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  • Joseph Oakes

Siegel Center – VCU Rams


Photos by Sean Rowland and Joseph Oakes, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29

Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center 1200 W Broad St Richmond, VA 23284


VCU Rams website

Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center website


Year Opened: 1999

Capacity: 7,500

 

A RAM-bunctious Time

Virginia Commonwealth University is located in Richmond, Virginia and competes in the Atlantic 10 conference. The Rams play at the Stuart C. Siegel Center, which opened in 1999 when the Rams knocked off Louisville in front of a sellout crowd. The Siegel Center only seats 7,617, but it is one of the toughest places to play in the nation. The Rams are 267-44 all time at the Siegel Center and are currently on a 139-game sellout streak. In 2011, VCU became the Cinderella of the nation as they made it to the Final Four as an 11 seed. VCU has continued their run on the national scene as they have made the NCAA tournament eight out of the last nine years and have won several conference championships.


Food & Beverage 3

The food selection at the Siegel Center is okay, but is a little less than what we expected. The Siegel Center offers basic stadium food, but nothing really stands out. Cheeseburgers are $7 and hot dogs are $4.50. You can also make it a basket which includes chips for $10 for a cheeseburger basket and $7 for a hot dog basket. Nachos are $5 and $1 extra for a cheese cup, popcorn and soft pretzels are $4, candy is $4, and Cracker Jacks are $3.50. If you are looking for something sweet, you can visit the Sweet Shop, which has funnel cakes for $4 and Dippin Dots for $5-$7.


Pepsi products are available at the Siegel Center. Water, tea, and Gatorade are available as bottled drinks for $4. Fountain drinks are $3.50 for a regular size, $4.50 for a large, and $6 for a souvenir cup. Refills are $2.50. Several brands of beer are available for $8.


While these concession offerings are enough to get you by, if you are looking for a meal, you are better suited to eat before you go to the game.


Atmosphere 5

If you are driving by the Siegel Center, you would never know you were driving by a basketball arena as the building blends in with the other campus buildings. However, once you are inside the arena, you quickly realize that the Siegel Center is an intimate venue that traps all the noise to make it a tough venue for opponents. All seats are black with exception to yellow seats that spell out “VCU” on one side and “RAMS” on the other.


With the exception of a club level on one sideline, all seating is located on one single level below the concourse level. Nearly all the seats are chair back with the exception of some of the seats in the end zones. The only downside to the seating layout is that the sideline seating extends well beyond the baskets and the end zone seating extends well beyond the end zones, as the corner seats are not curved. The only curved seating areas are premium seating areas with in each of the four corners. This can create some sight line issues, but since the arena is not that large it is not a big issue. Just keep this in mind when you are selecting your tickets. There is a large four-sided video board hanging above mid-court; and, there is also a video board on the wall above each end zone. All around the arena, you will also see banners for the many conference championship, NCAA Tournament, and Final Four appearances that the Rams have earned throughout the years.


VCU has an awesome pep band that is known as The Peppas. They are one of the best pep bands in the country and they easily fire the crowd up and get the Siegel Center rocking. VCU fans are also loud and knowledgeable, which gives the Rams a formidable home court advantage.


Neighborhood 5

The Siegel Center is located on Broad Street on VCU’s campus right near downtown Richmond in an area known as The Fan District. There is plenty to do in and around Richmond. Being the capital city, the state capitol building of Virginia is nearby as well as many state museums. If you are a history buff, Richmond is the place for you. Numerous Civil War battlefields, the White House of the Confederacy, and Monument Avenue are all near VCU.


Also, right near VCU is the Altria Theater which host numerous Broadway plays and concerts. If you are looking for somewhere to eat before the game, be sure to visit Buz and Ned’s BBQ. There are two locations in the area: one on Arthur Ashe Boulevard near The Diamond and the other near the West End on Broad Street.


Fans 5

VCU has sold out 139 straight games and counting. Not only is every game a sellout, every game is jam-packed and the arena is loud. This has allowed VCU to win 86% of their games at the Siegel Center since the building opened in 1999. Be prepared for the crowd to be loud for the entire game, especially after big plays or when VCU is on defense. The fan support that VCU has makes the Siegel Center one of the toughest places to play in the nation.


Access 4

The Siegel Center is located near downtown Richmond. Both I-64 and I-95 go through Richmond, and are not far from the Siegel Center. Navigating the Richmond downtown area can be tricky at times, especially around rush hour, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time if going to a weeknight game.


Parking around the Siegel Center can also be tricky. Many of the parking decks in the immediate vicinity are reserved for season ticket holders and Ram Athletic Foundation Donors. However, VCU does allow you to buy general parking online, which is what Stadium Journey recommends.


Security to enter the Siegel Center is fairly typical of most athletic venues. Keep in mind, as of the writing of this review on late 2019, there is no clear bag policy. Once inside, the arena is easy to navigate. There is one large concourse along the broad street side of the arena, with entrances to the seating area. Inside the arena, there is a large walkway all the way around the seating bowl. Handicapped accessible seating is also available at the top of the seating bowl.


Return on Investment 4

Depending on the game, ticket prices range from $25-$55, while exhibition games are $15. However, keep in mind that all games eventually sellout so if you do not buy your tickets early, expect to pay much more than this on the secondary market. Concessions are not cheap, but not outrageous either. While ticket prices may be high compared to the rest of the Atlantic 10, the price is well worth it. VCU is consistently ranked in the top 25 and the atmosphere is one of the best in the country.

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Extras 4

An extra point for the 139-game sellout streak.


An extra point for t-shirts that are thrown out each time VCU hits a 3-pointer.


An extra point for the VCU pep band – the Peppas.


A final extra point for the numerous Final Four displays on the concourse commemorating VCU’s Final Four run in 2011.


Final Thoughts

The Siegel Center is not the largest or best designed college basketball arena, but the atmosphere and sellout streak more than make up for it. A visit to the Siegel Center is definitely a bucket-list item for any college basketball fan. With great basketball and passionate fan support, you will definitely enjoy your visit to the Siegel Center.



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