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Official Review by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Georgetown University is a Catholic Jesuit university in Washington, DC. It was founded in 1789 by John Carroll. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.S. Chief Justice Edward Douglass White, and the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia are just a few of its famous alumni.
The Georgetown University basketball team has known great success over the years. The team won the National Championship in 1984 and has reached the NCAA Tournament Final Four on five occasions. They have been to the NCAA Tournament 33 times and the National Invitation Tournament an additional 12 times. Patrick Ewing, David Wingate, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, Allen Iverson and Roy Hibbert are just a few of the many famous basketball alumni.
What is a Hoya? Stemming from the popular "Hoya Saxa!" cheer, the Hoyas name stuck as the team name mascot. It is personified by Jack the Bulldog.
The Verizon Center was originally known as the MCI Center when it opened in 1997. It is located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, DC, and sits atop the Gallery Place station of the Washington Metro subway system. Although Monumental Sports & Entertainment owns the arena, the land is leased from the city of Washington, DC. The Inaugural event was a concert performance by Barry Manilow in celebration of the then Capitals and Bullet’s owner Abe Pollin's birthday on December 2, 1997.
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".
Verizon Center has a pretty incredible variety of food options, although a few stands may not be open for Hoya games. The upper concourse patrons won't find much open up there, as usually those stands are not opened for Georgetown games.
Sodas start at $5. A souvenir soda, with free refills, is a hefty $9. Hot dogs are $5.75. Beer is sold at Hoya games. These price levels are just way too high for college basketball, no matter the level of play.
The Residence Pub is a favorite stand. Beer is expensive here starting at $10.25 and going up to $13.50. And when open, the Heritage Brewing Company and their fine Pulled Pork Sandwich ($12.75) and Heritage Draft Beer ($10.25) are a good choice.
Hofman's Quality Meats and the X-Treme Nacho stand are a couple of other favorites.
The Dunkin' Donuts stand is popular at halftime, not necessarily for the donuts, but for the coffee.
Georgetown games have a pretty good atmosphere. The only issue is that it can sometimes seem lacking a bit because of the large arena. That is not the team nor the fans fault, as the arena may be just a bit too big for the Hoyas. The team is not performing too well, so there should be better support when things are going better.
The students sit in sections 104-107 and 115-118 with the pep band located in section 115. The students do a pretty good job of attending games even though the arena is pretty far from their campus.
Playing in a professional arena does have its advantages. The scoreboard and PA system are top notch. Most aspects of the game environment is on a highly polished level.
The cheerleaders and dance squad add to the excitement at games. The crowd also loves when Jack the Bulldog makes appearances, especially via skateboard.
The ribbon board and other touches say Hoyas, but much of the concourse has more about the Capitals and the Wizards than Georgetown.
Verizon Center is located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, DC, and sits atop the Gallery Place station of the Washington Metro subway system. There are a multitude of bars and restaurants in the area that are quite excellent such as Fuddruckers, Greene Turtle, Chinatown Express.
A few of my favorites away from the area are Smith Commons (in the Atlas Arts District), Doi Moi (Logan Circle) and Bar Charley (near Dupont Circle). A good suggestion is to stop by Bar Charley for some great craft cocktails and walk the few blocks over to Doi Moi to finish up with some great Asian small plates.
Did I mention you are right in the middle of Washington, DC? The amount of attractions, museums, restaurants and other sights are astounding. Spend some time pre or postgame seeing the many things around this great city.
The Verizon Center usually does not fill to capacity for Hoyas games. I think that attendance is down because of the team struggling a bit. But the fans are loud and proud. The support is still decent. The fans expect to see a Hoyas victory at all games.
The student sections, in particular, are extremely loud and vocal. They are not as close to the court as in some smaller and older arenas, but they still make their presence known.
The "Hoya Saxa!" chant, a mix of Greek and Latin, is fun to witness in person. It makes the atmosphere even more spirited; the chant translates into English as "what rocks!"
This is DC, so driving to the arena is never the best idea. There will be lots around in the area and at various prices. The best option is to try and not drive in this madness and instead take the subway system, known as the Metro.
The Metro is frustratingly overpriced compared to systems in other cities. But it really does get you to nearly all parts of the city, except for Georgetown. Just be careful on weekends when trains run less often or are in single track mode, as you may encounter some extended wait times. The Gallery Place station is right underneath the Verizon Center.
You will also spend quite a bit of time walking around DC. It is large and spread out, so bring some good walking shoes.
The National Mall and all its attractions are just a few blocks south so try and stop by pre or postgame.
Attending a Georgetown game is not cheap. Expensive tickets are the name of the game. They range from $18 to $68. There are 5-game mini-plan or full-season ticket packages available.
Parking near the Verizon Center is extremely expensive, as well. Add to it the fact that the Washington Metro is one of the more expensive public transportation options in the country, makes a Georgetown game a pricey entertainment option.
Looking out the windows of the concourse you will see that you are in the heart of a historic part of DC. That is a great sight to see. The National Portrait Gallery is right next to the stadium. Other great attractions and museums are in close distance.
I like that the arena is in the heart of the historic district, but also the Chinatown area. There are some great things to see in this area of town.
There are some team historical exhibits around the arena, but most are not for the Hoyas. But they are still worth looking for. Check out the history of the other teams, as well as the older Capital Centre venue, as they are scattered around the concourse.
The Verizon Center is a great arena, and easily one of the best in the Washington, DC area. But although Georgetown has had great success over the years the Hoyas are the 3rd tenant in a NBA/NHL arena. While the crowd can provide for a great atmosphere, the large facility is too overwhelming.
Member Review by gtcrawley
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.
Member Review by Tom_Leykis_Fan on Oct 22, 2011
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).
Member Review by sky on Apr 13, 2013
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.
Member Review by bullock0404 on Mar 02, 2014
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.
Member Review by alee1227 on Nov 08, 2014
You can tell this is an NBA arena. Which has its pros and cons. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the price of Georgetown merchandise. I went to a game on New Year's Eve, which meant hardly any fans(students) were there. Thus it is hard for to to fairly grade "Fans".
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