- Matt Finnigan
Moby Arena – Colorado State Rams
Photos by <att Finnigan, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Moby Arena 951 West Plum St Fort Collins, CO 80521
Year Opened: 1966
Very few arenas can combine unique architecture, history, and competitive NCAA Division I basketball. Yet Colorado State University’s Moby Arena does just that. The building opened in 1966 and was initially named the Auditorium-Gymnasium. An article in CSU’s student newspaper, The Collegian, described the arena with its white, curved roof as a beached whale. That mention gave way to the arena’s informal nickname of “Moby Gymnasium,” a tribute to Herman Melville’s legendary tale of a captain’s pursuit of a white whale named Moby-Dick. The school embraced this cetological reference and, in the late 1980s, CSU Athletic Director Oval Jaynes formally adopted the “Moby Gymnasium” moniker.
Today, a visit to Moby Arena provides an enjoyable college basketball experience. It sits in the middle of campus, within walking distance of bars, restaurants, and student housing. Fort Collins has a thriving downtown area, Old Town Square, less than two miles away from campus, and a bustling student neighborhood, West Campus, is just across the street from Moby. Fort Collins also has an extensive network of trails and parks, so fans wanting to see the Rams play have plenty of pre and post-game entertainment options.
Food & Beverage 2
Moby Arena has the basics, and not much more. The Aggie Grill offers a guacamole burger basket, including a burger with guacamole, tortilla strips, and fries, for $10. A cheeseburger basket costs $9. Sriracha dogs ($7), hot dogs ($6), nachos ($6), bratwurst ($6), pretzels with cheese ($5), popcorn ($4), and candy ($4) are also available. Fans have limited options for drinks at the concessions stands: bottled water ($4), fountain soda ($4-$6), and coffee ($4). Coca-Cola products are sold at Moby. Chick-fil-A and Krazy Karl’s pizza also have concessions stands at Moby. An original chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A is $4.75 while a spicy chicken sandwich costs $5.25.
The Moby Loft is a standing-room area on the arena’s west concourse that opened in 2019. Of-age fans can enjoy beer and wine while still being able to watch the game. The space has room for 300 fans, with canned domestic and craft beer ($8), Captain Jack margaritas ($8), wine spritzers ($8), and red and white wine ($6). Fans must remain in the loft while consuming alcohol. But the Loft provides an ideal place for fans to congregate as they enjoy the game.
Moby Arena’s whale design is unusual in college sports venues. Most seats are along the sidelines, while student and pep band seating is at either end of the arena. Seats are comfortable, with good sight lines and no obstructed views. Most seats have chair backs, with some bleacher seating in the end zones.
The Rams’ home court, more than 23,000 square feet, is emblazoned with ram’s horns and provides a nice representation of CSU’s colors, logo, and nickname.
Moby’s public address system can be difficult to hear, particularly when the band is playing. A scoreboard hangs from the ceiling above center court to provide replays, in-game promotions, and player statistics. Smaller scoreboards hang in the corners and offer more in-depth player stats during the game. Of note, a ram-themed display above Moby’s east concourse illuminates to measure crowd noise and encourage fans to get loud during the game.
Fort Collins is an idyllic college town that surrounds the CSU campus. With trails, parks, and the Cache la Poudre River running through town, outdoor opportunities abound in Fort Collins.
Several neighborhoods near campus feature great bars and restaurants. Less than a mile from Moby Arena, West Laurel Street has several dining options. The B&B Pickle Barrel serves excellent east coast-style deli sandwiches, with a full bar and plenty of TVs for watching games. Downtown Fort Collins has restaurants for most every taste. The Exchange, located downtown, is a newer, open-air plaza that has several restaurants around its perimeter with plenty of room for gathering outside. Ice cream lovers will enjoy the Old Town Churn, an ice cream stand built into a giant, well, ice cream churn at the Exchange.
Beer lovers will also recognize Fort Collins as one of the top destinations for craft brewing and there are numerous ways to visit the breweries. More than 20 breweries call Fort Collins home. The New Belgium Brewing Company and Odell Brewing Co. are the town’s largest brewers, but the smaller breweries are also key members of the town’s brewing fabric. Fort Collins-based Magic Bus Brewery Tours can arrange for both bus and walking tours of Fort Collins’s breweries. For those who prefer their beer brewed on a larger scale, Fort Collins’s Anheuser-Busch brewery also offers tours.
Head coach Niko Medved has the Rams playing very competitive basketball, on pace to win 20 games and possibly advance to the NCAA Tournament in 2019-2020. Yet the Rams have averaged just slightly more than 3,100 fans per game. CSU’s official student fan group, Ram Ruckus, provides energy and noise; all students are welcome to join. The other fans in attendance are engaged and loud.
Fort Collins sits approximately 60 miles north of Denver and is approximately a 45-minute drive from Denver International Airport. Moby Arena is located on the northwest corner of CSU’s campus, near the intersection of Plum Street and South Shields Street. Parking ($15 per car) is available in the lot between Moby and South Shields Street. Fans will have little difficulty finding the arena or a place to park. Transfort, the City of Fort Collins’s mass transit authority, operates several bus routes serving the CSU campus (the 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 19, 31, 32, 33, and max lines), including one that links CSU with downtown Fort Collins. The CSU Transit Center is less than a half-mile from Moby Arena.
Rideshare services Lyft and Uber both operate in Fort Collins but Moby Arena does not have a dedicated rideshare drop-off or pick-up location.
Moby Arena has two ticket window areas, the larger of which is in a lobby on the building’s north side and the smaller of which sits on the building’s southwest side. Fans should consider purchasing tickets from the windows on the north side, as there are several options. Security lines move quickly into the building.
Once inside, concourses are not wide but fans should not expect any problems navigating the arena. Concession lines move quickly and efficiently.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets range from $14 for reserved seats in Moby Arena’s corners to $30 for a reserved seat along either sideline. Because of Moby’s smaller size, fans can get close to the action regardless of where they sit.
Concession prices are slightly lower than what fans should expect to pay at an NCAA Division I basketball game. Although parking at Moby costs $15, there is also plenty of free street parking within walking distance.
Moby Arena receives a point for the exceptional CSU Sports Hall of Fame Exhibit, located on the south concourse. The school chronicles its programs’ athletic and academic highlights with an extensive collection of photos and memorabilia.
The City of Fort Collins also earns a point. The myriad dining, entertainment, and outdoor options are unlike what other college towns can offer.
Finally, Moby Arena receives a point for its history. It provided the setting for the 1976 film, “One on One” with Robby Benson, Annette O’Toole, and Melanie Griffith.
Colorado State has succeeded in a challenging feat: to maintain Moby Arena’s design and function while modernizing the building to appeal to present-day basketball fans. With a Rams team on the rise and a beautiful campus (and town), a game at Moby Arena is worth the drive from Denver.