Curry Arena - Queens University of Charlotte Royals
Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
Curry Arena 1900 Selwyn Ave Charlotte, NC 28274
Year Opened: 2011 Capacity: 2,500
Curry Arena at the Levine Center – Queens University of Charlotte Royals
A growing trend in college athletics as of late has been the number of NCAA Division-II programs making the jump to Division-I. One of the newest members to D-I is Queens University of Charlotte. The Royals are no stranger to success on the hardwood, having earned 15 NCAA Division-II Tournament appearances over almost the past three decades, while advancing to two Final Fours, most recently in 2018.
While almost all programs go through a learning curve when jumping levels, Queens has seemingly shortened that curve, as they have been highly competitive as the newest member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Food & Beverage 4
Concessions at Curry Arena provide many choices at very reasonable prices. Arena staples such as hot dogs, nachos, and popcorn are available, as are soft pretzels, peanuts, and chips, as well as a wide selection of candy and snacks. An additional touch is the more than half-dozen powdered popcorn toppings to customize your kernels a bit. Beverage selections can be made from Coke products, Powerade, and bottled water. Queens University chooses not to sell alcohol at their games.
One drawback from the concessions is there is only one stand, so lines can get backed up a bit. With its proximity to the court, though, fans can keep up with the action while they wait.
Curry Arena is part of the Levine Center that also houses Queens University’s student recreation-wellness center, along with being home to the school’s basketball, volleyball, and wrestling programs.
Greek columns majestically frame the front entrance of the Levine Center, and perfectly compliment the bronze statue of the school’s lion mascot. Fans enter the main lobby and pass into Curry Arena at the top of the seating area. Large walls at each end of the court keep most fans on their side of the court.
Except for about 40 courtside seats, seating in Curry Arena is general admission. Seats in the lower level of the bleachers do have seat backs. There are small sections of bleachers at each end of the court, but there are typically reserved for cheerleaders and groups who are being featured during the game.
Even though Queens University does not have a pep band, there is an in-house DJ who is very active. While pep bands add to the college basketball atmosphere, the DJ’s involvement gives the game at Queens an NBA feel to it. NCAA rules prohibit music being played while the ball is in play, but the DJ pushes the envelope and takes advantage of stoppages in play to sneak in a few bars of music – it is not overdone and pairs nicely with dead ball situations.
One oddity of the seating is the bleachers come out 10-15 feet short of the sidelines, which creates a bit of an awkward space between the first row of bleachers and the courtside seats.
Queens University sits among the willow-oak lined roadway of the prestigious Queens Road. Nestled amongst the well-manicured homes of Myers Park, the Queens campus seamlessly fits in with its neighbors.
While restaurants do not immediately surround the Queens campus, just a mile up the road is a cluster of local eats, including JJ’s Red Hots, Lebowski’s Neighborhood Grille, and Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. Another cluster of restaurants can be found just over a mile from campus on nearby Providence Road.
Even though the Myers Park neighborhood lends itself more to bed & breakfast stays than traditional hotels, nearby South McDowell Street has several quality hotels at reasonable rates. These hotels are within walking distance of several of the Charlotte food and entertainment attractions.
Even during the winter months, Charlotte has something for almost every sports fan. The NASCAR Hall of Fame, in the heart of uptown Charlotte, is considered the crown jewel of the city’s tourist attractions. Charlotte is also a haven for professional and collegiate sports – the Charlotte Hornets,Carolina Panthers, and Charlotte FC all play in this area, while just outside of uptown is Bojangles Center, home of the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. Finally, if talking North Carolina sports, it must include college basketball; Charlotte, Davidson, and Winthrop all play within 30 minutes of Queens University’s campus.
A quick look at the attendance numbers at Queens University basketball games can be a bit deceptive. Considering Queens has an enrolment of just under 1,500 students, their attendance numbers do not accurately reflect the support the Royals receive.
Given the walkability of the surrounding neighborhood, and an elementary school directly next door, the Royals get a lot of support from their neighbors. Community groups are often a part of the pre-game and halftime entertainment, which helps increase the size of the crowds.
At a capacity of 2,500, it helps that Curry Arena is not an oversized gymnasium, that can feel cavernous with smaller attendance numbers.
I-85 and I-77 both run through Charlotte and provide access to the Queens University campus via surface streets. Given its location within the city, in a residential neighborhood, typical traffic congestion can make mid-week games a bit challenging, but it is not flat-out gridlock.
Free parking is available in the North Deck parking garage, and provides the easiest access point into the arena. Try to park as far forward in the garage as possible, or at least exit opposite the entrance – this prevents having to walk around the building to get to the front of the arena.
Curry Arena is part of the Levine Center building, so don’t let the name on the front fool you! Fans are greeted by a large, bronze statue of the school’s lion mascot as they make their way to the entrance. Once in the building, split to either side of the reception area to access the court. Seating will be immediately in front of you, or follow either of the long hallways to access the bleachers on the opposite side of the court, if you are sitting behind the benches.
Return on Investment 5
Frequently one of the biggest barriers for families attending sporting events together is simply the cost. After paying for parking, admission, and concessions, it can set a family back a couple of hundred dollars. Queens University offers all the above at little to no cost. With free parking, tickets starting at $5 for children and $10 for adults, and a wide variety of concessions options at not your typical concession stand prices, families can attend at a fraction of the price it might cost at larger venues.
The main lobby of the Levine Center houses the Queens University bookstore and has a selection of school apparel at very reasonable prices.
The second floor of the Levine Center features an extensive look at the university’s history of athletic accomplishments and honors from their Division-II days. Trophy cases filled with accolades, trophies, and memorabilia, championship banners, a “Wall of Champions,” and support pillars noting a long list of individual accomplishments can be found all around the second floor.
Queens University mascot Rex, a cartoonish lion, is rather entertaining to watch. Rex is never shy about playfully mocking the opponent's miscues. Even though he typically sticks to the sidelines, Rex is quick to stop for a selfie or engage with fans as he makes his way around the court.
Making the jump from NCAA Division-II to Division-I can come with a bit of growing pains as programs work to establish themselves in their new conference. Queens University has done a good job at making that transition as smooth as possible. While their arena does have some quirks and oddities, it is not enough to negatively impact the enjoyability of a game at Curry Arena.