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The Show Place Arena

Upper Marlboro, MD

Home of the CAA Women's Basketball Tournament

3.4

N/A

The Show Place Arena (map it)
14900 Pennsylvania Ave
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772


CAA Women's Basketball Tournament website

The Show Place Arena website

Year Opened: 2002

Capacity: 5,800

There are no tickets available at this time.

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2014 CAA Women's Tournament

The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) has been known in men’s college basketball as a mid-major spoiler, with teams making it to the Final Four and other upsets galore. In women’s college basketball, it is less likely that a mid-major team can be successful, as the talent gap is more noted.

The CAA’s Delaware Blue Hens have proven to be a major exception to this observation. 6-foot-5 Elena Delle Donne sparked this team to great success between 2010 and 2013, making great strides in the NCAA Tourney. Della Donne since went on to become the 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year. But Delaware is not the only CAA success story, as the Drexel Dragons won the 2013 Women’s NIT Championships and the Towson Tigers were selected for the 2013 Women’s Basketball Invitational.

Since 2010, the CAA Women’s Championship has been played at the Show Place Arena at the Prince George's Equestrian Center. The arena is home to a variety of events, but its primary purpose is for a variety of equine purposes, including horse shows and rodeos. Show Place Arena was also the home of failed professional sports teams, such as the ABA Maryland Nighthawks (2004-2005), indoor football teams Chesapeake Tide and Maryland Maniacs (2007-2009) and the ECHL’s Chesapeake Icebreakers (1997-1999). In addition, the Patriot League Men's and Women's Basketball Championship was held here between 2002 and 2004, as well as the 2010 Atlantic 10 Conference Women's Basketball Tournament.

3.4

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

There are a few basic food options at the arena concession stands. While not exciting, the prices are very competitive. Hot dogs are $3.50, breakfast sandwiches $3.75 and $3 sodas. Pizzas also start at $8.

Also, note the numerous soda and snack vending machines scattered around the concourse. A soda for $1.75, with candy and chips for $1, is a price level almost unheard-of.

Atmosphere    4

The arena was just not designed for basketball. It is much longer than a traditional arena, even ones designed for hockey, so there are corner seats that are extremely far from the action. There really was no one using them, with general admission seating in place.

The most distracting thing for the basketball fan is the lack of a center hanging scoreboard. There are only scoreboards on the walls of the two end walls of the arena. They are too far away and do not give enough of the usual necessary detail. No video boards are evident. Maybe some temporary screening and scoring boards should be used in the future.

The arena is also sloped very gently so that even at the top of the arena, a mere 20 rows away, you feel pretty far removed from the action. It reminds one of the renovated and changed upper concourses at Madison Square Garden. Luckily, unlike the Garden, you are not far away.

Neighborhood    3

There is nothing really close to the arena, except for horse barns. If you need to grab a bite for an event, you may want to wander towards the Washington Beltway. Around the 9200 block of Marlboro Pike in Upper Marlboro, there are a few good places such as Tucker's at 9205 Marlboro Pike. It is a bit of a greasy spoon and even has a drive-in liquor store attached, if you like that kind of thing. Meadows Pizza is also nearby for basic pizza and subs.

Another option is to go a few miles north on Route 301 towards Bowie. Bowie is the land of the shopping malls, so there are numerous food options, albeit mostly chains. If you need to go that route stop in at On The Border and try the delicious empanadas.

The CAA Tournament bases many of their activities and lodging options out of National Harbor, located a pretty distant 18 miles away. There are numerous upscale and downscale restaurants at this newly constructed shopping and residential district. Grace's Mandarin and Elevation Burger are two good examples. There are also numerous hotels, although the largest and best option is Gaylord National Harbor. Also, be sure to check out the intriguing statue, known as The Awakening, that was moved here after spending many years at Hains Point, DC. At its old DC location, it was used for one scene in the Sandra Bullock movie, The Net.

Going a little further away there is always the many cultural, historical and tourist type options of Washington, DC and Annapolis. Both are less than a 30-minute drive away.

Fans    5

Tournaments will have varying fan bases, so it may change from game to game. I would imagine the extremely-located schools such as College of Charleston and Northeastern may have trouble filling the stands.

Not all teams were seen during our visit, but James Madison had easily the largest and loudest groups of fans. Those in attendance numbered more than those often seen at women's basketball games. Their pep band was also extremely loud and engaged throughout their games.

Other fan bases were also extremely loud and into their respective games. Pep bands, mascots and cheerleaders also made the atmosphere rival a big time college environment.

Access    4

The Equestrian Center is located right off of Maryland Route 4 close to the major US 301 highway. It is also seven miles from the Washington Beltway, and as they advertise, it is "just 16 miles from the White House." It is also 37 miles from Baltimore along Route 3. There are 2,500 parking spaces on site, with 3,000 additional spaces within walking distance. Parking prices will vary by the event, but it was free at this event.

Return on Investment    4

Tickets were a good value, with first-round games $6 for all ages, while other games were $15 for adults, $7 for youth and $7 for seniors. You could also get a ticket book for all 8 games for $40. Military discounts were also available. Local sponsor Wegman's also offered Loyalty Card discount tickets, which must be purchased at the Show Place Arena.

There are a few luxury suites and two large meeting rooms with arena floor views that are available for events. One of these meeting rooms was used by the CAA as the Commissioner's Suite, the other a media room. These rooms are an obvious plus for an event such as this.

With parking free and the good value on tickets, any attendee should be happy with what they receive in terms of entertainment.

Extras    1

If you are a horse lover you may be lucky to see some kind of equestrian event being held outside at the same time as an arena event. A dressage event was being held at the same time as the 2014 CAA Women's Tourney.

Final Thoughts

The arena was not designed with basketball in mind. And it may never be a good home for a permanent minor league basketball team, as the floor is just too large for such a sport. But a conference championship has more demands, with multiple pep bands, cheerleaders and behind the scenes activities going on at the same time. This is where a venue such as this shines. If attending this event you will have a good, enjoyable time.

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