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  • Writer's pictureAndrei Ojeda

Galen Center – USC Trojans

Photos by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Galen Center 3400 S. Figueroa at Jefferson Los Angeles, CA 90089

Year Opened: 2006

Capacity: 10,258


The Conquest of Los Angeles

After years of calling the now-demolished L.A. Sports Arena home, The Galen Center would open on November 16, 2006. With the opening of a new athletic facility that the basketball program could finally call its own, this would be the beginning of a new era of USC basketball.

The Men of Troy hoopsters have made the NCAA Tournament six times during this span. Since coach Andy Enfield arrived from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2013, the Trojans have had 3 winning seasons. The 2019-20 edition is off to a hot start and is making a serious case for Pac-12 supremacy.

Food & Beverage 3

The dining selection is nothing beyond your basic arena fare, hot dogs, burgers, to Mexican. Here’s a breakdown of what’s available: Dogs, Burgers, and More: jumbo dogs, footlong, mac & cheese, taco dogs, cheeseburgers, and crispy/grilled chicken sandwiches. Mexican food includes burritos, soft shell tacos, and nachos supreme. Coke products are available and include a plastic souvenir cup. The snack options include bagged chips, candy, and soft pretzels.

Atmosphere 3

The Trojans have an in-house DJ that does a great job getting fans pumped up. If his voice sounds familiar to those in Southern California, that’s because the Resident DJ, Jamal McCoy, aka DJ Malski has collaborated with several Southern California radio stations, most notably LA’s 102.3 KJLH. In addition to sharing the stage with well-renowned acts such as Kanye West and Stevie Wonder, to name a few, he is also the in-house DJ for the WNBA’s LA Sparks.

He can also be seen roving the sidelines during USC Football and Rams games. Football is still king at USC. Even with an exciting team on the court that is a serious Pac-12 contender the Trojan hoopsters still have a hard time drawing huge crowds in. The fans that have shown up have been a vocal bunch. During evening games, the curtains in the north end of the Galen Center are opened, giving fans, particularly those on the upper level a nice view of the Downtown L.A. skyline.

Neighborhood 3

Over the years, the surrounding neighborhood on campus has not been the safest. Though I still would not recommend a nightly walk along Figueroa Street the scene along what is known as The Figueroa Corridor has brought new life along that particular stretch of Figueroa, lined with townhouses and various eateries, including The Lab Gastropub, located next door to the Galen Center.

One of the more popular choices among USC students is La Taquiza, with their claim to fame being the mulita, two handmade tortillas with cheese, meat, and guacamole. Aside from the standard food chains along the Corridor and not far from campus Figueroa and Adams is Dirt Dog. Open as late as 11 PM to 1 AMits the line can be long. My favorite is the Pastrami Dog.

Not far from the arena is Exposition Park, home to the Coliseum, where the football team plays its home games. The Natural History Museum, the California African American Museum, and the California ScienCenter are also located inside the park. To be able to visit all of the museums and fully take in the experience, you would probably need two days. If you’re limited on time, however, you may just want to visit the California ScienCenter, home to the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Fans 3

No one will ever compare the fan experience here to that of Duke’s Cameron Crazies. Trojan fans do not deny the fact that football is the featured sport on campus. While there is plenty of truth to that, when Galen Center is packed, mostly against rival UCLA, the fans can provide a daunting presence. Unfortunately, the stands are rarely ever packed. With coach Andy Enfield putting together one of the more exciting teams since his arrival, this current Trojan team is making a serious bid for a Pac-12 title and a run toward March Madness.

Access 4

Located on the corner of Figueroa and Jefferson Streets, with easy access to the 110 or 10 freeways, Galen Center is easily accessible. Depending on which day of the week and what time the game is, chances are you will be dealing with the usual LA traffic. Should you decide to use public transit rather than drive, the MTA’s Metro Expo Line has a station conveniently located across the street from The Galen Center.

Return on Investment 3

With tickets starting at $20, and $50 for games against Arizona and UCLA (add $5 if purchased the day of the game at the ticket office), you can still search third-party sites and pay below face value. Advanced planning is not necessary should you decide to catch a game here on a whim.

Extras 4

Perhaps its signature feature has to be the large windows located on the north end of the arena. Depending on what time of day the game is played, the windows are covered with a large curtain to avoid creating glare during games, particularly afternoon games. If the curtains are opened, fans are treated to sweeping views of the downtown LA skyline along with the distant San Gabriel Mountains.

In the lower concourse fans can view the National Title trophy’s on display from each sport, as well as a timeline of some of the school’s greatest sports moments. Also, on the street level concourse is a bust of Louis Galen, who the arena is named after. Next to the bust on the wall is a portrait of Louis and Helene Galen. Louis Galen was more than generous in helping provide his alma mater with, over $50 million for the new arena.

Final Thoughts

Though USC basketball’s play has raised the level of excitement, home games are still a tough draw here in Los Angeles, a city with a plethora of entertainment options. L.A. fans can be some of the toughest to entertain when a team doesn’t have a long-standing tradition of winning excellence.

The Galen Center is now in its 14th season of operation. USC has made it to the NCAA Tournament a respectable six times during that span. They are expected to make another run to the Tourney. With former Trojans OJ Mayo, DeMar DeRozan, Taj Gibson, and Nick Young having made their way through the NBA, USC has proved it does have the potential to recruit good talent. For now, attending a USC basketball game still requires little to no planning, a fact even the most devout Trojan hoops follower will admit.

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