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  • Richie Devotie

Ellis T. Johnson Arena – Morehead State Eagles


Photos by Jonathan Martin, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

Ellis T. Johnson Arena 150 University Blvd Morehead, KY 40351


Morehead State Eagles website

Ellis T. Johnson Arena website


Year Opened: 1981

Capacity: 6,500

 

More From Morehead State

Ellis T. Johnson Arena is home to the Morehead State men’s and women’s basketball teams and has been since 1981. The arena seats 6,500. Johnson Arena is named for the former Morehead State athletic director and coach.


Morehead State is located about one hour from Lexington, Kentucky. The university plays in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). Since opening, Johnson Arena has also hosted several national music and comedy acts such as Alabama, David Letterman, Gary Allen, the Newsboys, M.C. Hammer, the Goo Goo Dolls, Alan Jackson, Dashboard Confessional, Jeff Foxworthy, and Tim McGraw.


Food & Beverage 3

The concessions at Johnson Arena lack variety, but you can find the standard stadium food. Drinks are available for just $2.25 for Pepsi products. Tea, coffee, and hot chocolate are also available in case you need to warm up on a cold winter’s night. They also offer pretzels, slices of pizza, nachos ($3.50), and hot dogs. The low prices help to make up for the lack of different options.


Atmosphere 3

The atmosphere can be electrifying at times, but can also be dead silent at others. There isn’t a bad seat at Johnson Arena, so you have a good view of the court no matter where you sit. The dance team and the cheerleaders do a great job of keeping the crowd entertained. There is not much in the way of entertainment during time outs, although during my recent visit there was one instance where the kids in attendance came on the floor and did the chicken dance.


Neighborhood 3

Johnson Arena is located in Morehead, Kentucky. Morehead has a small college-town feel to it. The town has ample places to eat, but hardly any that are near the arena. The best option is to go to the Buffalo Wild Wings before game time. It sponsors Morehead State Athletics. There are no eating choices within walking distance of the arena. Cave Run Lake, on the northern edge of the Daniel Boone National Forest, is a good place to hike if the weather is favorable while you’re in the area.


Fans 4

While the crowd might be small in size, it makes up for it with intensity. The small crowd is very much in the game from start to finish. Fans will show their disagreement with the referees without hesitation. There are a few games on the schedule where you can expect a large turnout. Eastern Kentucky and Murray State are two of Morehead State’s biggest rivals.


Access 5

The arena is very comfortable and easy to navigate. The arena is also handicap accessible with ramps leading into Johnson Arena. There is no public transportation in Morehead, so you will need to drive to get to the game.

Parking is very easy at Johnson Arena. There are two areas where you can park. Parking is only $5.


Return on Investment 5

Tickets to a Morehead State basketball game are very affordable and offer a good return for your money. Ticket prices range anywhere from $8 to $15 for single-game admission. Season tickets range anywhere from $50 to $270.


Extras 2

One bonus point for the charming valley location. The university is located a three-mile pass away from the interstate, so the actual valley containing the town is separated from the big city outlet and interstate buzz. Driving in around dusk produces mental images seen in films set in quiet 1960s towns and can be one of the highlights of the trip.


One bonus point for the OVC connection, which has a history of producing respectable NCAA tournament teams. The Eagles upset Louisville in the first round of the 2011 NCAA tournament in their 7th appearance. Often forgotten about in the regular season, the OVC champion regularly makes its presence felt in the post-season tournament.


Final Thoughts

If you love NCAA basketball, then Morehead State offers a good experience. You will receive a good return on your money and the experience would make the perfect date night. I highly recommend checking out Johnson Arena when Morehead State has a home game.

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