- Jay Wagner
Reitz Arena – Loyola Greyhounds
Photos by Jay Wagner, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71
Reitz Arena 4501 N Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21210
Loyola (MD) Greyhounds website
Year Opened: 1984
Greyhound Hoops: A Fun Time for All
Baltimore, Maryland is home to five different universities that compete at the Division 1 level. One of them is Loyola University Maryland, the city’s largest Catholic school. The 6,000-student university is located on the north end of Charm City. The campus, complete with its Gothic Revival architecture, is nestled seamlessly into its beautiful Baltimore neighborhood.
Previously an all-male college, Loyola became coeducational in 1971, following its joining with Mount Saint Agnes College. Currently, Loyola is located right next door to all-female Notre Dame of Maryland University. Loyola has a strong liberal arts program, as well as a fine education school and the Joseph A. Sellinger School of Business and Management.
Notable alumni include Tom Clancy, author of The Hunt for Red October, Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down and ABC Olympics commentator Jim McKay.
Since 1984, the men’s basketball team has called 2,100-seat Reitz Arena its home court. The program has appeared in the big dance twice: first in 1994 under Skip Prosser, and more recently in 2012.
Food & Beverage 1
After a thorough search, there appear to be no concession stands inside Reitz Arena. The arena is connected to a gorgeous student center with a few coffee shops and quick bites, but there appears to be nothing inside the arena itself. If you come early, you can scan the multi-level student center for food and beverage options, but you are best served finding a restaurant that serves Baltimore’s signature crab cakes before or after the game.
The Reitz Arena atmosphere is typical for a school of its size and athletic emphasis. The 2,100 seats are rarely all occupied, but that’s not to imply that the atmosphere is bad at all. Despite not being the largest school, the students seem to feel a great sense of community with their classmates as they cheer them on.
Schools like Loyola are known for their tight-knit communities, due to both the religious aspect and the size of the school. Reitz Arena seats almost all fans on the retractable bleachers on the sidelines. Because the arena seats a few thousand, every single seat is up close and personal to the action. There is an area on one baseline with a row or two of folding chair seating.
Reitz Arena’s scoreboard layout is extremely impressive, especially for an arena of its size and age. There are four large video boards, one in each corner of the court. One board on each baseline displays time, score and informative stats. The adjacent board shows a live feed of the game as well as replays and close-up shots when appropriate.
The graphics package displayed is as attractive and professional as there is anywhere. The sound system is loud and clear no matter where you are sitting. Where many mid-major arenas struggle in the presentation department, Reitz Arena passes with flying colors.
Loyola University is located on the north end of Baltimore. The school shares the immediate area with residential neighborhoods and beautiful greenery.
As for a postgame restaurant scene, you’re better off going downtown to the inner harbor. The Greene Turtle Sports Bar is a staple throughout the state of Maryland. It’s somewhat of a more upscale sports bar with delicious food, such as Old Bay-seasoned wings. Baltimore’s famed inner harbor is not only a beautiful area, but also has plenty of lodging and entertainment.
The Renaissance Harborplace hotel is one of many great hotels right on the inner harbor. In addition to great seafood options throughout downtown, the Pratt Street and Light Street Pavilions overlook the water. Inside the pavilion are restaurants, shops and attractions of all varieties.
If it’s a nice day, paddle boats on the inner harbor are a blast for the whole family. Baltimore’s aquarium – the glass pyramid-shaped building – is a heavyweight in the nationwide aquarium scene. Although the college hoops season doesn’t coincide with baseball, Oriole Park at Camden Yards – the ballpark that forever changed baseball – is located alongside the former B&O warehouse downtown. Camden Yards is viewed by many as the greatest ballpark in the world. Taking a tour (or even just walking by it) will put you in awe of its beauty.
Overall, Baltimore has just as great an entertainment scene as any big city. If Loyola University was located downtown, the neighborhood would get a 5-star rating here. Being in the middle of campus, the immediate neighborhood contains buildings catering more to students as opposed to visiting fans. Fortunately, safety isn’t a concern, and downtown Baltimore is just a few miles south.
Reitz Arena usually does not fill to capacity, but it can still get intense during a tight game. Baltimore is very much a working-class town, and the sports fans seem to identify with that culture. The fans are very supportive of their Greyhounds, which once again is a product of a tight-knit religious school.
Maryland is often referred to as “The Cradle of Lacrosse.” Lacrosse is the premier sport at Loyola University, but the basketball team gets good support as well from students and alumni especially. Reitz Arena will get as loud as any other mid-major arena in crunch time of a hotly contested game.
Although Loyola is not a downtown campus, it is still an urban campus where parking is not overly plentiful. There are three small pre-paid lots near the arena as well as an hourly lot – labeled the Jenkins Lot. Many folks decide to park on the street if availability allows. Just make sure that if you park on the street, you pay attention to all posted signs and know the laws. City law enforcement is never bashful about handing out parking tickets.
Reitz Arena is attached to the student center beside several lacrosse practice fields and the student bookstore. One could argue the arena could be more clearly marked from the outside. There aren’t any signs on the outside of the arena that would tell you what it is if walking around campus.
Once inside the student center, the ticket offices are directly under the main entrance and are accessed by stairs. After you buy tickets, you come back up the stairs and walk down the hallway to the arena doors.
Due to the arena’s size, you are literally standing on the hardwood as you take your first step into the arena. There isn’t a traditional concourse, although some team gear is sold beside the bleachers in the corner. The lone set of bathrooms are found down a hallway in the corner across from the Greyhounds bench.
Return on Investment 4
As is customary with mid-major college basketball, tickets are dirt-cheap relative to power conference games. All seating on the sideline behind the benches is reserved seating, priced at $15. General admission costs $10 and allows you to sit in the upper half of the sideline across from the teams.
It doesn’t appear to be difficult to move down lower for a sparsely-attended game. Putting down a $20 bill for a college basketball game is tough to beat no matter the size of the school or caliber of the conference.
Just before entering the arena doors, you will find the Loyola Athletics Hall of Fame. It includes inductees from all sports and is accompanied by various trophies the Greyhounds teams have won. It’s a neat way to honor great athletes of traditionally less-covered sports such as field hockey and rowing.
These athletes work as hard as any, but often don’t get proper recognition for their achievements. The hall of fame is beautifully put together with sleek glass panels and lighting. Overall, it is very well constructed and thought out.
Iggy is the team mascot’s name. The energetic Greyhound brings the energy for all 40 minutes of basketball. Under his full Loyola basketball uniform are large biceps and toned calves on his mascot suit. Iggy is the face of the Greyhounds’ game day entertainment, but the mass of cheerleaders back him up and play a key role in keeping the enthusiasm present throughout Reitz Arena.
To the average American, Loyola basketball is the Chicago team that captured America’s hearts on their Cinderella run to the 2018 Final Four. The “other” Loyola is usually thought of as the Catholic school in Los Angeles.
Loyola University Maryland is a much smaller, tight-knit school. Reitz Arena isn’t the biggest or shiniest, but it’s everything the Greyhounds need it to be – cozy, intimate and easily accessible for students. On top of all that, the athletic department clearly cares about the game day experience. Video boards and graphics packages are features that some mid-major schools do not put a lot of effort into.
The Greyhounds instead do all they can to produce a “big time” feel to certain areas of the game day experience without sacrificing an intimate setup that is perfect for Loyola. Much attention to detail is payed at Reitz Arena, and it does not go unnoticed.