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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

McCamish Pavilion – Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (MBB)

Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Hank McCamish Pavilion 965 Fowler St Atlanta, GA 30332

Year Opened: 1956

Capacity: 8,600


The Basketball Jacket’s Home Hive

Georgia Tech is a school that believes in tradition. It also is known as one of the top engineering schools in the country. These two statements come together in describing how the McCamish Pavilion came into being in time for the 2012-2013 season. Before that time, the 55-year-old Alexander Memorial Coliseum had served as the home of the Yellow Jackets basketball program. However, when Tech entered the ACC, it became immediately obvious that the building did not meet the needs of the school as it entered one of the toughest basketball conferences in the country.

It was obvious major changes needed to be made, but the engineering team did not want to tear down a building that had been a part of the school for sixty years. It was decided that the building’s unique roof and its supports would remain, while the improvements took place under the dome structure that had been an Atlanta landmark over the years. Keeping the roof and supports intact, the engineering staff was able to design an arena of the future, while retaining an important part of its past.

Today the McCamish Pavilion is one of the nicest basketball facilities in the ACC. It has brought the building into the 21st century while staying true to its past.

Food & Beverage 3

McCamish Pavilion offers a wide variety of food options from several national vendors as well as a Georgia Tech-Managed stand known as Tech Classics. The national vendors include Chik-fil-A, Pappa John’s Pizza, and Sonny’s BBQ. Chik-fil-A sells a limited version of their typical drive-through menu, serving grilled chicken sandwiches for $6.50, waffle fries for $3, and Coca-Cola brand sodas for $5. Sonny’s BBQ offers both BBQ Chicken and BBQ pork sandwiches for $8 and Coca-Cola beverages for $5. Papa John’s sells a cheese, as well as a pepperoni pizza for $9. They also offer hot dogs ($5), popcorn ($4), pretzels ($6), Coca-Cola brand sodas ($5), as well as domestic beers for $8, and craft beers for $10.

The Tech Classics stand tends to stay with the typical stadium food we have all come to suspect. This includes hot dogs ($5), sausages ($7), nachos ($6), pretzels ($6), peanuts ($4), popcorn ($5), candy ($5), Coca-Cola beverages ($5) and both domestic ($8) and craft beers ($10).

The concession stands are all located on the concourse level and offer standup tables for you to enjoy your food while watching the game.

Atmosphere 4

The atmosphere at the McCamish Pavilion has dramatically since the massive renovation converting the Alexander Memorial Coliseum into the McCamish Pavilion. Bench seating has been replaced by extremely comfortable individual seats. The lighting has been reworked in a theatrical fashion so that the basketball court is the center of attention. The scoreboard and the ribbon boards now feature state-of-the-art video capabilities.

Most of the seats in the arena are located below the concourse level, bringing fans much closer to the action. Walls separating the concourse from the seating bowl were removed opening a view of the court from anywhere on the concourse. Due to the heavy demand for tickets to ACC conference games, the arena added a balcony seating area above the concourse, increasing the Pavilion’s capacity to 8,600.

In recent years, the school has totally redesigned the basketball court itself, adding new graphics and a new name… the Bobby Cremins Court. This was done to honor Tech’s most successful and popular coach who led the Jackets to their first-ever Final Four appearance in 2004. Cremins can often be found in the crowd when visiting Atlanta.

Neighborhood 3

McCamish Pavilion sits on the northeast end of the Georgia Tech campus. Its athletic neighbors include the Byers tennis complex, Georgia Tech’s indoor practice facility, and Russ Candler Stadium, the home of the Yellow Jackets baseball program.

The venue faces on 10th Street which leads to both Midtown Atlanta, the city’s fastest-growing district with tons of restaurants, a number of great clubs, and many of Atlanta’s top attractions. Its’ relationship with the school is also on a business level, as many tech companies have moved to the neighborhood to recruit students with IT or computer programming degrees from Tech to add to their workforce.

If you head west on 10th Street, it will lead you to the trendy neighborhood known as West Atlanta. It was a former industrial area that has seen its warehouse-style buildings converted into apartments, condominiums, shops, and business offices. Among the favorite spots in this neighborhood for a meal are Miller Union, JCT Kitchen and Bar, Yeah Burger, and the West Egg Café.

Fans 4

Georgia Tech basketball was seen as an afterthought before the school joined the ACC. As an independent, it had to scrape together a schedule of opponents and it made making the NCAA Tournament cut nearly impossible. Joining the ACC placed Yellow Jacket basketball on a much higher plane, as they were frequently playing nationally-ranked teams.

Interest in Tech basketball exploded when it joined the ACC and led to the renovation of the Alexander Memorial Coliseum into the McCamish Pavilion in time for the 2011-2012 season. This allowed the school to be more competitive in recruiting, as a 1955 facility was now a cutting-edge twenty-first-century facility.

Tech’s fan base is predominately made of alumni who still live in the Atlanta area, as well as the student body. Tech’s students have their own access door into the Pavilion and the facility is located on the same street as many Tech fraternities and sororities. They are seated at floor level, directly across the court from the visiting team’s bench. They create all sorts of cheers and actions to distract the visitors when they have the ball. During the breaks in the action, participants are chosen from the student body to compete in a variety of wacky competitions. A particularly important part of the student body also helps to lead the cheers as well as entertain the crowd. The Georgia Tech Pep Band sits directly behind the west basketball backboard and does its best to annoy free throw shooters from the visiting team.

The older fanbase tends to sit in the stands behind the visiting team. They are some of Atlanta’s finest engineers, computer whizzes, real estate developers, and business elite, with the common bond of having graduated from Georgia Tech. Once inside McCamish Pavilion, they drop their corporate image and cheer and sing along whenever the pep band plays “I’m a Ramblin Wreck from Georgia Tech, and a Helluva Engineer, the school’s memorable fight song. This group travels wherever the team goes and often forms the Tech cheering section for the ACC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. The team and its fans have worked together to make the McCamish Pavilion into the “Thriller Dome.” More than 100 Georgia Tech alumni took part in the redesign of the facility as it transformed into the McCamish Pavilion, proving Tech’s excellence in the fields of engineering and architecture.

Access 3

McCamish Pavilion is located adjacent to I-75/I-85, otherwise known as the Downtown Connector, as it slices through the Midtown and Downtown areas of Atlanta. To reach the arena from the connector you can either exit at 14th Street or North Avenue and head west to reach to Pavilion. If you are coming from West Atlanta or Midtown, you can take 10th Street to Fowler Street and the McCamish Pavilion will be located on the corner.

Traffic can be a bear on the Connector for weeknight games, so many fans use MARTA, Atlanta’s rail system to get to games. The 10th Street Station is the closest to the Pavilion and the free Tech Trolley will shuttle you to the game and back after the game. A round trip on MARTA is $5, no matter how far you ride on the system.

Parking can be difficult at Georgia Tech due to its downtown location. We suggest you download the Georgia Tech app. The app allows you to prepay and have a parking space available for you in one of the parking decks typically used by the faculty and staff during daytime hours. Parking prices are typically $5-$7 depending on the distance from the arena. All are within easy walking distance.

Return on Investment 3

Georgia Tech basketball provides a good return on your investment, especially when you compare the cost to attending a Hawks game at State Farm Arena or a Falcons/ Atlanta United game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Tech employs a variable seating price model depending on the opposition. Non-ACC games will run you $15-20, with an ACC matchup starting at $30-$40 face value. However, the competition for ACC game tickets is intense, as Tech’s season-ticket base takes up a substantial portion of the 8,600-seat arena. The Duke or UNC games cost in the hundreds of dollars on the secondary market, as both schools have a large number of Atlanta area alumni.

The concessions are very reasonably priced at the McCamish Pavilion and taking public transportation to the game is great ways to cut down the cost of attending the game.

Extras 3

Alexander Coliseum served as the boxing venue during the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

A majority of Atlanta’s main tourist attractions are located two miles south of the Georgia Tech campus via Techwood Drive. These attractions include the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Center for Human and Civil Rights and the Centennial Olympic Park.

McCamish Pavilion has a great historical display featuring Tech’s all-time top coaches and players just inside the 10th street entrance to the facility.

Final Thoughts

Georgia Tech has a terrific sports heritage across the span of all their programs. However, it is the football team that has gotten the most attention. However, Tech basketball has two Final Four appearances and multiple ACC championships to claim its share of the attention. The Jackets enter into the 2021-2022 season as the ACC Tournament Champion.

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