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Official Review by Kalei Hanawahine, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Stan Sheriff Center (SSC) is a multipurpose arena opened in 1994 with a seating capacity of 10,300 at a construction cost of $32.24 million, equivalent to $51.5 million in 2016. The arena was originally named the Special Events Arena, but was renamed in 1998 after former University of Hawaii (UH) Athletic Director Stan Sheriff, a major advocate for the construction of the arena. The SSC is home to both UH’s men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams. The mid-season college basketball tournament, the Diamond Head Classic is held at the SSC every December during Christmas week. The SSC has also recently hosted the Los Angeles Lakers in the fall for a pair of exhibition match ups with the Utah Jazz.
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 Stan Sheriff Center has food and drinks for everyone, ranging from classic arena food to local favorite snacks that you will only find in Hawaii. Alcoholic and nonalcoholic varieties of beverages are sold throughout the arena.
As soon as we enter the turnstiles (Main Entrance A) hang a left and you will stumble across "The Café," which offers Starbucks Coffee, Ba-Le Vietnamese style food, or Dippin Dots if you are hungry for a snack.
Moving along you may be enticed to try some local saimin (noodles/ramen). For $3 you can get a cup of hot saimin. For $3.75 you can try a bowl of fried saimin and for $3.50 you can enjoy edamame.
If noodles aren't your thing, the next concession offers the classic arena foods. Hot dogs are $3.50 and teriyaki burgers are $5.50. Chicken strips w/ fries are $4.75. Churros and pretzels are $2.50 each. A special kid's meal which includes a hot dog, 16 oz. soda and a choice of kids fries or a fruit cup is $5.25.
Next to the classic concession is the Campbell's Soup concession offering wraps and salads.
Moving along to the side of the concourse, parallel with the court in section NN, you will find "The Zone." Here you can indulge in BUMBUCHA NACHOS near the window side of the concourse. Opposite of the nachos you can grab a slice of pizza for $5 or pasta from California Pizza Kitchen for $6.25. A 20 oz. soda is $2.50 and 32 oz $3.50. Bottled water runs $3.25.
There is also a snack shack offering popcorn $2.50, candies $1.25, and ice cream.
If you keep walking along the circular concourse you will pass Italian Ice and gelato if you need a cold treat, and the Kona Mac Shack has great tasting nuts. Right past these yummy snacks, the beer lovers will finally be home.
The Beer Garden is located on the side of section M behind the basket. Premium beers (Gordon Biersch, Heineken, and Stella) will run $8.50 for 24 oz, and $6 for 16 oz. Domestics (Miller and Bud Light) will run you $5 for 16oz draft and $7.50 for a 24 oz. There is also a New Castle and Heineken Light concession priced the same as premium drafts.
If beer is not your thing, Bud Light Lime A Ritas are also sold across from the Beer Garden. Woodbridge Robert Mondavi offers cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay for $6 by the glass at the Beer Garden too. O'Doul's non-alcoholic goes for $2.50 per 12 oz can.
Next to the beer concession is a small roped off section with high tables where you can enjoy your beverage with a group of friends. This is a popular hangout spot for fans.
Finally coming back around near the entrance, if you were to hang an immediate right is the Gordon Biersch concession. This is a favorite as they offer chicken sandwiches, garlic fries, and hot dogs.
Most of the 10,300 seats are filled at the SSC and the atmosphere is electric. This is the most exciting sporting event you will find on Oahu. A good handful will argue that Wahine Volleyball is the top ticket in town, but the 2016 Big West champion Rainbow Warriors basketball team is the best show in town at the moment. With first place on the line and the BLACK OUT theme of "STRAIGHT OUTTA MANOA," the SSC is ready to rock and roll. The buzz before tipoff is the most electric this arena has felt in years.
The massive jumbotron scoreboard hanging down from the rafters in the middle with video replay gives this arena a big time college basketball feel.
The band is featured in their usual lower corner as you hear their traditional tunes such as Hawaii 5-0 playing throughout the game. The cheerleaders are getting the crowd pumped during timeouts with their "RAIN" and "BOWS" signs facing each side of the SSC leading the crowd in the chant.
During the first timeout the "Bowzooka" mini-gun style shoots out t-shirts into the crowd. There is also a Jack in the Box blown up blimp that flies throughout the arena releasing coupons from above into the crowd below. A hilarious Fantastic Sam's "who needs a haircut" give away features fans on camera who are in dire need of a haircut. Whoever gets the loudest cheer wins!
The Outrigger hotels paddle cam is a mainstay at all games. It's a contest of who can do the best "paddle" to the Hawaii 5-0 theme song. This is a fan favorite because the winner receives one free night at an Outrigger hotel. Fans are shown on the jumbotron and some use props such a ti leaves.
We cannot compare the SSC atmosphere to the likes of Cameron Indoor, Rupp Arena, or Allen Fieldhouse, but the SSC is a top venue for any mid-major college basketball team. With the UH men's basketball team's recent rise to the top of the Big West Conference, the fans in Honolulu are backing up their hoops team and everyone has jumped on the bandwagon making this the hottest ticket in town.
Want to grab some drinks and food before heading to the SSC? A few bars at the bottom of University Ave may entice you. Tropics Tap House offers a variety of beers on tap along with good pizza and wings. Enjoy a game of shuffleboard at Tropics and choose amongst 100 different beer options.
RB Sports Bar and Grill offers a relaxed atmosphere with darts. It's your classic sports bar.
Holoholo Bar and Grill offers local favorites for food choices.
If you're looking to sit down and dine, then head up the road on Waialae Ave as the possibilities are endless. Thai, Chinese, Korean BBQ, Japanese, Jamaican, Mexican, Greek and many more choices are available.
Not to mention Waikiki and Ala Moana Shopping center are about a 10 minute drive in the normal traffic from the UH campus. Beware these places are only a few miles away, but be prepared to wait at long traffic stops and the traffic of the busy city.
Many fans are rocking the "Straight Outta Manoa" black T shirts and the student section has neon green glow sticks to distract the free throw shooters. The SSC is rocking and this is the most excited I have seen Rainbow Warrior fans ever. Fans make noise throughout the whole game, and it is almost deafening during key defensive stands. When the refs blow a call, the students definitely let them hear about it.
The fans go absolutely bananas every time a UH player swishes another trey. The 9,000 or so fans scream in excitement.
When games are near or at sellout status the main SSC parking structure is filled to the brim. Parking attendants will then ask people to U-turn and to park on upper campus. The fee to park is $6. Parking in the structure adjacent to the SSC requires you to arrive at least 45 min to an hour prior to tip off. The walk from upper campus is not far and will take you a little over 5 minutes.
Walking access around the arena is clear and easy. Concession lines are not too long except during halftime. Bathrooms lines may have you waiting a minute or two but nothing too outrageous.
Exiting the structure is where people will lose their mind. Be prepared to wait in the maze of cars exiting the structure. You may sit in the same spot for 15 minutes or longer! I have not mastered what part of the parking garage has the best exit flow, as it seems everyone is at a gridlock. If you want to zip out of the parking traffic, you must leave before the game ends. If you happen to park on upper campus, then exiting is a breeze. Note only special people can park on the first level of the parking garage. Also upper campus is only open after the lower campus parking is filled up.
Lower bowl adult tickets run $26 while upper seats will cost you $18. Senior citizen upper seats are discounted to $16 while ages 4-18 can sit in the upper section for just $5. A valid UH Manoa college ID will get you in for free.
Head online and go to hawaiiathletics.com and click on their tickets link. On your mobile device you can purchase your tickets and it will be sent to your email. A mobile ticket and receipt will be sent to your email. This mobile ticket can be scanned for entry at the SSC entrance. There is a small processing fee if the ticket is purchased online. If you do not have internet access, then you can head over to the box office just outside of the entrance and purchase your tickets there.
The bowl shaped arena features a lower section and an upper section. There is no bad seat in the house. At concourse level, a walkway circles the arena, in which you will either walk down to the lower section, or up to the upper levels. The premium seats on the lower level offer cushioned seats, while all other seats feature the standard plastic forest green seat.
Although some may think $18 is steep for a game, the recent Rainbow Warrior basketball team is worth the price of admission. A lower level seat is nice, but the upper section is great too. There is no bad seat in the house at the SSC.
The SSC is a very nice arena inside and out. There are cool historical monuments paying tribute to past legends. A bronze statue of Dr. Donnis Thompson with fresh leis draped around her neck is featured on the concourse. She was a Pioneer and trailblazer - athlete and coach. Also a professor of health, physical education, and an administrator at UH (1961-1991). Dr. Thompson became the first woman athletic director (1972-1981).
Surrounding Dr. Donnis Thompson are four monuments, two on each side of past legendary athletes who are honored with their picture, along with their accomplishments and biography screen-printed onto the bronze cylinders standing over 6 feet tall.
Be sure to checkout the H-Zone before leaving, the Rainbow Warriors' official team shop which features awesome Under Armour fan gear and memorabilia.
Member Review by DrewCieszynski on Mar 08, 2012
While the island of O’ahu contains many memorable images of natural scenery, there are also some man-made structures that stand out. With a height of 113 feet and aluminum dome, the Stan Sheriff Center certainly is one of them, acting as one of the most modern sporting venues in all of Hawaii.
Opened in 1994 as the Special Events Center, it was renamed in 1998 after former University of Hawaii at Monoa Athletic Director, Stan Sheriff, who put in countless efforts to ensure the venue was built. It now serves as the home to the University of Hawai’i basketball and volleyball teams. Since construction, a few renovations have occurred, most notably in 1998, bringing the facility to where it is today with a capacity of 10,300.
Before playing at the Stan Sheriff Center, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors spent 30 years (’64-’94) playing at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center. The team spent little time getting accustomed to their new home, as they tallied 24 straight home wins between 2001 and 2003.
Member Review by brantamas on Mar 13, 2014
Went to a Rainbow Warriors game and totally got into the experience. The crowd was loud, the team won and so everyone was happy coming home. Coming into the parking lot was fast and easy but coming out took some time as the main parking structure has 6 levels and everyone is spiraling down to the street level. The food was great. Macho nachos and Garlic fries are my favorites. There's a beer garden with the main beers plus Gordon Biersch. Would recommend to anyone who is visiting to come check out a game.
2239 S King St
Honolulu, HI 96826
3040 Waialae Ave # A2
Honolulu, HI 96826
2509 S King St
Honolulu, HI 96826