College Center Park - UT Arlington Mavericks
Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00
College Center Park
University of Texas at Arlington
600 South Center St
Arlington, TX 76019
Year Opened: 2012
The Forgotten Mavericks
The University of Texas at Arlington moved from Junior College status to university status in 1959. In 1963 UTA became a founding member of the Southland Conference before eventually settling in the Western Athletic Conference. Along the way, in 1971, UTA adopted the team name Mavericks, actually before the NBA team in Dallas would find themselves with the same name. Unfortunately for UTA, in an extremely crowded sports landscape in the DFW Metroplex, the UT Arlington Mavericks seem to have been forgotten. UTA is a large, public university that was established in 1895 and has a current enrollment of approximately 46,000 students.
Home for the UT Arlington Mavericks is the College Park Center. Located on campus, the College Park Center looks brand new even after a decade of use. Before College Park Center, the Mavericks played on campus at the 3,000 seat Texas Hall. The move to College Park Center shows an intent on UTA to invest in their athletics and basketball program.
Food & Beverage 4
The concession scene at College Park Center is surprisingly simple and strong. Concessions are run by Ted E’s Grill. All of the expected items are available including nachos, hot dogs, popcorn, chicken fingers, wings, and cheeseburgers. What takes the concessions to the next level are BBQ items like brisket and pulled pork as well as specialty burgers. Pepsi products are the soft drink of choice. The beer selection offers both micro and macro brews including Michelob Ultra, Bud Light, Dos Equis as well as Shiner, Ellum IPA and Dallas Blonde.
College Park Center is located on the campus of UT Arlington and is a strong, modern facility. The exterior of the building is attractive with the use of light and brown brick with plenty of glass. The Moritz Plaza on the north side of the building, between Spaniolo and Center Streets is the perfect spot to meet friends before the game or just hang out and enjoy some nice weather. Upon entry, fans will head right into the main concourse, which is bright and clean and colourful. The attention to detail at College Park Center is strong and there is no exposed concrete. The southwest corner of the building has a number of plaques outlining UTA Mavericks accomplishments for both teams and individuals. The number of baseball players who ended up in the pros is impressive, including Mark Lowe, Hunter Pence and John Lackey. Upon entering the seating bowl, fans will find a two tiered seating arrangement with plastic blue seats in a hexagonal configuration. The upper level is draped off for Mavericks games to make the arena feel more intimate. The court runs from south to north and the east side is the perfect spot for that center court logo picture. Behind the seating bowl on the east side is the Maverick Hospitality Suite which can be rented for larger, catered gatherings. The four-sided videoboard is crystal clear and has smaller, rectangular LED scoreboards above each larger side. There is an LED ribbon board encircling the arena on the upper deck fascia. Above the east seating area hang banners depicting basketball accomplishments and the three retired numbers for Marquez Haynes, Willie Brand and Rebekah Vanduk. The Mavericks have not had a great deal of success making a postseason tournament only six times and making the NCAA Tournament only once.
The gameday production is what one would expect from a college basketball game. The cheerleaders attempt to fire up the crowd and the band, which sits in the south end, has a strong presence. The game is not over produced and there is strong cohesion between the band and the music played over the sound system. The game is a little more traditional and there is no music during the play. The mascot, Blaze, can be found during select games.
The campus of University of Texas at Arlington is located in the College Park District. There are a few spots fans may want to stop for pre or post game food or drink. Pie Five Pizza, New York Eats, Hurtado BBQ and Babe’s Chicken Dinner House are all very close. Fans may want to head northeast, where the Cowboys and Rangers stadiums can be found, to hit Texas Live, which has a number of eating establishments. The Arlington Museum of Art and Arlington Music Hall are just north of the university for fans wishing for some extra culture. The sports scene in Arlington is very crowded with the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium and Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field and other athletic events at Choctaw Stadium. The Dallas Wings of the WNBA also play at College Park Center and there are other athletic teams that UT Arlington fields. Of course, fans can head to Dallas or Fort Worth for other entertainment options. For fans wishing to stay in Arlignton, the Courtyard Dallas/Arlington may be a good choice.
The UT Arlington Mavericks attract approximately 1,600 fans per game. In a 7,000 seat venue, the lack of fans is noticeable and detrimental. Of those 1,600 fans, many travel from visiting schools. There is little student presence at UTA games. It is unclear if increased success would bring in significantly more fans, but as of this moment the Mavericks, who play in a terrific facility, are the forgotten item in a very crowded DTW sports landscape.
College Park Center is located on the campus of UT Arlington and is south of I-30. There will be some traversing of the city to get to the arena, but it is not difficult and traffic is usually not an issue. There is not really any public transit in Arlington, so fans are required to use the car to get in and out. There are parking garages around campus, so finding a spot should not be difficult and parking can be prepaid. Getting around the arena is not difficult and the washroom facilities are more than adequate for the number of fans in attendance. UTA currently has a clear bag policy in effect. With the security policies and covid policies in constant flux across sports, Stadium Journey highly recommends consulting the UT-Arlington Mavericks and College Park Center websites for the most up to date list of prohibited items and security procedures.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets for a Mavericks game can be found for as low as $8 and they go up to $20. There will be a cost to park the car and concession items are about what one would expect, price-wise. The Mavericks do what they can to put a good gameday package together, but a lack of student presence and overall fan support puts the return at a low point. Increased fan support to make it a Mavericks game a more fun experience, will shoot this score up very quickly.
An extra mark for the Mavericks hand sign, similar to a hang loose Hawaiian sign, which gives the Mavericks a bit of an identity. The cheerleaders can be found using the sign often.
An extra mark for UT-Arlington using the Mavericks name, even before the Dallas Mavericks.
Taking in a UT Arlington Mavericks game will not break the bank and it may end up being a hidden gem of an experience. Hopefully more people notice the Mavericks, specifically the students, and make the Mavericks experience a much stronger one.