American Airlines Center – Dallas Mavericks
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
American Airlines Center 2500 Victory Ave Dallas, TX 75219
Year Opened: 2001
Dallas Mavericks – American Airlines Center
American Airlines Center (AAC) is a multi-use arena located in the Victory Park area, which is just north of the historic West End in downtown Dallas. The venue is home to the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA and the Dallas Stars of the NHL. AAC, as it is commonly referred to by local sports fans, opened its doors on July 28, 2001 with ‘An Evening with the Eagles’; the Mavericks and Stars also both opened their 2001 season in AAC, replacing outdated Reunion Arena. The venue is made of brick, limestone, and granite with signature arches, but the arena’s sweeping facades and smooth arch design can easily get lost in the new vibrant Victory Park buildings, which have risen around the old site of a power plant.
American Airlines Center is the primary venue in the Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) area hosting year-round sporting events and live entertainment. The seating capacity for basketball is 19,200, or up to 21,146 including standing room. American Airlines Center has hosted the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, Big 12 basketball tournament, NCAA women’s Final Four, and the 55th NHL All Star game, to name a few events besides the main tenants.
Food & Beverage 5
There is no shortage of food or beverages when attending an event at American Airlines Center. It doesn’t matter if your tickets are on the lower, platinum, or upper level; you’ll find something to satisfy your appetite. However, the prices will be the typically inflated stadium/arena prices.
There are an abundance of concessions stands throughout the arena, including Big Dawgs, Pizza Hut, Fast Break, Taco Bueno, Grilled Zone, High Steaks, Hot Popped and Twisted, Bubba Burger, BBQ Stampede, and Motley’s Pub. In addition, if none of the above satisfies your appetite there is also Market to Go, which offers fresh deli sandwiches, vegetarian options, tossed salads, and bottled beer. To see the incredible variety that American Airlines Center offers when it comes to food service, please visit their concessions website.
There are numerous alcohol selections inside American Airlines Center, and not just at the concessions stands, but also at specialty beer bars such as the Texas Beer Bar, which serves Ziegenbock, St Arnold’s, Fireman’s 4, and Franconia. In addition there is the Blue Moon Bar, which offers all the Blue Moon products, as well as import and craft bars with beers from around the world, such as Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale (OR), Goose Island (Chicago), Brooklyn Lager (NY), Alaskan Amber (AK), Kirin Iciban (Japan), and Stone Arrogant Bastard (CA). The prices all range from $9 to $14 dollars depending on size; Woodbridge wine is also sold for $9.50 a glass.
Besides alcohol, Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper products are also offered, with prices of $5 for the regular size and $9.50 for the bottomless souvenir cup.
In addition to the concessions stands and specialty bars, American Airlines Center features full-service restaurants – the most popular would be Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Club, which is full service with outdoor seating and is located at the southeast corner; however, you’ll need an event ticket to enter this restaurant. The Club opens 2 hours before all Mavs games, allowing you to relax before the game, and is a sports bar with food such as brisket, wings, nachos, and other sports bar favorites, but there is a separate area inside the Old No. 7 Club on the lower level that provides a more global dining experience.
Another restaurant option inside American Airlines Center is Valor Bar & Burger, a retro-type eatery featuring a menu of craft burgers along with a variety of alcoholic beverages. In addition, on the southeast terrace level is Jack’s Place, a bar stocked with a wide array of beer, wine, and spirit offerings. For fans that want to try a different type of cocktail, Jack’s offers Jack Daniels Signature cocktails, such as Pair of Jacks and Jack-a-Rita! In addition, Terrace Taproom is a brand-new space that features a large array of local craft beers along with a variety of bratwursts; this restaurant is located outside section 305.
Alternatively, platinum level seating will grant you access to the rest of the unique bars here at American Airlines Center, such as Lexus Platinum Club, The Arrangement Club, and Chef’s Corner.
Despite all the great options at American Airlines Center, just like any arena the best option is to eat before or after the event, as there are plenty of great restaurant options in and around Dallas.
The atmosphere at a Mavs game begins 1.5 hours before tip-off, as fans can get free tickets to the game by painting their faces; more information is available at the Mavericks team website. Then once inside, there are plenty of food and drink options available. The main team store, the Hangar Fan Shop, is open near the main entrance for fans looking to update their Mavs gear. In addition, Chris Arnold, one of the game nights hosts, is on the mic getting fans pumped up for the night’s game. There are also the Mavs championship banners and retired numbers hanging from the rafters.
During timeouts, the Dr Pepper Hoop Troop provides the crowd with free t-shirts by slinging them throughout the arena, and the Dallas Mavericks Drumline is a team of trained percussionists that beat their drums nonstop from the Budweiser Sound Stage on the second level of AAC. The Mavs have two mascots: Champ and Mavs Man, that entertain the crowd, but the most famously recognized entertainment during Mavs game are the Dallas Mavericks ManiAACs. The ManiAACs are an award-winning hip-hop dance troupe that have been a part of the Mavs game day atmosphere since the team moved from their old home, Reunion Arena.
The Dallas Mavericks organization also recently replaced the popular Mavs dancers with a more conservative troupe called Hype Team. As for the crowd, Mavs fans are also knowledgeable and at times get loud, but overall the atmosphere is a typical NBA type crowd.
American Airlines Center is in the Victory Park neighborhood in downtown Dallas, just a short walk from Dallas’ Historic West End. The West End area consists of a list of restaurants such as Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse, Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse, Gator’s, TGI Friday’s, Spaghetti Warehouse, Hard Rock Cafe, Dick’s Last Resort, and House of Blues. Besides restaurants, the area also has tourist attractions – the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas World Aquarium, and Holocaust Museum are all within the West End. In addition, Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas-Victory Park, in the heart of Victory Park, is an 8-screen, 700-seat luxury theater; this 44,000 square-foot cinema offers guests a luxury movie-going experience with its fully reclining leather seat auditoriums, an upscale lounge-style lobby space, and a gourmet menu with in-theater waiter service.
Just outside the south entrance of American Airlines Center is Victory Plaza. The plaza consists of Shooters and Cook Hall (located across the plaza inside the W Dallas Victory). Or, on the east side of the arena near the Lexus parking garage, there is L’Italiano Bistro Bar and Mio Nonno Trattoria. All these restaurants are good options, if you just want to hang out outside the arena. Also, the recent trend of craft brews and breweries continues in the area – just across the interstate from AAC is Community Beer Company. The Community Beer Company is closed on Monday and Tuesday, but there is also Deep Ellum Brewing Company, open seven days a week with brewery tours. Located in the historic and eponymous Deep Ellum section of Dallas, this brewery produces some of the locals’ favorite brews. The brewery tour gives you samples of their fantastic craft beer, so you can decide on which brew you’ll take home or buy in local restaurants.
Dallas has numerous lodging options around American Airlines Center, especially in the Market Center area (only 2 miles north of ACC). Some of the hotels to consider are the W Dallas Victory, Renaissance Dallas Hotel, Doubletree Market Center, Holiday Inn Dallas Market Center, and the Hilton Anatole.
Prior to the season being interrupted, the Dallas Mavericks ranked 2nd in average attendance with 20,061, behind only the Philadelphia 76ers. The loyal Mavs fans have always shown up at games, but the excitement of watching two of the youngest stars play together has brought fans in night after night to support the Mavericks. On Mavs gameday there are plenty of fans with Mavs gear on, seen throughout AAC; the crowd’s enthusiasm is very good and may even become deafening depending on the circumstances of the game or the opponent.
American Airlines Center is one of the better downtown venues when it comes to parking, with about 5,000 parking spaces available for guests. The parking lots open two hours prior to the start of a Mavericks game, and both cash and credit cards are accepted at American Airlines Center managed lots, with prices from $15 to $25. Also, while the Lexus Garage across from the box office is primarily reserved for season ticket holders, there may be limited space there for $25. And if the parking garages are not available, there is also parking all around the arena a short walk away – the best parking option is the popular West End area, where you can enjoy a pregame meal before a short walk to the arena. The best way to save money and time in attending a Mavericks game is to plan ahead using American Airlines Center’s parking website.
The most economical way to get to American Airlines Center is public transportation – the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and Trinity Rail Express (TRE) both provide regular service to Victory Station, which is located on the west side of American Airlines Center. These two transportation services can get you to the arena from anywhere in the Dallas area, including DFW airport and Fort Worth. In addition to their regular schedule, the TRE runs a special event train that leaves Victory Station 20 minutes after the end of the game, so you won’t have to miss the ending to catch the train. In addition, there are Uber pickup/drop-off locations on All Star Way and Olive Street, while taxis can best be found towards the W Hotel, at the corner of Olive Street and N. Houston.
What time the doors open at AAC depends on the event, but for the Mavericks, the Fan Shop, Jack Daniel’s Club, and the restaurant 1876 open two hours prior to game time. All other doors open 90 minutes prior to game time. There are four main entrances which provide quick entry into the building – the south side entrance is accessible from Victory Plaza, which is where pre-event activities take place, while the west side entrance caters to TRE and DART transportation. The Uber spot is on the north side of AAC, and the east entrances are primarily used by patrons from the parking garage, or those who need the box office; the American Airlines Center box office is located on the northeast corner of the arena.
The concourse inside the arena is well marked and spacious, and you’ll easily notice elevators providing access to the Platinum Club, suites, and upper level seating. The stairs inside American Airlines Center are in the corners of the building, and provide access between the levels, as do the elevators.
Return on Investment 4
The Dallas Mavericks offer a surprisingly inexpensive cost when it comes to single game tickets. The upper level seating cost can be as low as $10 per ticket, while the lower level, like most NBA venues, will range higher than the upper deck. The Mavs lower level seats start around $70, but can reach a cost of a couple of thousand dollars per ticket depending on the opponent.
Overall, the return on investment at American Airlines Center is above other NBA venues. The average ticket price is in the bottom half of the NBA at $107, but as mentioned above, single game tickets can be found for as low as $10. The high food and beverage prices are to be expected with the NBA experience, so the ROI really depends on what you want to spend on your game tickets and transportation.
AAC has been in operation for 2 decades, and the arena is still one of the cleanest and well-staffed arenas in all of sports. The mascots, Dr Pepper Hoop Troop, and the ManiAACs compliment the Mavs entertainment inside AAC. In addition, there is plenty of history of both the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars, such as banners hanging from the rafters and numerous trophy cases. The downtown arena also provides plenty of restaurant and lodging options, as well as public transportation from anywhere in the DFW area.
American Airlines Center is one of the finest sports venues in America and is in a great city. AAC is immaculate, the amenities are first class, and the experience overall is one of the best in the NBA – the Mavericks’ current team was headed to a playoff spot after having a losing season last year. The youth will continue to grow into the future, and the team will become a championship contender. Once the Mavs achieve this, American Airlines Center could become one of the best atmospheres in the NBA.