Ewing. Mutombo. Mourning. Harrington. Hibbert. When hearing those names, you can’t help but think of the Georgetown Hoyas dominating the boards during any given game in the past 30 years. These are just five of the 52 players that have been drafted into the NBA out of this small private Jesuit college located in NW Washington DC. with Ewing and Allen Iverson being taken #1 overall in their respective draft years.
The Hoyas currently play their home games at the Verizon Center, located a few miles east of campus in downtown. They share their home with the NBA Wizards, NHL Capitals and WNBA Mystics. Before moving into the Verizon Center permanently, the Hoyas played in McDonough Gymnasium, a tiny 2,500-seat arena located on campus. Due to the success of the program and the growing fan base, it became necessary for them to find a bigger arena.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There are many advantages to sharing a home arena with a professional team, and one of them is the food selection. Before you go, download the Verizon Center mobile app, which gives you an interactive map of concession stands and menu items. There are so many choices that this may save you some time from walking laps around the arena deciding on what you want. Be forewarned - while selection is professional level, so are the prices.
Not sure what you are in the mood for? I have a few recommendations that might make your choice a little easier. Head over to section 112 and you will find a Hard Time Cafe stand that has a good variety of items that will keep you warm on a cold winter's day. Chili, nachos, wings and Frito pie with prices ranging from $7-$11 are all great - make sure you grab some extra napkins. Close by at section 117, you will find the Greene Turtle stand (there is also a full-service restaurant in the arena) that offers BBQ sliders and french fries for $9. Papa John's has a stand that offers personal size cheese and pepperoni pizza for $9.25. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to selection and variety at Verizon Center, so take the time to check out what they have to offer before stopping at the first place that catches your eye.
Pepsi products are served, and a large souvenir cup comes with one free refill the day of the game, a pretty good deal. I was a little disappointed that the souvenir cup is for the Washington Capitals, another tenant of the arena - as many home games as the Hoyas play there, I would think they would have cups to support them. For those that enjoy an adult beverage from time to time, you are in luck! Beer is available and the selection is good. A 24-ounce draft as well as a 25-ounce can of domestic will cost you $11.00, while smaller sizes are available for about $2 cheaper. Bottled water is also served for $4.50. You will also find stands that serve your favorite spirits and liquors through the lower concourse.
You will find of plenty of sweet goods to satisfy any craving you have, but my favorite is the Dunkin' Donuts stand. Located at section 120, you can pick up a donut for $2, along with a good offering of coffee and espresso-based beverages.
Bottom line - if you can't find anything to eat at the Verizon Center, you didn't look hard enough.
Overall, there is a good atmosphere at the Verizon Center on gameday. The best place to enter is on the 7th Street main entrance and getting in is typically pretty easy - they do have security, but it moves pretty quickly. Gates normally open one hour before tipoff and your tickets are scanned instead of ripped. This also moves efficiently, and I appreciate being able to keep my ticket stub intact. Unless you are seated courtside, you will find a fold-down cushioned chair with a cup holder for your seat. Width and comfort are standard, and the pitch of the seating is enough that you don't have to worry about the person in front of you blocking your view.
If you are looking to sit behind the Hoyas' bench, section 101 is where you want to be. The home team comes out of the tunnel between sections 103 and 104 and students sit in sections 104-107 and 115-118. If you want to be close to them and the pep band (115), look for seats in sections surrounding those.
The PA announcer does a good job of keeping the crowd informed and entertained. The sound quality is good and is not too loud or overbearing on the ears. The large four-sided overhead scoreboard has an HD-quality picture that shows live action along with replay. It also has stats for each player on the court along with all of the typical game information. There are also four smaller scoreboards located in each corner of the arena that are underutilized. There was lots of great college action happening throughout the country during the game I most recently attended, and they chose to display only two games the whole contest. This is a big contrast to Wizards game where teams stats are constantly updated and out-of-town scores are displayed for multiple sports.
The aforementioned pep band does a great job of entertaining during the game, and you will find the cheerleaders and dance squad out on the floor multiple times during breaks in play, pumping the crowd up for the home team. One of the unique things you will see during some breaks in play is a huge, multi-barrel cannon that shoots t-shirts far into the crowd. The opportunity to get free stuff always gets a crowd going, and this contraption adds to the excitement, as it can get t-shirts well into the upper deck. Keep an eye out for it, as it also shoots more than one a time.
Where to start? Located right in the heart of our nation's capital, the Verizon Center is easily accessible to a variety of options to enjoy before and after the game. The arena sits right on the border of the city's Chinatown district and is blocks from the Smithsonian museums.
Attached to the Verizon Center is Gallery Place, which includes retail shops and restaurants. Clyde's is an area staple and a great place to meet before and after the game. Bar Louie, Sushi Go Round and Chipotle are other places where you will find crowds before,during and after events at the arena. Gallery Place also includes a bowling alley and a 14-screen movie theater.
The National Mall is blocks away and the Washington Monument is about a 25-minute walk. With the subway located right under the arena, you are minutes away from the many other attractions Washington, DC has to offer.
Georgetown fans are great, and they show up and support their team, whether they are having a great season or not. I have been to many games over the years, and with the past success that the program has had, there is always optimism in the air that the Hoyas will be victorious, no matter the opponent. Don't get me wrong, if the team is not performing up to par, the home crowd will be sure to let them know, but that is to be expected from a passionate fan base.
It's great to see that the student sections are always full, and they stand for most of the game. You'll see a variety of flags and signs behind the baskets that the students use to show their school spirit and distract the opposing teams. The most common chant you will hear throughout the game is "Hoya Saxa," usually alternating the words from each student section. Literally translated from its Greek and Latin roots, the phrase means "What Rocks!" While most fans probably don't know the origin or meaning behind it, it is the school's official cheer and is part of the gameday experience.
Your best option for getting to the game is to use Metro, the DC area subway system. The Gallery Place/Chinatown stop on the Red, Yellow or Green Line lets you out right at the arena. It can be crowded leaving after a well attended game, but is the easiest and least expensive alternative to get to Verizon Center.
If you are comfortable driving in the city, there are plenty of parking garages around the immediate area of the arena. The easiest in and out and best value that I have found is on E Street between 6th and 7th Streets. There are two garages there - both take credit as well as cash. The Verizon Center is a block and a half walk from both garages. Be mindful of other events going on in the city if you decide to drive - the cost of parking can range from $10-$35, based on other activities and demand.
Finding a street parking space can be an adventure, and I would not recommend wasting your time and energy towards that. Stick with the Metro or garage parking and you will be fine.
Restrooms are plentiful along the concourse at Verizon Center and are typically clean and well-maintained.
So, there are also disadvantages to sharing an arena with a professional team. One of them is the ticket price. A ticket on the main concourse costs between $50-$80 when purchased through Ticketmaster, which the team uses to sell individual game tickets. If you don't mind sitting in the upper level far from the action, $20 is the lowest price for a ticket. Resale or purchase of tickets outside of the arena for any amount is against the law, so be careful about trying to buy any from the nice guys outside the entrance. Combine ticket prices with your transportation costs and the big-league food prices, and a game at the Verizon Center can put a significant dent in your entertainment budget.
Understandably, the Hoyas are the biggest name program in the DC area, but there are other great teams and arenas close by, such as George Washington, that are more economical and produce a great fan experience.
Going to see a team play in a big city has its advantages, and endless stuff to do is one of them.
Take a look in the rafters and you will find the Hoyas' 1984 National Championship banner alongside another banner that lists their five Final Four appearances. Not every school can claim a national title, and this is a symbol of the program's success.
If you are able to take in a Hoyas game, I would recommend you don't pass on the opportunity. It's a fun time and while it can be expensive, you are getting to watch one of the great programs of all-time with a history of churning out superstars, both in college and in the pros.
Washington DC's Verizon Center is home to the Georgetown University men's basketball program, the NHL's Capitals, NBA's Wizards, and the WNBA's Mystics. Built in 1997, it was the start of the revitalization of DC's Chinatown. It is largely responsible for the area being one of the hottest spots in the city. Normally, I am not a fan of off campus venues, but for Verizon, I will make an exception.
As stated before, the biggest problem with the Verizon Center is that it is, frankly, too big. Only the premium matchups against Syracuse or Duke actually fill the building. Often there are only 8k-10k in attendance. This is common amongst "small," private colleges playing in large downtown arenas.
But besides that, Hoyas games aren't bad. You can get in the door for $10, they sell beer during games, often you can sneak down to the lower bowl and sit in the corners, access is great with the arena located on top of the Gallery Place metro station (and you're an idiot if you decide to drive).
Scalping tickets is illegal in DC. You can hardly walk down the street with all the scalpers covering the sidewalks. There has to be 30 cops on the street for events. They don’t do anything about it just stand there talking to their buddies. What a waste of money to pay them. My daughters refuse to come to games because of these rude people. We have complained to the cops and they say they can’t control it. Move the scalpers two blocks down the street, their clients will find them.
714 7th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001
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