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  • Richard Smith

TU Arena – Towson Tigers



Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00

TU Arena Auburn Drive Towson, MD 21252



Year Opened: 2013

Capacity: 5,200

 

Tiger’s Den

Towson University is the second-largest public university in the State of Maryland. Located just north of Baltimore, it is home to approximately 21,000 college students, of which 18,000 are undergraduates. Their football team played for the 2013 Football Championship Subdivision National Championship, falling short to North Dakota State.


The basketball team has also had scattered success over the years, most notably in the early 1990s under coach Terry Truax, with guards Kurk Lee and Devin Boyd in the old East Coast Conference. The Truax-led teams made it to two straight NCAA tournaments in 1990 and 1991.


The Tigers play in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA). In 2022, they played in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) having been the CAA regular season champions.


Towson is also known for their impressive gymnastics program. They have been the 1968 AIAW Division II National Champions, 1995 and 1998 USA Gymnastics NIT Champions, 3-time Calloway Invitational Champions, 15-time ECAC Champions, and 2007 USA Gymnastics National Champions.


Towson has stepped up recently in all sports with their athletic program. A major step forward was moving out of the depressing Towson Center and into the shiny new SECU Arena in 2013. I have many great memories of the Towson Center, as I worked there for a few years during college. It certainly had personality, but frankly, it was not a well-designed facility and was showing its age dramatically. During the last year of operation, one of the bleacher sections would not even fully expand. Towson Center is still technically around, as the new arena and the old building are merged, with locker rooms inside the old building. There is still much speculation about what the university will do with the old arena section of the Towson Center. It seems to be used mainly as a practice gym currently.


SECU Arena reverted to the TU Arena name in 2023, although signage still indicates the previous name.


Food & Beverage 2

The TU Arena has subpar food offerings. There are a couple of concession stands offering no real variety. The concourse is open and has plenty of space for additional offerings if they so wish. Prices are okay, but not great. The separate Ledo Pizza stand might offer the best value.


There is a small area along the main concourse offering alcoholic beverages.


Atmosphere 3

The lowered seating bowl of TU Arena makes the sound seem to pop here. It can be pretty loud. It may take time, but this place can be a loud arena. The stands surround the court with an upper concourse along with three of the four sides.


The Towson pep band also provides some of its atmosphere and adds to the loudness of the facility.


The design is a classic basketball pit, so even the lightest crowd noise echoes and rumbles. The upper concourse section seems underused for many games. It would make you wonder if these fully utilized seats would make this place even louder and provide a better atmosphere.


For this season one of the lower stands has been retracted and the area is used as a party zone for those giving money to the athletic program.


Neighborhood 3

Besides Johnny Unitas Stadium and the old Towson Center Arena, there is nothing right by the arena. Even though you may have to drive to most places, Towson is a semi-urban environment with a very large shopping mall and numerous restaurants in the area. Try the Charles Village Pub in the heart of downtown Towson for good food and drinks. Some other great options are Glory Days Grill, Sushi Hana, and Underground Pizza.


Baltimore is also a quick drive away and there are many options around that area.


Fans 3

For many years, Towson was known as a commuter school. But in the last couple of decades, there has been an increase in residence students. Students are starting to come to games in larger numbers helped by a free convenient shuttle to games. The consistent quality of play is also helping attendance. TU Arena, as well as neighboring Johnny Unitas Stadium, is located at the far south end of the campus, not near any of the residence halls, so it will take more years and increased awareness to get student attendance to a larger number. Luckily, TU Arena is a much more inviting place to go to a game than the older facility was.


Access 4

Towson is located right off the Baltimore Beltway/I-695. The only negative is that Towson is a maze of roads getting to the Osler and Auburn locations of the sports complexes. Parking is free and plentiful, although the closest lots are reserved for those buying season passes to access them.


There can be jam-ups at the main entrance as security lines, will call lines and ticket purchase lines tend to blend together.


Return on Investment 3

Tickets start at a decent $12-$20, depending on the opponent, for the upper concourse, but it may be worth the extra couple of bucks for end-line tickets in the lower concourse section.

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Extras 3

The Towson Dance Team is nationally recognized and provides great entertainment during games. The cheerleaders and pom squad will likely add to the entertainment. In addition, Doc the Tiger is a good mascot, providing entertainment for all ages.


Stop at the Tiger statue outside of the arena during pregame, as it is a great meeting spot.


If you get a chance, you should stop into the old Towson Center to see how much better the new facility is than the one they left.


Final Thoughts

TU Arena is a very nicely designed arena for a mid-major basketball program. If the crowd were to come to support the team a bit more the building could be an intimidating place for opponents to play,

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