Alumni Coliseum – Eastern Kentucky Colonels
Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
Alumni Coliseum 521 Lancaster Ave Richmond, KY 40475
Year Opened: 1963
Ballin’ in Richmond
Alumni Coliseum, otherwise known as Paul S. McBrayer Arena, is located in Richmond, Kentucky, and opened in 1963. The venue has a capacity of 6,500, and is currently home to Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as EKU’s women’s volleyball team. The court itself is named after Paul McBrayer, a former EKU basketball coach. The venue is unique, in that its ceiling is made entirely of wooden beams, and is believed to be the largest such ceiling in existence.
Food & Beverage 3
While Alumni Coliseum does not offer a ton of choices at its concessions stands, there is more than enough variety to suit most tastes.
Food options include chicken sandwiches, tacos, burgers, hot dogs, brats, and pizza; these items range in price from $3.50 to $4.75. Snack options include popcorn, chips, candy, nachos, soft pretzels, peanuts, cookies, and Dippin’ Dots, which cost between $1 and $4. The food quality is actually fairly good for a sports stadium, especially the burgers (simple, but tasty).
Drinks available at Alumni Coliseum include all of the basics, such as bottled soda (Pepsi products), bottled water, Gatorade, coffee, and hot cocoa, all of which cost $2.50 to $3. No alcohol is sold here, as the venue is located on a college campus.
There are two types of concessions stands at Alumni Coliseum – the main ones are permanent, and the others are just plastic tables set up in the concourse. The tables only take cash, so if you specifically want a burger, cookies, or Dippin’ Dots, make sure you bring some cash. But all of the other items can be purchased from the main stands, which take cards.
Alumni Coliseum is a decent basketball venue, with a good crowd, and some nice features.
Alumni Coliseum appears very imposing from the outside, but seems a little smaller once you get inside. The basketball court itself only has seating on three sides (along both sidelines and behind one backboard), but the video screen is located behind the opposite backboard, so is easy for all fans to see, even though it is not that big. See a video of the layout here:
One nice feature of Alumni Coliseum is that the walls in the concourse are lined with trophy cases and plaques showcasing different teams’ accomplishments, as well as commemorating notable players and coaches. There are also flags outside on the plaza, and massive posters for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams adorning the wall outside the front entrance.
Most of the seats are wooden bleachers, but there are three sections of metal chair backs (lower level along both sidelines, and upper level on one sideline). The lower-level chair backs are reserved for donors, but the upper-level chair backs are definitely worth the extra $2 they cost, since they are more comfortable than the bleachers.
There is not a lot to do in the small town of Richmond, besides visit the university. However, there are several decent restaurants near Alumni Coliseum, and the town has a little Civil War history, as well.
About a mile from the stadium, near I-75 on your way into town, there is a Hooters and a Logan’s Roadhouse, either of which would make a fine hangout for before or after the game. But if you are looking for something more local, check out Madison Garden on Main St (northeast of Alumni Coliseum) – Madison Garden offers pretty standard bar fare, including wings and burgers that they are well-known for, but the real draw is that they serve over 175 different beers.
Richmond was the site of one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War, and there are a couple of monuments in town memorializing the battle, including the Visitor’s Center and Battlefield Park.
There are a number of hotels about a mile from Alumni Coliseum, ranging from Holiday Inn to Comfort Suites. Most of them are located off I-75 to the west of the venue, but there are also a couple on the northeast side of campus.
The fans at Alumni Coliseum are very loud and supportive of their team, and the venue draws a pretty good crowd.
During a typical game in a good year, a men’s basketball game will draw between 4,000 and 5,000 fans, or about two-thirds full. Most of the fans wear team colors, and stay fairly loud throughout the game.
The student section is clearly marked, but the students do not seem any louder than the rest of the fans, if not less so. Regardless, the concourse is absolutely deserted while the game is going on, so that definitely shows how engaged the fans are.
Alumni Coliseum is easy enough to find in the daytime, since it is located on a hill and is thus very visible. However, at night, it is a different story – the venue is surrounded by other campus buildings, so the only way you can really get there is from the main drag.
Parking is free right outside the Coliseum’s main entrance (on the south side), so that is a major plus. Most fans enter on that side, and there are two ticket booths there, one of which only takes cash.
Since the crowd is small, the concourse is rarely crowded and there is plenty of room to move around. There are more than enough bathrooms to accommodate everyone, and the lines at concessions are almost non-existent since there are multiple stands you can buy from. Once you get into the arena itself, there is a walkway that divides the upper and lower seating areas so you can still watch the game as you make your way to and from your seat.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets to EKU basketball games are very cheap and concession prices are very reasonable. The atmosphere is not over the top, though, so unless you just want to see a game, there are other venues nearby which provide a lot more energy.
Ticket prices are $10 for general admission, and $12 for upper-level chair backs ($8 for youth). Nothing at the concessions stands is over $5, and parking is free.
Alumni Coliseum has some great architectural features, some of which are more easily seen during the day, such as the impressive entrance and the plaza outside, but the wooden ceiling is also notable. Having the trophy cases and plaques on display inside is also a nice touch, instead of having them hidden away in some museum far away.
Alumni Coliseum has some nice features but the crowd, while decent, is on the small side and probably won’t blow you away. That said, if you live nearby, it may be worth a visit to take in a game here, but it may not be a venue to travel very far for.