Photos by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
Matadome Stadium 18111 Nordhoff St Northridge, CA 91330
Year Opened: 1962
Rockin’ the Red
Though referred to by locals and students as The Matadome, it is anything but. With its flat roof and a capacity of 1,600, the energy inside The Matadome when packed with red clad fans can get really loud.
The Matadome is one of the smaller college basketball venues for Division I play, guaranteeing that you will never be far from the action. Kinesiology classes are also housed inside The Matadome, which sits inside of Redwood Hall.
A trivia note for you 80s movie buffs: The Matadome was where the all-valley karate tournament scenes from The Karate Kid were filmed, so yeah, feel free to go back in time and envision Daniel San doing his famed crane kick.
Food & Beverage 2
The Matadome only offers a single concession stand, not far from the main entrance. Here, fans can get a Matadog, with the option of all beef, spicy or turkey ($3.50), chips ($2.50), candy ($2.50), popcorn ($2.50), nachos ($3), pretzels ($3, $1 for extra cheese). The beverage options include soda ($2), water ($2 or $3 for large), and Gatorade ($2.50). Should The Matadome be packed as it was on this evening, you may want to grab your treats during one of the breaks in the action to avoid having to stand in that long line.
On this Saturday night, the red clad locals were ready to raise the roof. The student section, known as the “Red Rally” was mostly involved throughout the game, often times yelling the popular soccer chant “Olé Olé Olé Olé,” finishing it with “C-SUN. C-SUN.” Also after each made free throw, the Red Rally would yell Tag Team’s “Whoomp! There it is!”
Though Matty the Matador is present he isn’t really so engaged in any activity throughout the stands, though he exchanges high fives to those passing through to the lobby. Matty also takes part in mini basketball tosses to the stands in between breaks in the action.
Also adding to the loud and high energy of the crowd is in-game DJ, DJ Malski. In addition to being the in-house DJ for CSUN basketball, DJ Malski has a show on local radio station 102.3 KJLH and also does in game entertainment for the L.A. Sparks and USC Trojans basketball.
Fast food options nearby include Micky D’s, Subway, Carl’s Jr., Panda Express, Chipotle, Wienerschnitzel, and Pieology.
If you don’t mind driving 5 minutes west of campus, the Northridge Fashion Center is nearby as well and offers these sit down options: Bonefish Grill, Claim Jumper, Yard House, as well as a Buffalo Wild Wings, to name a few.
Or should you choose to remain close to the gym, Cupids Hot Dogs, a San Fernando Valley staple serving nothing but chili dogs (I prefer to keep mine simple, chili and onions) is within walking distance.
On this Saturday evening the red clad fans had the dome packed and rocking. Though the local five would fall behind early, it would not stop the fans from rallying behind their team as CSUN would stage a furious comeback in the 2nd half only to fall short in the end.
In spite of the fans efforts to rally behind their team, I did not sense that the visiting team was all too intimidated. Nonetheless, the enthusiasm behind the home team certainly could not be questioned.
Access to CSUN is not far from three of L.A’s major freeways, the 405, 101 and 118. If you are coming from L.A., the drive time, pending traffic, can vary from 30 to 90 minutes. If traveling on a weeknight, it is highly recommended you allow yourself at least 2 hours travel time prior to tip off. Yes folks, L.A. traffic can be brutal.
Once you have arrived on campus, you will want to park as close as possible to Zelzah Avenue and Plummer Street. The reason for this is because The Matadome is somewhat dwarfed by other buildings around, the dome gives no hint that you are approaching a sports venue. If you are not familiar with the campus, do not be surprised if you should find yourself asking around where The Matadome is. It really is that non-descript.
Return on Investment 3
Single game ticket prices range from $8 general admission and $10 reserve, to $15 premier reserve. Because of the intimate size of this venue, if sitting smack dab at center court is not important to you, the $8 general admission offers a really great value.
As you enter the lobby you will find some of the Matadors Big West trophies inside a glass case named Comprehensive Excellence. The Matador Hall of Fame is also here. Some of the more notable members of the Matador HOF are Jack Elway, father of NFL Hall of Fame QB John Elway. Jack coached football at CSUN from 1976-78. Another notable CSUN HOFer is former L.A. Angels/Dodgers player Adam Kennedy.
As I have visited 3 Big West basketball venues, I can’t help but notice a pattern when it comes to the latest in the floor designs. CSUN has what they call The Blacktop, a nod to basketball played on the hard black playground surface we all played on as kids.
With a packed house inside a venue that you could say resembles your high school gym (you may even say there are high school gym’s with more up to date facilities), the energy inside The Matadome can be loud and rocking. Having said that, a Division 1 school in a major conference should have a facility that not only can accommodate at least, let’s say, over 3,000 fans but should have at least some of the up to date amenities that many of the other venues have today, a fact that has not been lost on the mind of former head coach Bobby Braswell. If CSUN were to have a new facility in the works somewhere in the future, perhaps an arena that stands out where you know what you’re approaching, would be nice. The Matadome is hidden among other buildings and it is quite easy for a first time visitor to get lost when searching for it. In spite of the fact that CSUN is behind in terms of a modern, or at least, up to date facility, this should not take away from the excitement you may have should you plan to pass through and catch a game here. When packed, the atmosphere can really be loud and electric.