Value City Arena at Jerome Schottenstein Center (map it)
555 Borror Dr
Columbus, OH 43210
Year Opened: 1998
There are no tickets available at this time.
Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center. It is a name that is as big as the arena feels as a spectator. The venue has been home to Ohio State Buckeyes basketball since it opened in 1998. It is also home to the men’s ice hockey team and women’s basketball team at OSU. It is the largest arena in the Big Ten, and also serves as a host to many concerts each year.
The Buckeyes basketball program, under the leadership of Coach Thad Matta since 2004, has been consistently very good to great. Since the opening of Value City Arena, the team has appeared in three Final Fours (1999, 2007, and 2012), and has won either the Big Ten regular season or conference championship (or both) in four consecutive years (2010-2013). So you know you’re going to see a good team when you make the trip to Columbus, and with the level of play in the Big Ten being some of the best in the country, you can expect to see a close contest.
I suppose it’s fitting with a large school like this to have a large arena. The Ohio State University has about 57,000 students in Columbus when you combine undergraduates and post-graduates. However, this arena feels much more like an NBA arena than it does a college venue, and if you’re a fan of NCAA hoops, then you may find this to be a not-so-great thing.
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There are plenty of options as you walk the two levels of concourse in terms of concession items. The Big Brutus Pretzel stands out ($12) served with cheese, spicy mustard, and sweet cream cheese. My recommendation is the Ohio Pasture Proud Burger ($9), which is served with "Script O" fries, and made to order. You may have to wait while they cook it, but it certainly beats a hot dog that has been sitting in a warming basket. You may also want to try the Smoked BBQ pulled chicken sandwich ($9), also served with "Script O" fries.
There are more options than I can list here, but others worth checking out that are a little unique include turkey & Swiss gluten free sub ($7), Roosters boneless wings ($8), Bob Evans Jalapeno and Cheddar Sausage ($5.50), Graeter's Ice Cream Cup ($6), Donatos pizza ($7), and a selection of Yellow Boy hot dogs and sausages (starting at $8).
Coca-Cola products are available to drink with sizes ranging in price from $3-$5.50. You can also find bottled water ($3.50), Powerade ($4), and Tim Horton coffee ($3). As is the case with many college venues, no alcohol is served at Value City Arena.
Ohio State fans love their sports, and while this will always be a football school, there is a great deal of passion toward the basketball team as well. Still, you can expect to find open seats for most games, with the exception of rivalry games against Michigan, or top teams like Michigan State. Unlike other large college basketball arenas like Syracuse, Kentucky, North Carolina, or BYU there is just something that feels a little soul-less in this cavernous venue.
Seats are fine with average leg room, but no cup holders. Students are primarily behind the benches, and one basket. The always outstanding Ohio State band is present and helps provide some of the festive spirit.
There is a large center-hung, four-sided scoreboard with video of highlights and live action, with additional screens in each of the top four corners, and a ribbon board encircling the facing of the upper deck. If you sit in the upper reaches of the 300 level, you will feel very far away from the action. This is one arena where you will want to spring for the lower level tickets, or try to at least be in the front of the upper level.
It is worth your time to take a lap around both the lower and upper concourse as there is plenty of history on display, both for basketball, and OSU athletics in general.
Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center is located in the middle of the main athletics facility portion of the Ohio State campus. You can see Ohio Stadium in the distance, and across the street is Bill Davis Stadium, home to the Buckeyes baseball team. If you are a fan of golf, you should also take the time to visit the Jack Nicklaus Museum. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-5pm, and has plenty of memorabilia of perhaps the best golfer in history.
The arena is located about a mile from High Street, which is the main drag with just about every chain restaurant you can imagine, along with several bars. Buffalo Wild Wings at the corner of Lane and High is a good place to spend some time before or after the game. I parked my car nearby to save some money and made the walk from there to the game.
If you're in town, and want to try some classic Columbus eats, then consider a trip to the Ohio Deli for a Dagwood sandwich, or to Thurman's for great burgers.
Ohio State fans are passionate about their teams. I found several students camped out on a frigid January day during my most recent visit, just waiting to be the first ones in the door. You can expect the student section to be packed, and they do their part. Unfortunately, it is hard to compensate for the empty seats in the upper levels. The fans are good here, but don't do much to rise to that special level of some other college basketball arenas.
Parking will cost you $10 in some of the selected lots around the arena, including the Fawcett Center, which can be found across the street. It's not exorbitant, but certainly higher than it needs to be. My recommendation is to save some dough and get in some walking by parking on one of the side streets off High Street. I found a spot on Maynard & High, and had about a mile to walk.
Inside the arena, the concourse can get a bit crowded at peak times, but is generally wide enough to get around. There are several displays worth checking out as you make your way around the arena, so try and find some time to do a lap.
Ohio State utilizes Ticketmaster for the sale of tickets from their website, so you can expect to pay an inflated price for those always famous fees. Back row seats will cost you $27.25 (that would be $22 for the ticket plus $5.25 in fees). I would highly recommend using a second hand ticket vendor, like ScoreBig. I was able to find the same ticket for only $17 there.
Concessions are a little on the high side for some of the more unique options, but basics like pop and standard hot dogs are about what you would expect. The $10 parking is also a little high. Programs will cost you $5 as well. Overall, you'll probably feel like you paid too much for the experience of attending an Ohio State basketball game at Value City Arena.
One extra point for all of the history on display inside the Jerome Schottenstein Center. You should also try to arrive early enough to take in the Jack Nicklaus Museum, worth a bonus point for any fan of golf.
One final extra point for the retired numbers and banners inside the arena. Retired numbers hung from the ceiling include John Havlicek (#5), Jerry Lucas (#11), Jim Jackson (#22), and Gary Bradds (#35).
While this is by no means an arena that can be considered one of the best in the nation, there is a lot of history here, and usually a place where you can see a team competing for a Big Ten championship. Columbus is a great place to visit when it comes to sports, especially when the weather warms up and you can see the Columbus Clippers or Columbus Crew. You may also want to consult the schedule and see if you can catch the Columbus Blue Jackets in action on the same weekend, or see Ohio State hockey and watch the arena transform from hoops to pucks.
The name isn't the only thing that feels big when you attend an Ohio State basketball game. Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center accommodates 19,200 spectators for a hoops contest, giving it the feel of an NBA arena. It's not that big is necessarily a bad attribute, but when it comes to college basketball, you certainly lose the energy and intimacy that can be found in smaller venues.
Overall, this is a pretty comprehensive review of "The Schott" however Paul missed a few things. One thing that I would be sure to do is get to the game plenty early to combat the traffic when exiting off of 315 and to allow for some time to wonder the main concourse and all of the sports history that resides in those halls.
Re the size of the arena: one thing you don't realize is what else is held at this venue. The arena is also home to a number of massive musical performances every year. The arena is probably in use once a week outside of basketball season. And surprisingly they do full this NBA size arena most of the season, this football school does turn out to support the basketball team who perennially sends players to the NBA.
Bottom line, you won't regret a visit to the Schott.
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