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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Silvio O. Conte Forum – Boston College Eagles Basketball

Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

Silvio O. Conte Forum 2601 Beacon St. Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Year Opened: 1988

Capacity: 8,606


Greater Heights

The Silvio O. Conte Forum is the on-campus home of the Boston College men’s and women’s basketball and hockey teams. The facility was named for Boston College alumnus and the United States congressmen Silvio O. Conte. Built perpendicular to Alumni Stadium, Conte Forum is located on the site of the previous home of the Eagles hockey teams, McHugh Forum.

The Boston College Eagles have been a member of the ACC since 2005, having previously played as a founding member of the Big East Conference. Varsity basketball has been played at BC since 1904. Over their history, the Eagles have qualified for the NCAA tournament 18 times, most recently in 2009. Boston College has advanced as far as the Elite Eight three times in their history (1967, 1982 and 1994). 23 former Eagles have played in the NBA.

Food & Beverage 3

The menu at Conte Forum does not stray far from your arena basics, but it does offer some good value for hungry Eagles fans.

Stands are located on either side of the arena, organized by their contents. Stands feature hot dogs or Papa Gino’s pizzas. Snack offerings include pretzels, cotton candy, apple slices, veggies with dip, candy, and assorted ice cream treats. Portable stands scattered around the concourse expand the menu with chicken tenders, BBQ sandwiches, and gourmet popcorn. If looking to feel the family while visiting Conte Forum, combo meals consisting of four hot dogs and two sodas, or two pizzas and two sodas are sold for $16.

New for the 2018-19 season is a craft beer stand which sells Budweiser, Bud Light, Sam Adams, UFO, and Harpoon IPA. Coca-Cola products are featured, both in a fountain and bottled varieties.

There are souvenir stands located on either sideline which sell a good variety of Boston College memorabilia. The Eagles’ mascot, Baldwin, is featured here.

Atmosphere 3

The atmosphere at Conte Forum is entirely dependent on the current fortunes of the basketball team. When a marquee ACC opponent such as Duke or North Carolina visits, the building fills to capacity and the atmosphere is electric. Otherwise, Conte Forum is only half-full, and the atmosphere is decidedly less exciting.

The intimate seating of Conte Forum ensures that fans are right on top of the action. When the building is full, it can get really loud here. Unfortunately, when a marquee opponent is visiting Boston College, it is likely to get just as loud for the visitors as for the home team.

All the elements fans have come to expect at a big-time college basketball venue can be found at Conte Forum. Slick, well-produced video montages and choreographed production pieces are intertwined with more traditional aspects including the BC pep band, cheerleaders and dance team. Contests are held during play stoppages for the younger fans in attendance. While the student section fills up sections behind both baskets, they aren’t the most vocal group you will come across.

When visiting Conte Forum, be sure to take a walk around the arena and check out the history on display all around. Banners honoring tournament teams and legendary players hang from the rafters. The Varsity Club, Boston College’s Hall of Fame, is located on the west end of the arena, with displays of Eagle memorabilia located in several trophy cases on the east end. Displays honoring Eagles who have moved on to the NBA, NHL, and WNBA line concourse walls.

Neighborhood 4

The Boston College campus is located in the Chestnut Hill section of the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, about six miles west of downtown Boston. Newton is a very well-to-do town which frequently ranks near the top of any “best place to live in America” list. The campus is fairly self-contained, but there are several areas near campus where you can shop or eat, several of which are within walking distance of the campus.

In the immediate vicinity of Boston College, your best bet is to head to Cleveland Circle, about a 15-minute walk from the BC campus, where you will find, among other places, Eagle’s Deli, which has been featured on several Travel Channel shows for its massive hamburger challenges. There’s no wonder that it remains a favorite of Boston College students.

Fans 3

Attendance at Eagles games fluctuates wildly depending on the opponent. When a ranked opponent comes to town, the building fills to the rafters. Otherwise, the team struggles to fill the arena even halfway. Attendance at Eagles games has risen in recent seasons, but the average of 5,100 is less than half of the ACC average. It’s not unusual to see visiting fans outnumber home fans at Conte Forum.

Access 4

Despite its location in the suburbs, the neighborhood around Boston College shares many of the same access issues as does most of Greater Boston. Anyone who has tried to navigate the crowded, crooked streets of the city can tell you how difficult driving in and around the area can be. If you are visiting from out of town, your best bet is to find a copilot who knows their way around town.

Most native Bostonians will tell you that the best method for getting around Boston is to take public transportation, known in these parts as the “T.” The Boston College campus is well-served by public transportation. The Green Line’s B train terminus is located on Commonwealth Ave., right across the street from the Boston College campus. The Green Line’s C train stops at Cleveland Circle, a 15-minute walk from campus. The Green Line’s D train stops at Reservoir Station and Chestnut Hill, both within a 15-minute walk from campus. Check out the MBTA website for more details. Boston College operates free shuttle buses that pick up riders from points around town, including these T stops. The complete shuttle schedule can be viewed here.

Boston College’s suburban location means most fans will drive to campus. If driving from the north or south, take Interstate 95 (also known as Rte. 128) to exit 24 (Rte. 30-Commonwealth Avenue). Follow this road about 5 miles, and you will find the Boston College campus on your left. If driving from the west, take Interstate 90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) to exit 17. Follow Center Street to Commonwealth Avenue, and follow that for a mile and a half to the BC campus. The area around Boston College is quite scenic, with a suburban feel, but traffic can be very heavy at times.

Once arriving on campus, there are two parking garages located a short walk from the arena (more information is available here). Fans can enter Conte Forum on either side of the arena. The seating bowl is divided into a lower level, consisting of individual seats, and an upper level, consisting of bleachers. Sightlines are excellent throughout the building. There is a single concourse that circles the building. When a large crowd is present, this concourse can get crowded, but navigating Conte Forum is generally pretty easy.

Return on Investment 4

Boston College utilizes variable pricing for their home games at the Conte Forum, with price levels determined by the opposition and day of the week of any particular game. Tickets range in price by level and location. Prices for Eagles basketball games start at ten dollars, with weekend games topping out at $50. While Boston College tickets are pricier than other local schools, BC’s membership in the ACC means that top-ranked opponents visit Chestnut Hill regularly.

Parking at Boston College basketball games is free of charge. Concessions are priced similarly to other minor league and college venues in the area. Going to a game at Conte Forum provides Boston basketball fans with an opportunity to see some of the country’s best college basketball teams at affordable prices.

Extras 3

The sense of history at Conte Forum earns the venue extra points. On one end of the arena is the Varsity Club, Boston College’s Hall of Fame. Listed here are the names of over 400 of the finest student-athletes to represent Boston College in their 31 intercollegiate sports. Fans will be sure to find many familiar names from the NBA, NHL, and NFL.

On the other end of the arena are several trophy cases filled with mementos from Boston College’s long and storied athletic tradition. Banners honoring Eagles teams’ accomplishments in basketball and hockey hang throughout the arena, both from the rafters and along the concourse. Pictures of every BC alum to play in the NBA and WNBA are featured on a display along the concourse.

A final extra point is awarded for the picturesque Boston College campus. If visiting in the fall or spring, take some extra time to explore the sights. Downtown Boston and all its attractions are only a short subway ride away.

Final Thoughts

The Conte Forum is definitely a product of the time it was built. Nonetheless, it is a solid place at which to catch some quality college basketball. Its intimate seating bowl ensures excellent vantage points throughout the facility, and when the building is full, it can get pretty loud here. There are not many places in New England where local hoops fans can catch top national teams, and with Boston College’s membership in the ACC, ranked teams visit Chestnut Hill regularly.

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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