M&T Bank Arena – Quinnipiac Bobcats
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
M&T Bank Arena 305 Sherman Ave Hamden, CT 06518
Quinnipiac Bobcats men’s basketball website
Year Opened: 2007
Hoops in the Shadow of the Sleeping Giant
People’s United Center was the first building constructed in Quinnipiac University’s $360 million project to develop its York Hill campus, located about a mile from the school‘s main Mount Carmel campus. The facility contains basketball and hockey arenas joined by a common lobby area and university club. Completed in 2007 at a cost of $52 million, it was designed to be a drawing point for potential student athletes. Building the facility involved moving 615,000 tons of earth and rock, all of which remained on campus to construct roads for the development of the 250-acre campus.
Basketball has been played at Quinnipiac since 1951. A longtime member of NAIA, the team elevated its athletic programs to Division Two in the mid-70s and to Division One in 1998. After competing in the Northeast Conference, the Bobcats moved to the Metro Athletic Conference in 2013. The team has yet to qualify for the NCAA Tournament as a member of Division One.
Note: The name of the arena changed to M&T Arena in April 2022.
Food & Beverage 2
“The Den” is located in the main lobby in between the basketball and hockey arenas. It offers a limited menu consisting of hot dogs, chicken tenders, nachos and assorted snacks. Items are affordable, with most items priced under five dollars.
Pepsi products are sold at People’s United Center. No alcohol is sold at this on-campus facility.
The Den, Photo by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
At most college venues, the atmosphere is driven by the student body. Unfortunately, there is not much of a turnout by the student body here at Quinnipiac basketball games. This is in stark contrast to the student section at hockey games, which are packed to the brim with excited students.
Despite the lack of noise from a student section, the folks at the People’s United Center put on a good show. The school’s pep band performs throughout the game, filling the arena with noise. The cheerleaders and dance squad perform during play stoppages and there is a mascot who wanders the crowd interacting with fans.
There is a large video board hanging at center court which is put to good use with replays, game stats and graphics. Additional scoreboards in the corners of the arena display updated game stats throughout the game. T-shirt tosses and contests for the younger fans in attendance keep the more casual fans interested.
People’s United Center is located in the university’s York Hill campus, about a mile from the main campus. Quinnipiac is located adjacent to Sleeping Giant State Park, a popular destination for hiking and other outdoor activities. If visiting Hamden when the weather is nice, the many trails here are worth a look before heading over to the game.
Hamden is a typical suburban community, with many local eateries and national chain restaurants located along Whitney Ave. near campus. If you follow Whitney Ave. for a few miles south, you will find yourself in downtown New Haven on the campus of one of Quinnipiac’s chief athletic rivals, Yale University.
While Hamden is a lovely community, it can hardly be considered a destination location. Many visitors to the area will likely spend their time in nearby New Haven, which has a well-deserved reputation as a foodie hotspot. Connecticut’s capital city, Hartford, is located a half hour north of Hamden. The state’s twin casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, are located less than an hour to the east.
Quinnipiac averages between 1,200 and 1,500 fans per game at the People’s United Center. Crowds fluctuate wildly depending on the opponent and day of week you are attending. Bobcat basketball fans are not the rowdiest bunch you’ll come across, but they are knowledgeable about their team and enthusiastic in their support.
There isn’t much of a turnout by the student body, leaving the student section empty save for the presence of the pep band. Those students who do show up tend to spread out around the seating bowl, negating any energy they would bring to the arena. The majority of the crowd is made up of locals out to see some quality hoops at an affordable price.
The suburb of Hamden is located directly to the north of New Haven. Once named as one of the “best small cities” by CNN Money, Hamden and Quinnipiac University are easily reached via Interstate 91. Take exit 10 (Route 40) and follow it approximately a mile and a half to the QU campus on Mount Carmel Road.
Fans enter the TD Bank Sports Center into the shared central lobby, which contains the Bobcat Den concession stand and a pair of restrooms. The basketball court is on your left.
Fans enter Quinnipiac’s basketball court onto the concourse located at the top of the seating bowl. This concourse completely encircles the arena, offering excellent views of the court from all points. In fact, many fans choose to take in the action from spots around the concourse.
Section 101 will be directly in front of you as you enter the arena at the corner of the basketball court. There are 16 sections, each containing between 12 and 14 rows of blue folding stadium seats. The seating bowl is steeply pitched, creating great sight lines of the game from all points. A section of luxury boxes is located above the entrance to the arena.
With the smaller crowds present, it’s pretty easy to get around, even at halftime. There are a pair of restrooms located in the corners of the arena, and another pair in the lobby. Lines do form at restrooms and concession stands at halftime, but they move fairly quickly.
With only one road leading to the arena, don’t be in a rush to leave after the game. The lots can take a little while to empty.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets for Quinnipiac basketball games cost $15 for all seats. Seniors can purchase tickets for $8 and youth for $6. Parking is free in the lots adjacent to the facility. Add in inexpensive concessions and a night at a Bobcats basketball game is an affordable entertainment option for Connecticut basketball fans.
Outside the entrance to the facility is a statue of a Bobcat, the school’s mascot. When the school made the decision to change their name from the politically incorrect Braves to the Bobcats, students developed the legend of the Bobcat, which guards the Quinnipiac campus while the sleeping giant does his thing over at the state park. The legend can be read on a plaque next to the statue.
Banners hang throughout People’s United Center honoring the school’s championships and tournament appearances for both the men’s and women’s teams. Additional banners honoring 1,000-point scorers can be found on the walls of the arena.
People’s United Center is an attractive facility that fits the needs of this mid-major team perfectly. While the basketball team at Quinnipiac has yet to experience the success that the hockey team has enjoyed, the basketball court compliments the neighboring hockey rink perfectly. When the Bobcats start to improve on the court, expect the crowds to grow here in the shadow of the Sleeping Giant.
Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.