Orleans Pelicans), from the NFL - Blitz (Seattle Seahawks), from the NCAA - Beaver (Oregon State University), and from MiLB - Sluggo (Eugene Emeralds). Between the first and second quarters, the mascots had a trampoline dunk contest. At halftime, the party continued with a Royal Rumble Style wrestling match on a blow up style ring.
A big plus for acknowledging "Hometown Heroes," local military people who have served or are currently serving. The Blazers organization and its employees are first class.
An NBA game at the Moda Center should be on the bucket list of any basketball fan. The crowd responses to the action make it an ideal place for any sports fan.
Since 1995 the Rose Garden has been the home to the only professional sports franchise in Oregon, the Portland Trail Blazers. Since its inception, the 20,630 capacity arena has been a shining example of what an NBA arena should be like. From the physical make-up to the atmosphere it creates, the Rose Garden is a tremendous destination for sports fans.
Every time you attend a Blazer game at the Rose Garden, it's an experience like no other. With multiple mass transit opportunities and easy accessibility, people flood in from all around. It's as close to a college atmosphere as you'll find in the NBA. Fans are always excited for every game and the atmosphere and camaraderie is some of the best you'll find in any professional sport.
Member Review by BelgradeBobcat on Jan 04, 2013
Portland loves their Trailblazers and they're definitley a big happening in the Rose City.
There's plenty of food and drink choices-but being an NBA Arena they're also plenty expensive, but somebody's got to pay those salaries I guess.
Portland is such an awesome City with so much to see and do. If I coulde register a 6 I would! Most of the food choices near the arena are chains, but hop on the light rail, or walk across the steel bridge and there are unlimited choices. If you're looking for high end go to Departure on top of the Nines Hotel. I also like Bamboo Sushi, Ken's Artisan Bakery, the Waffle Window and of course don't miss VooDoo Donuts. The choices are limitless and there's something for every taste when in Portland.
Getting to Blazer's games are half the fun. The toughest choice is what mode of transportation to choose. You can get there by car just fine. There's lots parking ramps near the arena, but expect to pay-just like at every NBA venue. There's also the MAX Light Rail and street car-which I recommend. It drops you off and picks you up close by and there's no traffic to fight. Just take your time leaving as the trains are crowded right after the game. Also, the arena is very bikeable and walkable. If it's a nice night ride your bike or walk there-you'll have lots of company as Portlanders love these modes of transportation.
Trailblazer fans are among the most enthusiasitic in the NBA (though Timbers games are where the real crazies go) and the arena configuration makes for a good view of the action even from way up at the top. The concourses are wide and the arena is easy to navigate.
I've had a great time whenever I've gone to the Rose Garden. It's a nice arena in a terrific town.
Member Review by BryndonCoughlin on Apr 20, 2013
Opened in 1995, The Rose Garden Arena became the home for the Portland Trail Blazers after moving about 50 feet from their previous home: The Memorial Coliseum. The complex in between the two arenas is referred to as The Rose Quarter. The Rose Garden currently seats 19,980 and can accommodate up to 20,796 fans, which includes standing room. Currently the Blazers are the only professional team using the arena. Choosing the name for the arena was easy as Portland is known as “The City of Roses.”
Attending a Blazer game is an experience that cannot be passed up. The energy of all the fans, staff, security and even workers of the arena are all invested to making sure they can get The Trail Blazers playing well by providing a loud atmosphere.
Member Review by falcondeath on May 02, 2013
it is very good place to go for basketball and hockey
Member Review by Paul Hilchen on Apr 28, 2014
The Moda Center, formerly known as the Rose Garden, is the home of the Portland Trail Blazers. Opened in 1995, it is not only home for the Trail Blazers, but also home for the AFL’s Portland Thunder, and part time home for the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. Along with Memorial Coliseum, the Moda Center sits proudly in the Rose Quarter. Basketball capacity sits at 19,980, which includes 70 sky boxes that can accommodate 1,540 fans. The arena also contains modular suites: 44 seat super suite and an 88 seat mega suite.
A game at the Moda Center is an experience. The staff, from top to bottom, demonstrates that it is committed to ensuring the fans have a great time.
500 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Portland, OR 97232
22 SW 3rd Ave
Portland, OR 97204
2 N Center Court St
Portland, OR 97227
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