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Official Review by Daniel Wolf, Stadium Journey Correspondent
The Wolstein Center is located at Cleveland State University in Downtown Cleveland, OH. Housing the Vikings basketball team of the Horizon League, the center can seat 14,000 when big name college opponents are in town.
Normally, the Wolstein Center is cut in thirds when Horizon League opponents are in town as was the case on Feb. 13, 2010 when they hosted then 15th ranked Butler.
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".
For the game the stereotypical arena food was available and reasonably priced, but the selection lacked at bit and resembled more of an offering that one would see at a movie theater.
You had nachos ($5), Popcorn ($3.50), Pretzels ($3), Reg. Soda ($3), Large Soda ($5), a bottle of water ($3.50) and beer ($6). No unique restaurants are in the arena, just vendor stands.
The atmosphere is a bit on the dull side in the arena and the fact that the school has to cut the arena a third smaller than it usually is really takes away from the environment since a giant green curtain is what is used to cut the arena down in size.
The CSU Vikings are hot and right off of an impressive run in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, and even though the team is on the rise, the arena looks like it could use a jolt of life into it to create a bit more excitement.
There really isn't a neighborhood per say since is in Downtown Cleveland, but there are many restaurants and bars in the East 4th Street and West 6th Street areas.
One block away from the venue is the Rascal House which is mostly a pizza shop and is also attached to the Peabody's Night Club that has had many famous bands play there throughout its years.
With a quick jump onto the free E-Line or B-Line trolley system offered by the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) anyone can get around easily in the Downtown area including Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians), Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland Cavaliers), Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Science Center and the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
Downtown Cleveland has had some hard times over the past decade, but a commitment to rebuilding the area is very obvious with many construction projects currently in progress as well.
The CSU fans are very passionate and they claim the first 10 rows or so at one end of the court directly behind the basket. Waving their hands and screaming, they were into the game from the very beginning.
Some of the students were wearing Viking helmets and even the men's swim team was present cheering in only their swim trunks, which the ladies seemed to really enjoy.
There was an instance where a fans was ejected toward the end of the game, but this was a classic case of a referee being a bit too sensitive to normal fan comments from the sidelines.
With a parking garage right across the street from the arena it makes going to a game that much more easy. Parking in the garage was $6, which wasn't bad, but there are many smaller parking lots surrounding the arena as well with an average price of $5 for events.
Parking meters were a plenty, but with limited parking times, one must really pay attention when they use a meter.
For an average paying fans tickets are not too expensive at starting as low as $8 and going up as high as $25. For me, I was able to get a seat in the press area since I'm on the sports beat for the CSU newspaper, but after moving around to various sections of the arena, there really isn't a bad seat in the house.
The food was a bit boring and could have used a better selection, but it was better than not having anything at all.
I got a tour of the brand new and renovated locker room and the site of it was breathtaking and reminiscent of a pro-level locker room. Kudos to the university for getting all the money to complete the renovation via all fundraising dollars too.
It was disappointing to see that even for a game against the 15th ranked team in the nation, that CSU still had to cut off a third of the arena. Even though the capacity was limited, it was still the second biggest attendance for a men's basketball home game this season at 4,681.
A fun place to watch a game for next to nothing, but don't expect to be amazed at the venue because it is just average.
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1100 Carnegie Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
629 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44114