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Official Review by Daniel Armstrong, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The 2012-13 college basketball season marks the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks 25th year of showing Cape Girardeau what they've got at the Show Me Center. In addition to housing the Redhawks men's and women's basketball programs, the Show Me Center serves as the main entertainment venue for the over 250,000 residents of the Tri-State Area.
The venue's construction was duly funded by the City of Cape Girardeau and Southeast Missouri State University.
In its 25 years of operation the Show Me Center has earned itself a national reputation for service and flexibility. It has won the Facility and Event Management PRIME SITE AWARD every year since 1997.
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".
Between the upper and lower concourses the Show Me Center contains seven concession stands. Only the two on the main level and the one on the balcony overlooking the atrium are open for Redhawks games. The lower stands offer a wider selection of food offerings while the upper stand offers more beverage and snack options. There is nothing that stands out on the menu but all items are reasonably priced, ranging from one to five dollars. There will be a considerable line during the half so I would recommend going beforehand. Don't expect to get anything during the second half either as they close immediately following the intermission.
There is nothing special about the game night atmosphere. It is typical of the low-major Ohio Valley Conference. During my most recent visit, I was disappointed in the small student section and there were fewer than 25 band members.
There were only a handful of students, all of whom seemed more interested in socializing than having an impact on the game. Without a prominent student section any college basketball experience is lacking and this was no exception. While there were a few traditions that seemed promising, such as SEMO fans standing until the opponent scores the first basket, only the faithful partook in them so it had little effect on the overall feel.
The arena is lacking in several modern amenities such as a video board, and the scoreboard is definitely dated at this point.
Don't expect to find an exciting night life in the area. There is nothing notable within the immediate neighborhood around the arena. There are a few small bars down towards campus, a strip of chain restaurants a few miles up the road, and a handful of places in the dilapidated downtown district. That's it.
I saw SEMO in a handful of away games prior to my visit and they always had an impressive following both in numbers and in enthusiasm, so I had high expectations heading into the game and I was disappointed. The small band seemed more into the game than anyone else. Things did pick up as the game went on and the Redhawks battled back from a 15 point deficit to capture the victory but nonetheless I was expecting more.
The parking lot outside the arena is free and large enough to accommodate a majority of the crowd, but once that fills up there are few alternatives in the immediate area. I would recommend coming early to secure a spot.
The ticket office is outside, which can be unpleasant during a Midwestern winter.
My biggest complaint is that there are only two general public entrances open during RedHawks games which makes a small time crowd have a big time line.
You enter the arena into an appealing atrium and have the option of continuing around to the floor level of the arena or going up the stairs to the balcony. Once inside the arena there are six restrooms.
I would recommend using the ones on the upper concourse as the line is typically shorter and they are also cleaner than the ones downstairs.
Ticket prices are low ($6-$15), concessions are reasonable, and parking is free. There is also a variety of reasonably priced souvenirs inside the atrium. As far as college basketball experiences go this is a bargain. As long as you have reasonable expectations of what to find within you will leave the Show Me Center feeling satisfied. You might even become SEMO fan in the process.
I love seeing championship banners. They show that a school is proud of the tradition its athletic programs have set. And while even though it has been over 70 years since the RedHawks captured the national title, I feel their 1943 NAIA National Championship is worth an extra point.
I really like the atrium and the hall of fame area. It is top notch and makes you feel welcome.
The new basketball floor that was installed following the 2011-12 season looks very nice and is a vast improvement from the prior parquet floor.
The staff at the Show Me Center are all very friendly and helpful. It's amazing how much a pleasant and knowledgeable staff can add to the experience at a sporting event.
Member Review by JackWinter on Feb 03, 2012
The Show Me Center is located on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO, home to the Redhawks. It opened in 1987 and was built as a joint contribution between city and school funding. The Center plays host to the SEMO men's and women's basketball teams, seats 6,972, and also serves as a meeting and entertainment venue for Cape Girardeau.
818 Broadway St
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
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