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  • Connor Comeau

Marriott Center – BYU Cougars



Photos by Connor Comeau, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71

Marriott Center 701 East University Parkway Provo, UT 84604

BYU Cougars website

Marriott Center website


Year Opened: 1964

Capacity: 63,470

 

Rise And Shout

Since 1971, the BYU Cougars have played their home basketball games at the Marriott Center. Since the team moved into the facility, it has undergone many renovations, with the most recent in 2015. After those renovations, the school added the brand new Marriott Center annex in February 2017, complete with a practice court, a strength and conditioning center and team lounge just to name a few things.

The Cougars have been part of the West Coast Conference since 2011 and have had great success since joining the conference, making either the NCAA or NIT tournament in each of the seven seasons they have been in the conference. Ever since then, the basketball program has enjoyed great success and the level of fan excitement continues to grow. The upgrades that were made to the arena have had a big impact.

Food & Beverage 4

Prices for food and drinks at the Marriott Center are right around the price you would pay for stadium food. But what the food lacks in price more than makes up for in quality.

One of the concessions stands you will see while traveling around the concourse is for BYU Signature Concessions. Some of the items you will find here include BYU Creamery ice cream, with flavors such as Cookies & Cream, Graham Canyon, Roasted Almond Fudge and Rose’s Snickerdoodle, with all flavors costing $4. Other items include the BYU Brownie ($2) and Cougar Crunch ($6). The signature item here is a giant gourmet sandwich ($9), with your choice of either Turkey on Wheat or Ham on Rye.

BYU recently made the switch to Pepsi, so it will be all Pepsi products if you’re ever attending a game, with a bottled soda costing $4. An important note: BYU is an LDS campus, so that means there is no alcohol served on school grounds, including at sporting events.

Atmosphere 4

With BYU on the rise in the West Coast Conference, game day on campus has become an even bigger deal.

On the outside, the Marriott Center looks like a typical arena built in the 1970’s. But once you get past the concourse and into the arena itself, it’s a completely different experience. The renovations in 2012 and 2015 added prime chair seating to the lower bowl, a new sound system and new video boards, which makes the fan experience that much more enjoyable. At a capacity of 19,000, BYU has the largest arena in terms of capacity in the West Conference Conference. Attendance varies from game to game, but for the most part the arena is either full or close to full on game day.

Neighborhood 4

The arena itself is on the northern fringe of campus, just about kitty-corner from LaVell Edwards Stadium. And while it is located on the campus itself, it sits along University Parkway, a major road that leads from the arena, through downtown Provo, all the way to Interstate 15.

If you are coming from out of town, be advised that there are few, if any, bars located in the city. BYU is an LDS campus, and alcohol is not served and is not allowed on campus. If it is food you’re looking for, then there are no shortage of options in town.

About two miles from the arena is one of my favorite places to eat: Pizza Pie Cafe. They do have a few locations outside of the state, but PPC is mainly a Utah chain. Prices vary depending if you arrive for lunch or dinner. The restaurant is all-you-can-eat, which includes 13 regular pizzas, five dessert pizzas, pasta and a salad bar. It is a local favorite and I highly recommend coming here if you ever visit.

For those looking to a place to stay, there are hotels less than a mile from the arena. For those of you that like to stay in budget hotels, the Super 8 University hotel across from the stadium is a good option. If you prefer something that is a little more upscale, there is a Courtyard by Marriott just a little further away.

Fans 4

Even with the move to the West Coast Conference, the Marriott Center is as a formidable place to play as any, especially when it comes time for conference play.

One of the most noticeable things when it comes to the fans is BYU’s student section, known as The Roc. Even with late 9PM tip-offs being the norm during conference play, the student section makes itself known, especially in big games when Saint Mary’s or Gonzaga come to town. With the recent success of the BYU basketball program, it seems the student section has become more formidable over time. With the energy The Roc brings, that really isn’t a surprise.

During the game, the rest of the fans seem to feed off the energy the student section brings. The arena sees a good crowd during BYU home games, even though some games don’t tip-off until 9PM.

Access 4

Some of the parking in front of and close to the Marriott Center are reserved for permit holders, but there is plenty of public parking to be found two or three blocks away from the arena. When I was there, the most expensive price I saw for parking was $10, so you won’t be paying a whole lot in terms of parking.

Getting to the stadium is very easy. If you are coming from either direction on Interstate 15, you will take the exit for University Parkway (exit 269). Once you are on University Parkway, it is a straight, 4-mile drive to the arena.

Return on Investment 4

For those looking for single game tickets, you are getting a good deal. The range on tickets is between $15 and $80, but that may go up a little bit if a more high profile opponent visits town. For students, they have to purchase what is called a ROC Pass, which gives them access to all home events for the academy. Prices will vary depending on whether the pass includes access to football games or all other events except football.

Extras 2

Located next to the arena is the Marriott Center Annex, which was completed as part of the arena’s renovations in 2017. The annex includes two practice courts, athletic offices, a strength and conditioning center and a BYU Basketball Hall of Honor, just to name a few.

Another extra for the Cougars’ energetic mascot, Cosmo the Cougar. He is one of the more energetic mascots that I’ve seen, and it looks like both the players and the fans love him. He is definitely a big presence during home games.

Final Thoughts

While not a bucket list arena, the Marriott Center is definitely an arena you should visit if you are ever in Provo for a game. With the renovations complete, the interior has more of a modern look, which you will be hard-pressed to miss. With its recent success, don’t expect BYU to fade anytime soon.


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