Peter W. Stott Center – Portland State Vikings
Photo courtesy of Portland State University
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
Peter W. Stott Center 930 SW Hall Portland, OR 97201
Year Opened: 1966
The Peter W. Stott Center (also known as Viking Pavilion after a recent renovation), named after an alumnus and booster of Portland State, is the home for the PSU Viking basketball and volleyball teams. Built in 1966, it is located on the campus of Portland State University, which is on the south side of downtown Portland. The campus sits on 50 acres of real estate known as the University district.
The Stott Center used to boast rooftop tennis courts where the men's and women's tennis teams competed, but these were removed (as was the swimming pool) during the recent renovations. The facility now includes student lounges, study spaces, offices, and a weight training facility in addition to the main and secondary gymnasiums. Now seating only 3,000 fans in its multi-purpose main arena, it is still one of the smallest college basketball arenas in the country.
The Vikings compete in the Big Sky Conference, where they won conference championships and NCAA bids in 2008 and 2009. The program joined the Big Sky Conference in 1996.
Food & Beverage 3
All-you-can-eat basketball is the way of the Stott Center. Anyone purchasing a ticket to a PSU home game receives all you can eat hot dogs, popcorn and soda from the concession stand. This is a unique promotion to say the least. Zenner's hot dogs, Papa John's pizza and Franz Bread sponsor the Get Stuffed all-you-can-eat. There are other items available, but there is no menu or prices listed anywhere. If hot dogs and popcorn don't spark your interest, there are limitless options near the campus to eat before or after the game.
Taking into account the Stott Center's diminutive size, it does not feel like you are in a Division I arena, rather more like a high school gym. There is only one entrance to the gym. An 11 member pep band performs at the end of the court opposite to the entrance.
There is a good sized video board on the end of the court next to the band that seems oddly out of place. When the team is playing well, there is a much different feel to the arena, but there is very little excitement during the game in off years. This is a program on the rise, but its home hasn't quite caught up yet.
Downtown Portland has plenty of options for most tastes. Lodging is plentiful near the campus, highlighted by the Marriott and Hilton hotels. The Cheerful Tortoise, a sponsor of PSU athletics for 50 years and voted Portland's Best Sports Bar, is the place to be before and after games with daily drink specials a terrific menu. Voodoo Doughnuts is a must visit locale. The Bacon Maple bars are outstanding.
If you are looking for a more cultured experience, the Portland Art Museum is a few blocks away from the campus or a trip to OMSI - Oregon Museum of Science & Industry, should be on your itinerary. There is also a maritime museum on the banks of the Willamette River a mile or so away.
Despite the stands being filled to about 60-65% capacity during my most recent visit, the crowd was very quiet. I could hear the coaches instructing their players more than I could hear the crowd. The student section, referred to as "The Green Man Group" was not audible either, with most socializing instead of paying attention to the on court activities. I'm sure that if the team was competing for a conference title or tournament spot, there would be a much different feel in the Stott Center.
With the campus of PSU being in downtown Portland, congestion is a big problem. There isn't much parking close, so be prepared for a bit of a walk. There are a few parking garages within six blocks of the arena, or you can take your chances trying to find parking on the street. Beware though, Portland is infamous for having one way streets, and bike lanes. If you're not familiar with the city, you could be faced with an unwanted adventure trying to find your way around.
Public transportation is available within a two block radius. Tri-Met's MAX (train) and bus services are probably your best bet in getting to and from the Stott Center.
Once inside, it is very easy to get around. For the size of the building and the capacity, there is plenty of room in the lobby for fans to move around, get a hot dog, buy a t-shirt, or anything else you might want to do.
Return on Investment 2
Tickets are $18 for adults and $8 for youth. There really isn't a bad seat in the house because at the worst, you are no more than 50 feet from the court. The plastic seats are not very comfortable and there is no safe place to set your drinks. With the all you can eat concessions, if you are a big eater it works out to be pretty reasonable entertainment value. But if you are looking for the excitement of big time Division I basketball, unfortunately this doesn't quite fit the bill.
The PSU Hall Of Fame wall is just outside the court. Some notable names from the wall include Neil Lomax (NFL QB), Clint Didier (NFL TE), June Jones (NFL QB and Head Coach) and former MLB manager Tom Trebelhorn. The opposite wall has the school's Division II accomplishments including National Championships in Volleyball and Wrestling.
The souvenir stand has caps for $20, t-shirts for $15 and sweatshirts for $30 - $45. There are not as many items as you might find at other arenas, but there are many choices of styles with what they do have.
The Stott Center is soon to be expanded and renovated. The "Viking Pavilion" will be the new basketball home for PSU within the existing Stott Center building. The project is to include a 5,000 seat sports arena, concert and event hosting, symposia and other general purpose uses. Based on the current situation, the expansion is a welcome upgrade to this program. It will create a new buzz for the school. The future looks bright for PSU athletics.