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  • Writer's pictureMatt Fiedler

Pizzitola Memorial Sports Center – Brown Bears Basketball

Photos by Matt Fiedler and Paul Baker, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00

Paul Bailey Pizzitola Sports Center 235 Hope St Providence, RI 02912

Year Opened: 1989

Capacity: 2,800


Triple B – Brown Bears Basketball

The Paul Bailey Pizzitola Sports Center has been the home of Brown University basketball since 1989. The arena is located in the East Side neighborhood of Providence and is adjacent to Meehan Auditorium (Home of Brown University hockey), and Berylson Family Field (the practice facility for Brown University football). Fans of no-frills basketball will really enjoy their time at Pizzitola Sports Center. The arena is both affordable and has great views no matter where you choose to sit.

Food & Beverage 3

The food options at Brown University are standard, but also offer a few unique offerings. In the main lobby you will see a small concession stand that offers entrees like hot dogs and pizza. The stand also offers cookies, pretzels, candy, and soft drinks. Those are all typical arena options. Everything at the concession stand is $5 or less. So, a typical meal of a slice of pizza and a Coke will only cost $6. Inside the arena there is a small cart that offers something unique, roasted nuts. While most arenas offer peanuts, the Pizzitola Sports Center has a cart that offers cinnamon glazed cashews, almonds and pecans for just $5 per bag. There is no alcohol served at this venue but if you’re seeking an adult beverage and a more substantial meal, there are plenty of options within the city of Providence.

Atmosphere 2

The Pizzitola Sports Center is a very low-key basketball venue. There isn’t a giant scoreboard or a huge student section. There are scoreboards on the wall at each end of the arena that show the pertinent information that fans need. The scoreboards display the score, the players on the court, and the team’s fouls situation. Brown University doesn’t have the typical experience for college basketball. There is no cheerleading squad or dance team. There isn’t a pep band either that plays during breaks in the action. The PA announcer does his best to get the crowd involved in the game and typical stadium music is played during breaks in the action. Overall the atmosphere is very much about the basketball and less about the music and entertainment. If you’re a fan who looks for things like dance teams and other entertainment during breaks, you’ll be disappointed.

Neighborhood 5

Brown University is located in a beautiful part of the city of Providence. The East Side of Providence is home to many great restaurants and is known for being a very wealthy area. Fans can get to downtown very quickly and find attractions like the Providence Place Mall, Providence Performing Arts Center, and Federal Hill. Brown University’s athletic facilities are very centralized so fans could go to a football game in the afternoon and a basketball game at night. The two facilities are right near each other and are just a short walk away. In terms of safety, the Pizzitola Sports Center is in a very nice area. Many fans park on the street near the arena and simply walk over to the game. There are lots of people walking on the streets before and after a game so fans can feel safe leaving their cars on the street and walking over.

Fans 2

The capacity of Pizzitola Sports Center is only 2,800 so even with a packed house it’s not a large group of fans. However, the fans that are in attendance do know their stuff. Stadium Journey could tell that the fans in attendance seem like long time followers of Brown University athletics. If you happen to go when the team is playing PC, URI or another local rival, things may get a bit rowdy. When Stadium Journey visited, Brown was playing URI and the place was jammed. If you go when the team is playing someone like Cornell, the crowds will most likely be smaller. Overall, the fans are very respectful no matter what team you are rooting for.

Access 3

The Pizzitola Sports Center is easy to get to. The campus is about 2 miles from I-95. Fans need to take a few side streets and then the campus will come into view. When trying to find parking, there are a few options. One option is to park in one of the lots that are adjacent to the athletic facilities. If those fill up, you can find plenty of room to park on one of the side streets that surround the campus.

If you’re taking public transportation, there are some RIPTA buses that make stops at the campus. You could also take Amtrak to Providence Station and then take an Uber or Lyft to the campus. Once inside the area, fans will find that it is easy to navigate. Most of the seats are at the court level. There are bleachers on both ends of the court as well as both sidelines. There are also areas for groups in the upper level. There are no obstructed views so wherever you sit, you’ll have a good view of the action. The concourse can get crowded at halftime, but the bathrooms are quite spacious.

Return on Investment 4

Tickets to a Brown basketball game range from only $7-$15 each. That is a great price to see Division One basketball. The parking around the arena is free and the concessions are cheap. So, if you bought a general admission ticket, slice of pizza, and a Coke, you would only have to spend $13. There aren’t many Division One arenas where you can get that kind of value. To see high end college basketball for under $20 is a terrific deal.

Extras 2

One star goes to the overall value of attending a Brown basketball game. The tickets are affordable, and the concessions are a great value as well. Stadium Journey suggests trying the cinnamon glazed almonds for only $5 each. When you factor in the free parking, it’s about as cheap as you can get for a Division One experience. A second star goes to surroundings of the Brown University campus. It is a short drive to downtown Providence where there are tons of great restaurants and things to do.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a fan who wants all the glitz and glamour of Division One basketball, this isn’t the venue for you. However, if you want to see quality basketball with no frills and have it be an affordable experience, then I would suggest checking out a Brown basketball game at the Pizzitola Sports Center. Afterward, Stadium Journey would recommend that you head over to Federal Hill and grab some great Italian food.

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