- Michael Davis
Reed Arena - Texas A&M Aggies
Photos by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.72
Reed Arena 730 Olsen Boulevard College Station, TX 77843
Year Opened: 1998
Reed Arena is in College Station, Texas, in the Texas A&M University athletic complex, near the west side of campus. The facility is home to Texas A&M’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, the volleyball team, major concerts, commencement ceremonies, and a variety of other events. The two-level arena has a single concourse with a seating capacity of 12,989.
Reed Arena opened in the fall of 1998 and is named for Houston veterinarian Dr. Chester J. Reed and his wife, Billie Jean (Dr. Reed is a 1947 graduate of A&M). Unlike all the other athletic facilities on campus, Reed Arena operates under the Department of Finance, not the Athletic Department.
Reed Arena was the home court for the 2011 NCAA women’s basketball National Champion Texas A&M Aggies and has also served as the site for both the men’s and women’s first round of the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). The largest crowd for a men’s basketball game here (13,888) took place on January 19th, 2016 versus LSU.
Food & Beverage 3
Reed Arena has nine permanent concession stands located on the concourse level, along with various temporary stands. The concessions here offer all the expected stadium fare at typical stadium prices.
At the regular stands, Aggie nachos are $10, while regular nachos cost $5, and you can add extra cheese or chili to either size for an additional $1.75.
There are a couple of food values as well, such as a combo including a hamburger, chips, and a souvenir soda, or a souvenir popcorn, for $10. You can also find Slovacek sausage and bratwurst for $6, or an Aggie dog (a basic hot dog), peanuts, or candy for about $5 each. A standard stadium pretzel costs $6 while the popcorn is a dollar less unless you buy a souvenir popcorn for $10.
In addition to the main stands, there are temporary stations that provide different menu options than what you can get at the regular stands. For example, the Aggie Hospitality stand provides California nachos, topped with black beans, Pico de Gallo, cheese sauce, pulled pork, black olives, salsa, and sour cream, or you can get a high-calorie, foot-long chili cheese dog with the hefty price tag of $12. There is also a very good BBQ sandwich for $10, or a slice of pizza for $8. All the fixed concession stands accept credit cards.
The soda products offered inside Reed Arena are Pepsi products. The concession stands offer two sizes – regular for $4, or large, which comes in an Aggies Arise souvenir cup for $6. Aquafina bottled water costs $4 for a large and $2 for a regular. While Reed Arena may not offer a significant number of novelty concessions, you should find plenty to choose from to satisfy any appetite while attending an event inside the venue.
The atmosphere at Reed Arena is above average, and although it may not be on the same level as Kyle Field, the 12th Man and the Spirit of Aggieland are alive and well among the “Reed Rowdies.” The Reed Rowdies consists of a student group that promotes Aggie basketball on campus. However, any student attending a game at Reed Arena is considered a Reed Rowdy – the Reed Rowdies are found on the baselines wearing white t-shirts, and can be seen waving towels to rally the team and their fellow onlookers. These students, along with the Texas A&M Yell Leaders, keep the Aggie spirit and tradition thriving during each basketball game.
The most recognizable Aggie tradition comes alive at the beginning of each half, and after the game is over – this is The Aggie War Hymn, when you’ll witness Aggie upon Aggie linking arms and legs and swaying back and forth, in a motion like that of a saw blade. This motion is to symbolize “sawing Varsity’s horns off,” referring to Texas A&M’s most-hated rival, the Texas Longhorns. Legend has it that the Longhorns mascot (a Texas steer) used to be named Varsity, but in 1917 a group of A&M students snuck into Austin and branded him with a 13-0 mark, the score of A&M’s 1916 gridiron victory over Texas.
UT students are said to have hurriedly responded by adding some branding of their own, turning the 13-0 into the word BEVO (the 1 and 3 became a ‘B,’ the dash became an ‘E,’ and the ‘V’ was added), which is the current name of the Longhorns mascot. Nevertheless, since tradition is king at Texas A&M, the Aggies continue to sing the original lyrics. Their yells and songs still refer to the university as Texas AMC, about the fact that Texas A&M University used to be Texas A&M College.
Some games at Reed Arena feature the Corp of Cadets supporting the team from a section on the baseline, near where the Aggie Dance team is situated; the Aggie Dance team performs choreographed routines during timeouts and at halftime. In addition, since Texas A&M doesn’t have a traditional cheerleading squad, the Yell Leaders and the Reed Rowdies get the crowd to participate in A&M’s signature “yells” – the Yell Leaders use hand signals to tell the crowd what yell to do next, by signaling to the front row and then having the fans pass it back up to the top of the arena, so that all the fans can do the yell in unison. Texas A&M’s Yell Leaders are a group of five students, elected by the student body, who lead yells at A&M sporting events.
Overall, the atmosphere here at Reed Arena can be spectacular, especially if Texas A&M has a competitive team on the court. But no matter the opponent, the atmosphere is above average, because of the Spirit of Aggieland.
Reed Arena is located on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, just off George Bush Drive on the corner of Olsen Boulevard and Kimbrough Boulevard. College Station and nearby Bryan are in East Central Texas, about one-and-a-half hours northwest of Houston. The two cities together are referred to as the Bryan-College Station metropolitan area, and this “twin city” makes up the 16th largest metropolitan area in the state of Texas, with a population of approximately 170,000.
College Station is constantly listed among the great college towns, and just north of Texas A&M University, on the other side of University Drive, is the Northgate District. The Northgate District provides many restaurants and bars that have an amazing pre or postgame atmosphere, such as the Dixie Chicken. Commonly referred to as “The Chicken,” this restaurant/bar has been serving College Station since 1974 and is located directly across from Texas A&M’s campus.
The Chicken is a great place to grab a beer before or after the game and listen to live country music. Not only is the Dixie Chicken known to be a favorite watering hole among Aggies, but the bar also claims to serve the most beer per square foot of any bar in the United States, and also has a variety of food selections at reasonable prices.
For the craft beer lover, just around the corner from The Dixie Chicken is the Blackwater Draw Brewing Company. Or, if you’re looking to find some BBQ in the area, avoid BBQ 13-0, as it is not a good test of Texas BBQ – 13-0 is more for A&M students who need a late-night BBQ sandwich to absorb their earlier alcoholic beverages.
But College Station and Bryan have a few much better BBQ places to enjoy, such as Fargo’s Pit BBQ, Kreuz Market, and my personal favorite, C&J BBQ, which has three locations within a few miles of campus, and of which are worth your time.
Alternatively, on the south side of campus, there is a well-known College Station burger place, Koppe Bridge. Koppe Bridge has two locations, but the original is on Wellborn Road – originally an old feed store, this restaurant opened in 1992.
For history buffs, some of the original timbers on the floor are from the old Koppe Bridge that spanned the Brazos River until the late 1920s, when the bridge was destroyed by flood waters.
Texas A&M University’s campus is a great way to spend time before or after a game. The one place on campus that is truly a must when visiting College Station is the Bonfire Memorial, located next to the TAMU golf course.
This memorial represents the bond that Aggies have with one another, and embodies the spirit, history, and traditions long celebrated and honored by Texas A&M students and former students; the memorial is a tribute to the individuals who lost their lives or were injured during the tragic 1999 bonfire collapse. The campus is also home to the George Bush (senior) Presidential Library and Museum.
Aggie fans are unique compared to those at other schools, in that there is a bond among Aggies. Texas A&M University is recognized as the Home of the 12th Man, a football reference, because the crowd stands throughout the game to show support for their team, each Aggie waiting (figuratively) to be called onto the field to play in the game if needed.
This tradition goes back to 1922 when a former Texas A&M football player named E. King Gill was called from the stands during a football game after several players were injured. Gill suited up and sat on the bench for most of the game, but never needed to go in. His willingness to serve, however, ignited Aggie fans to loudly and energetically support their team forevermore; a larger-than-life statue of E. King Gill now stands at one corner of Kyle Field.
However, the Aggie Spirit is felt not just in football, but in basketball as well; there are no bandwagon fans when it comes to Aggieland. When you visit Texas A&M you’ll learn that being an Aggie is about much more than just buying school apparel; either you’re an Aggie or you’re not. Despite this extreme loyalty, however, you’ll typically find Aggie fans to be polite and respectful to visitors.
Reed Arena is located on the campus of Texas A&M University near the intersection of Olsen Boulevard and Kimbrough Boulevard, not far from Blue Bell Park and across from the Davis Diamond softball field. The campus parking lots in the area are reserved or require permits, so it is better to follow the signs for general parking; general parking is cash only at $5 per vehicle.
Reed Arena is surrounded by four parking lots, which hold a combined 1500 cars, and the venue is also within walking distance of a 3,750-capacity parking garage. Overall, you should have no problem finding parking, but be aware that while access to Reed Arena is excellent, be prepared to wait at least half an hour in the parking lots after the game, due to the traffic congestion afterward.
Reed Arena’s main box office is located at the main entrance, across from the Student Rec Center on Olsen Boulevard. There are also satellite box offices at each of the other entrances, making it very easy to just walk up and buy a ticket. The doors open one hour before tip-off.
It is easy to get into Reed Arena from any of the four entrances, and handicap access and restrooms are easily accessible. The concourse is wide and there is plenty of signage to help you find your section, regardless of whether you’re sitting on the lower level or the upper. Texas A&M University does have a clear bag policy for all Aggie athletics home events; to be clear on what bags are allowed into Reed Arena, you can click on www.12thMan.com/BeClear.
Return on Investment 5
TAMU men’s basketball ticket prices are very affordable for top-notch college basketball; the price depends on where you want to sit. The best seats in Reed Arena are priced at $25 for courtside, with the rest of the lower bowl at either $20 or $22; balcony seating (upper level) is between $15 and $20.
There is also general admission seating for $10 in sections 210-216, which is a great price considering that on most nights you will be able to move over to a better seat. In addition, parking is only $5 and is located right outside the arena, and the concessions prices are very reasonable.
Overall the Reed Arena experience has a high return on investment, and Texas A&M University also participates in Flash Seat ticketing, which is a paperless way to manage your tickets.
Texas A&M University is one of only six senior military colleges in the United States, and TAMU’s Corps of Cadets is the largest uniformed body outside of the military academies.
While all colleges have their unique traditions, at Texas A&M it is a rite of passage to be an Aggie. The song The Spirit of Aggieland speaks of a spirit that “can ne’er be told,” which is not merely a punchline to use at sporting events, but a deep passion that seeps into every Aggie that comes to Texas A&M. In addition, this spirit passes not only throughout the world but even into space, as The Aggie War Hymn was used as a wake-up call on Day 11 of space mission STS-121, for Texas A&M former student and mission specialist Mike Fossum.
The people of the Bryan-College Station area show Texas Pride and practice real Southern hospitality, and do not merely preach it, from the simple “Howdy” instead of hello to the “Welcome to Aggieland” water tower and signage throughout TAMU’s campus.
Reed Arena is an incredible venue to see top-level SEC Basketball, with sight lines that are perfect for basketball. And even though basketball isn’t the premier sport at Texas A&M, it says a lot about the program and fans here that the announced attendance was only 2,000 less than capacity for a recent Saturday night game against the #1-ranked Tennessee Volunteers.
Reed Arena is also easy to access, has low ticket prices for top SEC games, and boasts the Reed Rowdies continuing the Aggie traditions. College Station is a wonderful college town, but witnessing the Spirit of Aggieland will amaze you. There is a little something here for everyone, but most of all, a simple Howdy from Aggieland makes it worth the trip.