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  • Writer's pictureMichael Davis

Moody Center - Texas Longhorns

Photos by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43

Moody Erwin Center 2001 Robert Dedman Dr Austin, TX 78712

Year Opened: 2022 Capacity: 11,313


Moody Center brings a New Culture to Texas Basketball

The University of Texas Basketball teams opened their 2022-23 basketball season inside their new home, Moody Center. Moody Center is a multi-purpose arena built on the campus of the University of Texas. Moody Center, which holds 10,000 plus for basketball, replaces Frank Erwin Center as not only a University of Texas venue but as Austin’s premier entertainment venue.

Moody Center’s cost of $375 million was funded by the Moody Foundation's grant of $130 million to the university, as well as Oak View Group, Live Nation/C3 Presents, and Matthew McConaughey as partners in the construction of Moody Center. They will manage the building in exchange for the right to keep most of the income from non-UT events, such as concerts and shows, for at least the first 35 years after opening.

The Texas Longhorns men's basketball team held their home opener here on November 7, 2022, against the UTEP Miners. The Longhorns won the game, outscoring UTEP 72-57 with a sold-out attendance of 11,313 spectators.

Food and Beverage 5

Moody Center went out into the local food scene and brought in vendors that serve the City of Austin’s favorite food flavors and beverages. The food and beverages for Austin’s newest entertainment venue have plenty of variables that come with the typical event pricing, that people complain about yet still pay. You can’t go wrong with Texas BBQ, and Stubbs BBQ is a popular Austin establishment that provides not only BBQ but local music talent.

Stubbs BBQ is located on the main concourse and serves brisket and pork sandwiches, smoked sausage, and potato salad or coleslaw available as sides – the main dishes cost $11 while the two ala carte sides cost $6. If you are looking for something outside of BBQ, then Tony C’s New York Style Pizza has cheese, pepperoni, and sausage available in slices. Or, if BBQ or pizza won’t do then maybe a mac and cheese bowl or a Walking Frito Pie at Scratch Bowl. Other options inside Moody Center are Koko’s Bavarian, Gelato, Austin Hot Links, Big Chicken, and Right on ‘Cue Tacos.

Moody Center is a Coca-Cola venue, and the soft drinks available and pricing are similar to other venues, with a 16 oz. bottle costing $4. There are also plenty of alcohol choices throughout Moody Center – you won’t have a hard time finding a good variety of beer if you go over to the Moontower Market on the main concourse, ranging from $8 for a 16 oz. domestic beer to $10 for the craft.

Moody Center’s food and beverage are outstanding for the size of the venue, although it is always better to pick up food and drinks in the local neighborhood. However, Moody Center brings in the flavor of Austin to those fans that may have travel limits, providing them with a unique food culture.

The biggest reminder when it comes to buying food and beverages inside Moody Center is that this is a cashless facility; Apple Pay, Google Pay, and all major credit cards are accepted.

Atmosphere 5

Moody Center hasn’t been open very long, but it has already changed the basketball atmosphere for the University of Texas basketball teams. Moody Center is a smaller venue than its predecessor, with closer seating bringing an intimate feeling to every game.

The lack of a Texas student body attending a Texas basketball game has also disappeared – students lined up 4 hours before the Gonzaga game. Although Gonzaga is ranked and has a top-tier basketball program, the students also show up for non-ranked opponent games such as Texas-Rio Grande Valley. Texas fans can finally be heard, and give energy that was lacking in the larger big drum arena down the street.

The fans are engaged, and loud, and stay throughout the game. In addition, the human mascot Hook ‘em, band, and spirit squads all interact well with the crowd, and the LED scoreboards are the best around in any venue, enhancing the atmosphere by revolutionizing the game for fans.

Neighborhood 5

Moody Center is in the center of downtown Austin and on the campus of the University of Texas. Austin is the capital city of the state of Texas and has numerous restaurants, bars, hotels, and places to visit all within a small radius of Moody Center.

The first restaurant within walking distance for pre-game is ScholzGarten; ScholzGarten is a popular place and packed for Texas football games, but for the smaller basketball crowd it is easy to get served food and drinks. If you’re looking for Texas BBQ, walk a little further to Stubbs BBQ and you won’t regret it. There are plenty of places, as a matter of fact, over 100 of them on Austin’s well-known Sixth Street, with Coyote Ugly Saloon, Dirty 6, or Darwin’s Piano Bar being a few. You can either venture to those or try to find your favorite spot, as there isn’t just one. One of my favorite places is a couple of blocks south of Sixth Street, Moonshine Grill.

As with the restaurants, Austin has plenty of nearby lodging – it all depends on your taste in hotels or financial choice on which one you stay at. The closest hotel is the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Austin, an easy walk across Interstate 35 to Moody Center; the others nearby are between Sixth Street and the Colorado River, while JW Marriott, Hilton Austin, and Four Season Austin are all higher-class hotels in the same area. One hotel in the area, even if you don’t stay there, that is an interesting visit is the Driskill, on the corner of 6th Street and Brazos Street – this hotel is one of the oldest in the State of Texas.

Austin, being the capital of Texas, also provides an opportunity for visitors to visit the Capitol building for a tour. Also, as mentioned with the restaurants, travel to Sixth Street for live music, as Austin is considered the live music capital of the world; Austin is also home to the LBJ Presidential Library and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Lastly, just walking the University of Texas campus or walking down South Congress Avenue are extras for people to do while in Austin.

Fans 5

This is one of the most surprising parts of Texas basketball in this review – it could be the new venue, it could be that Texas has a Top 10 basketball team this season, or it could be the combination of them both coming together in 2022, but while Texas fans seemed very disinterested in the basketball program when games were played at Frank Erwin Center, even when the program was competitive, they have come to life in Moody Center.

The basketball season has already sold out, there is a waiting list for Texas Basketball season tickets, and 11K fans are showing up even to mid-week games when tickets used to be given away. The fans are energetic, and loud, and have given the Texas basketball team a home-court advantage that lacked until they moved to Moody Center.

Access 4

Moody Center is located just south of Mike A. Myers Stadium and east of Daryl K. Royal-Memorial Stadium alongside Interstate 35. Moody Center is also 10.5 miles from the closest airport, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

There is plenty of public transit to/from Moody Center throughout the Austin area. There is limited parking for fans that drive to the arena, as is typical for downtown venues due to lack of space. There are parking garages around the campus used for Moody Center events, however, including Manor Garage (near Mike Myers Stadium, enter through Clyde Littlefield Drive), East Campus Garage (near Interstate 35), Trinity Garage (at the corner of Trinity Street and East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd), State Garage R and State Garage Q (both on San Jacinto Boulevard). The best advice is to plan ahead and maybe prepay for the garage parking if you are going to a game, as this can save you time and money.

There are two main entrances into Moody Center for fans, as well as a special one for suite tickets. The east gate is along the interstate (you’ll notice this is also the area for students to enter), while the other is the southwest gate facing DKR-Memorial Stadium and the UT campus.

The latter entrance is where the main University of Texas Team Shop is located. This a reminder that the clear bag policy is in effect to enhance existing security measures and expedite venue entry at Moody Center. Once inside Moody Center, there is plenty of space throughout the concourse, great signage, and easy access throughout the venue.

Return on Investment 3

The inaugural season at Moody Center and the high expectations of the Texas basketball program have put Texas Basketball tickets at a premium – 2022-23 Texas basketball games have been sold out. All fans looking to buy tickets must use third-party websites; there are games during the week that you can still get tickets for a reasonable price, but these games are very hard to find this season. Moody Center is a premier arena and the cost to see a game comes with a premier cost.

Extras 4

This may be a higher score due to the excitement of having such an incredible venue in Austin. The sightlines are amazingly close to the action with not a bad seat in the place. There are also great concessions options, bringing local food choices and interesting new ideas with the premier clubs. The artwork inside the arena showing off Austin is also great – Texas basketball is in demand and is no longer an afterthought because of Moody Center.

Final Thoughts

Overall I want to say Moody Center is the best new basketball arena in the country, and it just might be a true statement. It is a venue that any sports fan should visit, whether it is for a University of Texas event or a non-UT event. Texas Basketball has an amazing new home, a venue that will bring in recruits, and fans, and give a home-court advantage like no other. Moody Center has already shown that the price was worth the investment for the city of Austin; now it is only time to see if the new culture of Texas Basketball will bring in championships.

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