Addition Financial Arena – UCF Knights
Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
Addition Financial Arena 12777 Gemini Blvd N Orlando, FL 32816
Year Opened: 2007
Welcome to the Knightmare
The feeling one gets at Addition Financial Arena for college basketball equals that of a rising collegiate basketball powerhouse. While UCF isn’t exactly a school that fits that definition, its fan base more than helps that feeling by filling seats and raising decibel levels. While some may not look for that college basketball feel in central Florida, that may be a mistake, as UCF definitely has some of the markers one looks for when attending NCAA hoops action. Their impending move to the Big 12 has only added fuel to the fire.
Food & Beverage 4
The food at Addition Financial Arena is what one would typically expect at a sports arena – burgers, nachos, chips and cookies, soft drinks, etc. are all available at the various concession stands. However, the star is the BBQ booths around the arena; here you can indulge in a pulled pork sandwich ($8), pulled pork nachos ($8), or pulled pork or chicken sliders ($10). Smaller items like hot dogs ($4), soft pretzels ($4-$5), peanuts ($4), and more are also available throughout the arena. You can find concessions maps around the concourse as well, showing where you can find Flippers Pizza, Cuban Kitchen, Gemini Pub, and others in the arena.
Surprisingly, UCF’s basketball experience is on par with a lot of top-notch college basketball programs. When sitting in “The Dungeon” during a game, it is hard not to notice how close to the floor the seats are. Unlike some colleges where the seats are elevated or further away from the action, UCF’s seats seem to creep all the way to the floor, just steps away from the action. Even the upper deck seats give you a closer view than those at various other arenas. The student section in the end zone knows how to cheer and heckle with the best of them, and they fill in their seating rather quickly on game days. The UCF band and cheerleaders also help to pump up the crowd during games, adding to the college feel.
UCF may not be in the heart of Orlando, but there are many fun things to do immediately surrounding the campus, and the campus itself is packed with lodging, shopping, and restaurants. Almost every major restaurant chain you can think of is nearby, as well as a mall and several other large shopping districts. Visitors to the campus will also notice several smaller food venues around the arena on UCF’s campus. Also, during the holidays the area is decorated for Light Up UCF, where families can enjoy Christmas lights, ice skating, and more before and after the basketball game.
The passion of UCF Knights loyalists is palpable – you cannot help but feel the energy in the building. The closeness of the seats to the court also means the noise level is much higher inside Addition Financial Arena. The students chant along with the band and cheerleaders; their seating is perfectly located too, right behind the opponent’s bench and visitor seating area.
The arena is also a gathering place for alumni and former players. Surprisingly, there is also a very large contingent of longtime season ticket holders for UCF basketball. These fans have been with the team since its inception, and can tell you stories of the early years at the team’s old Education Arena, the former home of UCF hoops. In addition, this is generally a great place to bring kids, as UCF basketball remains family-friendly no matter the opponent. And as always, you can join in during the National Anthem, where all the fans replace the word “night” with a loud “KNIGHTS!”.
The college is right off Highway 417, which offers direct access to Orlando International Airport, the greater Walt Disney World area, I-4 to the north towards Daytona, Florida’s Turnpike, and the Beachline Expressway to Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. On campus, parking is actually rather plentiful, with various garages and parking lots in the immediate vicinity of Addition Financial Arena accessible for $5; parking passes are also available to purchase before games. While traffic can be a bit of a pest during bigger games, it generally flows rather easily and will empty out in due time.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets are not expensive, even for postseason games – seating starts at $20 and goes up to $55 for non-premium locations, while suites can run $125 or higher. You can get season ticket options for less than $99 as well, with season tickets for kids being half the price of adults. Add to that the low cost of parking ($5) and the generally mild pricing on food, and a night at UCF basketball will not break the bank, even for a bigger family.
The UCF fans in attendance usually are given some sort of giveaway at games, whether they are team posters or smaller knick-knacks. The team also throws out t-shirts into the stands every time the team hits a three-pointer.
Kids are also invited onto the court during game breaks to participate in fun games and activities to win additional prizes, as are other fans, and UCF’s mascot is typically seen walking around the arena, greeting fans, taunting visitors, and posing for photos whenever possible.
Lastly you won’t want to miss the 60 seconds of chaos at the end of the first half, where the fans go wild for the final 60 seconds, making for one loud arena.
Despite UCF having not achieved national prominence as a college basketball powerhouse, the fans at Addition Financial Arena make sure it feels like they have. They are always on their feet cheering for UCF as much as possible, and they are always welcoming to new fans and visitors alike. Being that the college is in Orlando makes the visit event that much more enjoyable as well, as the city itself, not to mention the surrounding area, are both beautiful year-round and full of things to see and do.