• Lloyd Brown

Ball Arena – Denver Nuggets

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

Ball Arena 1000 Chopper Circle Denver, CO 80204

Denver Nuggets website

Ball Arena website

Year Opened: 1999 Capacity: 19,250


A Few Nuggets About Basketball in Denver

Note: The name of the venue changed from Pepsi Center to Ball Arena Oct, 2020.

The Pepsi Center has been the home for winter professional sports in the Denver area since 1999. It serves the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL and the Colorado Mammoth of the NLL. The arena seats 19,250 for basketball and 17,800 for hockey and lacrosse. It has 95 suites and 1,900 club seats.

The Nuggets joined the NBA in 1976 as a part of the ABA/NBA merger. They play in the very tough Western Conference. From 2004 through 2013 the team made the playoffs every year but they have never made it to the NBA Finals.

Food & Beverage 3

A vast majority of the concessions stands at the Pepsi Center offer the standard arena fare from national chains. Denver is a foodie town and we would like to see some regional favorites offered at the venue. We are happy to see a good representation of microbrews offered, as Colorado has more microbreweries than most states in the country.

For those looking for a sit-down meal inside the arena, the Breckenridge Brewery Mountain House fits the bill. Its mountain lodge theme will transport you to the Rockies… while sparing you the frosty temperatures.

For those looking to get a Rocky Mountain high from the munchies inside of the Pepsi Center, forget about it. Marijuana cannot be consumed in any form within the arena or its surrounding property.

Atmosphere 3

The Pepsi Vision scoreboard/video board measures 47’ X 27’ and does a great job of providing replays and important stats throughout the game. It also has HD projection capabilities to provide stunning graphics on the court.

The Nuggets honor their elite players from the past with banners hanging from the ceiling. These players include Alex English, David Thompson, Byron Beck, Dan Issel, Dikimbe Mutumbo and longtime coach Doug Moe.

The team’s poor record in recent years has really hurt attendance and this influences the energy level in the Pepsi Center. The bigger crowds tend to show up only when a top team (Golden State, LA Lakers) or regional rival (Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns) is the opponent.

The Nuggets organization does work hard to keep the fans entertained and energized. Rocky, the team mascot can always be counted on to perform some great stunts during a contest and the Skyline Drumline makes its way throughout the area drumming up support to its snappy beats.

Neighborhood 5

The Pepsi Center is conveniently located near the most popular attractions in the greater Denver area. Larimer Square is Denver’s ground zero (literally… it listed on the National Register of Historic Places ) and is home to the best shopping, dining and entertainment in the Mile High City. Interested in sports ?… depending on the time of year, you can choose to attend a Denver Nuggets NBA game or a Colorado Avalanche game at the Pepsi Center, in the fall the Denver Broncos will be playing in Mile High Stadium, or in the spring, summer or early fall the Rockies will be playing over at Coors Field. You can easily catch two different sports in the same day, as all three venues are within 2 miles of each other.

If you prefer cultural activities or have the kids in tow, you are in luck. The Pepsi Center is within walking distance of the Denver Center for Performing Arts, the Museum of Cultural Arts and the Children’s Museum of Denver.

There are several restaurants to choose from for a pre or postgame meal. These include the Tivoli Brew Pub, Rhein Haus Denver and Ted’s Montana Grill.

Fans 3

The Nuggets do have a very loyal core of fans that have been coming since the team’s ABA days. These fans remember the glory years of fast paced, high scoring basketball under Coach George Karl. They have seen the franchise’s peaks and valleys and feel that the youth movement now underway will lead the team back to success as other Western Conference foes teams are beginning to age.

Nugget fans are very friendly to visitors from the opposing teams, as they love to talk basketball and believe in being good ambassadors for the Mile High City.

Access 4

The Pepsi Center is easily accessed by several modes of transportation. The arena is conveniently located just off I-25, the major north/south interstate in the area. Coming from the North: take I -25 South and exit at Speer Avenue. Go south on Speer until you reach Chopper Circle. Turn right onto Chopper Circle. Coming from the South: take I-25 North and exit at Auraria Parkway. The Pepsi Center will be on your left. Other vehicle options include Lyft or taxi, which depart from the west side of the arena.

There is also a light rail station on the northwest side of the arena. Trains serving the C, E and W lines depart from this station. For detailed information on public transportation options, go to www.rtd-denver.com.

Denver is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country. Pepsi Center has bike racks immediately outside of the arena. Fans wishing to rent a bike will find a B-Station located a block south of the arena. For more information on this mode of transportation, go to www.denver.bicycle.com

Once inside the Pepsi Center you will find wide concourses and excellent signage to guide you to your seat, restrooms or a specific concession area.

There are more than 500 HD TV monitors throughout the Pepsi Arena, so you should not miss any of the action.

Return on Investment 4

The Nuggets have one of the lowest ticket price structures in the NBA, with seats available as low as $18. Parking is $20 in any of the non-premium lots. However, a day pass on the excellent light rail system brings you nearly door to door service for only $5.20 local / $9 regional. The concessions offer a much wider variety of items than is found in most NBA arenas, and can result in higher than average costs for some of the more premium menu selections. There are a wide variety of reasonably priced restaurants within walking distance of the Pepsi Center. We suggest a pregame meal at one of these establishments, leaving space for snacks and beverages at the arena.

Extras 3

There are some very interesting pieces of art in and around the Pepsi Center. There are several statues and 3-D visuals on the west concourse. The Grand Atrium is home to a large sculpture depicting hockey and basketball players. Rocky, the Nuggets mountain lion mascot has his own statue outside of the venue.

Pepsi Arena strictly enforces a Ball/Puck in Play Rule during the action. This rule allows people to be in the aisles or moving along a row only when there is a stoppage on the court. This improves the fan experience a great deal.

The Nuggets are one of the few NBA teams to have their practice facility in the same building as their home games.

A Kids Zone behind section 375 offers children the opportunity to test their skills on one of many hockey and basketball simulators.

Among the other events that have been held at the Pepsi Center are the 2001 NHL All Star Game, the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals, the 2005 NBA All Star Game, the 2008 NCAA Frozen Four Men’s Championship and the 2012 Women’s Final Four.

Final Thoughts

The Nuggets are presently in a rebuilding state with lots of young players with great potential. A basketball game at the Pepsi Center provides you with an inexpensive evening in a very nice sports venue. While you are there, be sure to sample some great microbrews from the area.

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