Savage Arena (map it)
2801 W Bancroft St
Toledo, OH 43606
Year Opened: 1976
There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Bill Kintner, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Originally known as Centennial Hall when it was built in 1976, the Arena was renamed "Savage Hall" in 1988 and then became "Savage Arena" in 2008 after undergoing a $30 million renovation and expansion which now includes the adjoining Charles A. Sullivan Athletic Complex, and includes the Toledo Hall Of Fame. The new Savage Arena complex debuted in November of 2008.
Seating was reduced by approximately 1,700 seats, but the new "bowl-style" seating configuration brings fans closer to the action and provides a much better fan experience. Savage Arena is located near the football stadium, known as the Glass Bowl, making for a good combination of sporting venues compared to other MAC schools.
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".
They have the basics covered and they do it for a decent price, well that is decent for arena food. There is nothing fancy, but it is convenient, tasty and won't break your wallet. You can find hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, brats, Italian sausage, ice cream sandwiches and ice cream in Cups (like Dippin Dots).
Hot dogs: $3.00, a nice dog, a little over-cooked, served hot with a very soft bread/bun. Rating: B-
Large pop corn: $3.50, warm, but salty with a slight hint of butter taste. Rating: B+
Nachos w/ cheese: $4.00, good chips and spicy cheese. Rating: B-
Pepsi: 32 oz cup $3.00
Most fans enter into one of two large lobbies which run under the upper seating area on either side of the court. The lobbies are connected by a walkway that passes above the seats on the ends of the court. Concessions are sold on both sides and there are plenty of TV monitors so fans do not have to miss any of the action.
The seating bowl is a big improvement over the previous seating design which lacked any corner seating. There is a lower seating section that circles the court and has angled corner seating. Fans enter through portals from the concourses and either go down to their seats in the lower level or up to their seats in the upper sections on both sides.
The side opposite the player's bench, there is an upper section that goes to the back wall. It is pretty high (44 rows from the floor) up for a 7,000 seat arena, but not really bad seating. You don't want to make that climb too many times or you will be pooped out.
On the bench side in the upper section there are extra padded club seats and 12 loge boxes above the club seats. On one end of the court there is a glass enclosed Joe Grogan Room, a lounge that over-looks the court with seating for 200. There are bleachers at the both ends of the court below the walkway.
There is center-hung video scoreboard that provides player stats in addition to the score and team stats.
This is a good college basketball atmosphere, there is nothing here that would be found in most NBA arenas, and that is a very good thing.
Like most universities there are plenty of little bars and restaurants located around campus. Jed's On Campus is located on Dorr Street and there you can find all kinds of decent bar food. They make a big deal of their wings, and they also feature ribs, pizzas and burgers for about $6.50 including chips. For another $1.50 they will include fries. Check the nightly specials, they usually have a food or drink special.
The Oasis on the corner of Dorr and Secor has a huge menu including pizza, sandwiches in the $6.50 range, a ton of salads and a Margatini Lounge.
I think the best is Arnie's Saloon located just about a mile and a half from campus near the corner of Secor Road and Central Avenue. It is a full pub style bar with burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads and 12 different beers on tap. Happy hour is all Monday night, Tuesday-Friday 4 pm to 7 pm with a complementary appetizer for parties of four or more. You can shoot some billiards and watch about any game on their numerous big screen TVs.
Finally, fans might check out Chuck's on Monroe Street. Just go past Arnie's on Secor and hang a right on Monroe. It is a nice neighborhood bar that features a full menu with a wide range of food in the $7-$10 range. I guess I would call it a bar for the entire family.
The band was solid and the fans were about average, but they made noise at the right times. The students were into the game, clapping and cheering, with about half of the 500 or so in attendance standing the whole game. It wasn't crazy loud, but it is a good college atmosphere.
There are lots and parking garages nearby for $5. You will have a tough time finding any free parking unless you walk to a side street about 10 minutes away. The campus is located in the city of Toledo and it is a mile or so from the closest highway, so you will not be able to just hop off the highway and roll into Savage Arena.
Once inside, fans can find restrooms located in both lobbies. They are clean and there were no lines with a crowd a little over 5,000.
Tickets go for $36 at the high end. The more reasonable tickets were $10, $7 and $6. There are kiddie tickets for $3.50. I think you can't go wrong with any of the lower priced tickets.
With the reasonable food costs, a fan could get a ticket, plus a hot dog, pop corn and a Pepsi for well under $20. That is a very good value.
I will award two stars for the great value to see MAC basketball and another star for just a good college atmosphere.
The Mid-American Conference has mostly very average venues. The improved Savage Arena is now one of the better ones. Fans can come in out of the cold and see solid MAC basketball at a pretty good price. That in my book, is a winning combination.
**Photos courtesy of the Toledo Rockets Athletic Department
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