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  • Writer's pictureAaron S. Terry

Greensboro Coliseum - Carolina Cobras

Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

Greensboro Coliseum 1921 W Gate City Blvd Greensboro, NC 27403

Year Opened: 1959

Capacity: 23,000


Third Time’s the Charm

The southeastern United States has seen a resurgence of indoor football of late, with several new teams being created in the past couple of years in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The Carolina Cobras are one such team, founded in 2018 as part of the National Arena League – this is Greensboro’s third try at indoor football, having had two prior teams that each folded after only two seasons (the Greensboro Prowlers of 2002-03 and the Greensboro Revolution of 2006-07).

The Greensboro Coliseum Complex opened in 1959, and was once one of the largest venues in the South, with a capacity of over 23,000. The venue has been expanded and renovated multiples times in the past several decades, however, and is now a sprawling complex that consists of multiple locations for sporting events – one of the conference areas inside the complex is occasionally used for roller derby (as well as the odd male review), while the fieldhouse outside the main complex is home to the Greensboro Swarm of the NBA’s G League. Besides hosting the Carolina Cobras, the main arena inside the complex is also used by UNCG’s men’s basketball team, as well as for ACC basketball tournaments and sometimes NCAA tournament games.

Food & Beverage 4

Greensboro Coliseum does not have a huge variety of food and beverage options at its concessions stands, but it has more than enough to get you by for a couple of hours. The biggest plus is the full-size bar inside the concourse, which has plenty of tables to sit at, but also a “drinking ledge” overlooking the action, so you can watch the Carolina Cobras while you sip your adult beverage.

Food options here include basics such as burgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders and chicken sandwiches, pretzels, nachos, popcorn and kettle corn, peanuts, fries, chips, glazed nuts, packaged candy, cotton candy, and funnel cake. Prices are on the moderate end, with a burger and fries costing $8.50, and a hot dog costing $4.

Drink selections include coffee, bottled water, bottled or fountain soda (Pepsi products), smoothies, daiquiris, and beer, wine, or liquor. Coffee runs $2.50, soda and bottled water start at $4, and beer and wine start at $8, with liquor starting at $10. The best deal in terms of drinks is the refillable soda for $8.

Atmosphere 4

Greensboro Coliseum provides a great atmosphere for arena football, with lots of entertainment and giveaways for fans during breaks in the action (although the lack of a mascot is conspicuous). The staff puts on the typical fan contests such as tricycle races, and free t-shirts are tossed out at multiple points during the game. League rules differ on whether balls that go into the stands can be kept, but in the National Arena League fans in the end zone are asked to trade them in for a team-themed ball, while fans on the sidelines can keep them.

Unlike other indoor football stadiums, some of which are pretty low-key, Greensboro Coliseum boasts a 4-way scoreboard above the field which shows replays of key moments in the game. There is also a lot of crowd noise, which adds to the fun atmosphere even though the arena is not sold out; in fact you can see black curtains behind the fans in the upper deck, blocking out all but the first three rows on that level. But even if you sit up there, the sightlines are great because all the seats are so close to the action, and all the seats are plush chair backs, so you can watch in comfort all game long.

Neighborhood 4

Greensboro Coliseum is near UNCG’s campus, so there are some nice restaurants in the area, but also a lot of fast food and other eateries that cater to students. To the south are an aquatic center and an amphitheater, and there are numerous parks and green spaces a little further out. Stamey’s Barbecue is across Lee Street from the coliseum, and is a great choice for before or after the game, especially if you are new to Carolina and need to taste our version of the classic. Or if you are looking for something more upscale, you can find places a few blocks away such as Hops Burger Bar or Scrambled Southern Diner.

While Greensboro, NC is not a huge city by any stretch, there are plenty of historic sites and other attractions in the area if you plan to be in town for the day or for the weekend. The most popular site is probably the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, which commemorates the sit-ins that occurred here in Greensboro in the 1960s – these sit-ins were actually some of the most influential and significant protests of the entire Civil Rights movement. You can also visit the Greensboro Science Center, which includes an aquarium, zoo, and hands-on activities for the kids. Or, if you are a military history buff (or aspire to be), you can visit Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, and learn about Nathaniel Greene’s actions during the Revolutionary War; this museum does a great job teaching visitors about some lesser-known battles that actually had a huge impact on the outcome of the war.

Fans 2

While there are lots of empty seats right now at a typical Carolina Cobras game, the team can be forgiven since they are almost brand new – given the fun atmosphere in the arena, the team is sure to grow its fan base over time; perhaps this iteration of indoor football in Greensboro will prove to have some staying power.

The best place to sit inside the Greensboro Coliseum during a Cobras game is in the upper deck right behind the goal posts – this represents your best chance to catch a game ball, as most of the extra point tries wind up there.

Access 5

Getting to the Greensboro Coliseum Complex is very easy, as the venue is just a few miles off the freeway using exit 219 off I-40. There is a massive parking lot around the facility where you can park for $10, and there will be plenty of space since the arena does not sell out during Cobras games.

Once you get inside the complex, there is plenty of room to move around, and no lines at the concessions or bathrooms (again due to the small crowd size) – the only downside to this is that some of the concessions stands might close early due to lack of sales. You might have to stand in line at the fan shop, however, as fan gear is sometimes in high demand, especially when the team runs sales promotions on Carolina Cobras items.

Return on Investment 4

Single game tickets to Carolina Cobras games at Greensboro Coliseum start around $14, although the team sometimes does have buy-one-get-one-free sales. Considering the experience you get, this is a fair price, and will be especially worthwhile if you end up taking home a game ball or free t-shirt.

Extras 4

While the lack of a mascot is disappointing, the staff more than makes up for it with the entertainment and giveaways offered. You will see the Carolina Cobras cheerleaders/dance teams perform several times during the game, and at half time the staff will bring in such entertainers as the “Disc Dogs,” which consists of a woman tossing frisbees to various dogs, who make amazing leaps and catches from end zone to end zone – the Disc Dogs regularly perform for the military.

The free t-shirts are also a plus, as is the chance to catch a game ball; even if you have to trade it in for a team ball, that is still an awesome souvenir to take home. The Cobras also give away free game programs, which some professional sports charge for.

Final Thoughts

Arena football is a lot of fun to watch because the games are generally so high scoring, and seeing a game at a really nice facility like Greensboro Coliseum makes it even more enjoyable, with the comfortable seats, nice sight lines, and pleasant atmosphere. Take advantage if you have the opportunity, and get your football fix in during that long drought between February and August.


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