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Official Review by Joshua Guiher, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Stony Brook's Pritchard Gymnasium is part of the Stony Brook University Arena complex that was built in 1990 for $17 million. Since seating is currently limited to 1,630, the arena will be undergoing a $20 million renovation after the season that will feature 4,000 seats in a bowl configuration.
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 had the standard fare items like hot dogs ($3.75), nachos ($4.50), cheese pizzas ($6.50), cracker jacks ($2) and NY Pretzels ($3.75). The one unique item they had were churros (2/$3) which I don't like so sorry I didn't try them.
Drinks were Pepsi products at $3.25 for a 20oz bottle of soda or water and $3.75 for a Gatorade. We settled for 1 drink, 1 hot dog, 1 cheese cup ($.50) and 2 pretzels which cost us $17. Certainly not cost effective and the hot dog was average at best.
The arena was packed even on a weekday during Christmas week. We actually got the last 2 tickets available as they turned away the 30 plus people behind us in line looking the buy tickets. Based on this experience, I recommend you buy tickets ahead of time even if they have hundreds left the day of the game as walk up business was brisk.
The real drawback is the lack of historical success with the team only ever making the post-season once (2010 NIT). This recent success however is actually leading to a new arena to be built before next season so this is your final year to see a game in Pritchard Gymnasium.
The neighborhood is a pretty standard area for Long Island. There are a few popular bars but the leader in the area is a place called The Bench Bar & Grill. They actually sponsor the back of your ticket so go after the game and you receive 10% off your order. You can get everything from Sheppard's Pie to a Cuban Sandwich to Ribs. I settled for a 3 slider sampler and selected a pulled BBQ Pork, a Cheeseburger and a Buffalo Chicken. While all 3 were good, the Buffalo Chicken was my favorite. The best part is The Bench Bar & Grill are located within walking distance of the Gymnasium, right beside the LIRR train stop.
The fans were pretty average for a small Division I basketball team. They were loud but seemed to need some direction as to when to cheer. What I found odd was the fans never booed a single call by the refs even in a tight game that came down to the final minute. Not what I expected from a New York crowd. I am not sure how many fans Stony Brook normally draws, but the night we went it was a sellout. It is my understanding that they sold hundreds of tickets right before opening tip due to strong walk up sales which was nice to see.
Parking was free and located right by the Arena. You can also come in on the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) if you prefer not to drive. This would normally result in a higher score but it was the access getting to your seat that was a real drawback. We were about the 10th group back in the ticket line and it took a good 15 minutes to get tickets. Then when you go to get to your seat, the only access is from the court so it is very tricky to get to/from your seat when the game has started.
With free parking and tickets for $10 on Long Island, the return on investment is well worth a trip to Stony Brook for a basketball game. My only recommendation is to skip the concession stand and eat somewhere in town or sneak in your own candy for the kids as the prices and quality were a little suspect.
The mascot had an interesting way to entice the crowd to cheer with a garbage can. Can't say I have seen that before. They also had a t-shirt toss which they saved for the final 2 minutes of the game, which I thought was nice to reward those who stayed until the end.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Feb 20, 2014
I attended the second last home game at Pritchard Gymnasium. First, do not eat at the venue, rather try the student cafeteria just a couple of buildings away, much more selection and a bit cheaper too. I went at night in the middle of winter and did not see much else around - Port Jefferson is the next and final stop on the LIRR and seems to be a bit more happening. The fans are as described, fairly positive, while the student section (Red Zone) is quite lively. Stony Brook is a research university known for its academics and so there is a great deal more respect for the game here than you get at certain other colleges, where obnoxious behaviour is more common. Getting here from NYC can take 2 hours or longer on the LIRR and is not cheap, at least $25 return depending on the time of day you go. Game tickets are $14 now, but I do not know how much they will be when the new arena opens. Wolfie does a good job as the mascot and the cheer teams are energetic. All in all, a worthwhile experience.
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