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  • Eric Moreno

United Supermarkets Arena - Texas Tech Red Raiders



Photos by Eric Moreno, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

United Supermarkets Arena 1701 Indiana Ave Lubbock, TX 79409

Texas Tech Red Raiders website United Supermarkets Arena website

Year Opened: 1999 Capacity: 15,098

 

Red Raiders Wreck 'Em at United Supermarkets Arena

Deep in the wide-open plains of West Texas lies the city of Lubbock. A booming oil and agricultural town, it has a reputation for breeding men and women doing things their own way: Mavericks. This way of life, this mindset, has been adopted by the school and athletics teams closely tied to Lubbock: the Texas Tech University Red Raiders.


The Red Raiders began playing hoops at Tech the year the school opened for business, 1925. Since that time the Texas Tech men’s basketball team has won 11 conference tournaments and made 16 appearances in the NCAA Tournament.


Since 1999, Tech has done all of their home court winning at United Supermarkets Arena. This state-of-the-art facility blends new tech with old school aesthetics and has proven to be a true winner in West Texas.


Food & Beverage 3

Texas Tech does a good job of catering to their fans, especially when it comes to food and beverages. There are numerous food stands and kiosks throughout United Supermarkets Arena; these range from your traditional stadium fare – hamburgers and hot dogs – to some good old-fashioned Texas-style barbecue.


One stand in particular, the Lone Star Grille, offers some of that traditional grub, but in combo form – the stand’s offerings include a bacon cheeseburger basket ($11), a 1/2-pound hamburger basket ($10), and a steak finger basket (which I personally recommend) at $10. Alternatively, if you’re looking to branch away from the norm, look for the Big 12 Bowls stand; in addition to nachos and other favorites, this latter stand offers an out-of-the-box Asian Bowl ($12).


At every stand inside United Supermarkets Arena you can also purchase soft drinks ($6 or $7.50 depending on size), bottled water, sports drinks, candy, chips, and popcorn, and there are also beer and alcohol kiosks sprinkled throughout the venue. I think you’ll be able to find something you find tasty to eat at Tech.


Atmosphere 4

I’ve had the pleasure of catching several sporting events at Texas Tech over the years, so I felt I was prepared for what I was going to experience for my first-ever visit to United Supermarkets Arena. I admit that I have never been to some of the legendary college hoops venues in the country, but I have been to quite a few, and I can say unequivocally that Texas Tech fans are the loudest I have ever experienced.


From the moment you walk through the doors of United Supermarkets Arena – which has a beautiful brick façade that is part of that great old school aesthetic – you are surrounded by a sea of red; Tech fans definitely give their Red Raiders a home court advantage.


The rafters are bedecked with banners touting the success of teams past, and the retired numbers of Red Raider greats Polk Robison and Gerald Myers also hang there. The hallways of the arena have trophy cases displaying the tangible proof of the programs’ (both the men’s and women’s teams) successes.


For women’s hoops fans, a full-sized painting of all-time great Sheryl Swoopes hangs on a wall near one of the arena’s entrances, and the national championship trophy from Swoopes’ 1993 team is also on display. You can feel the history emanating from every corner of United Supermarkets Arena, and it is a history that Texas Tech fans cherish and celebrate at every opportunity.


Neighborhood 3

The city of Lubbock is a great blend of pure West Texas (you can literally see tumbleweeds in certain parts of the city) and a traditional college town. There are college hangouts and hot spots, and then there are places that celebrate the frontier spirit of Lubbock.


If you’re looking to take in some of that history, make sure to take in the National Ranching Heritage Center. This sprawling complex, run by Texas Tech, features a collection of authentic ranch buildings that have been disassembled and reassembled on site along a walking path – this is a true trip back in time. Or for music lovers, be sure to stop by the Buddy Holly Center; this museum honors Lubbock’s native son and one of the early pioneers of rock and roll, whose life was tragically cut short at an early age.


United Supermarkets Arena is located right on the campus of Texas Tech University and is within walking distance of both Jones AT&T Stadium and Rip Griffin Park. If you plan your visit right, you can get in more than one game on your trip.


Fans 4

Texas Tech fans are very passionate about their school and their teams. The men’s hoops team averages nearly 11,000 per game at United Supermarkets Arena, and the vast majority of these rabid fans sport the red of their team and throw their guns up (the team’s traditional hand gesture) at every chance they get.


This is also a vocal fan base that loudly supports its team. The energy that they put out is infectious and starts as soon as fans walk through the door, and lasts until the final buzzer. The student section in particular is a sight to behold – this is a rowdy bunch and I mean that in a good way! If you attend a game I think you will be able to feel it for sure, and will probably get as caught up in it as I was on my most recent visit.


Access 2

If there is one drawback to games at Texas Tech it is, quite frankly, how relatively difficult it is to get to Lubbock. If you look at a map of Texas and you cast your eyes out toward the New Mexico border, well before you get there you’ll find Lubbock. You can fly there from most cities in the country via the Preston Smith International Airport.


Once you get there though, United Supermarkets Arena is pretty easy to find. Tech’s sports facilities are on campus and can easily be gotten to via Interstate 82. Parking is plentiful and is free in certain lots (there are paid lots if you want to park even closer).


Public transport is plentiful and runs right up to the venue via Lubbock’s Citibus line. Or, another mode to be on the lookout for are the numerous electric scooters scattered across the city and the campus; there is even a parking lot for these scooters right outside the arena if you want to give them a shot.


Return on Investment 3

Tickets for Texas Tech basketball start at $20 per person for general admission seating, which is a pretty good bargain for the action you get on court. This is especially true in a season like the current one (2018-19) where the Red Raiders are a contender for the national championship.


The concession prices are on par with other major Division I facilities, and you can find some pretty good bargains if you look. With free parking, you should be able to have an affordable evening at a gem of a facility in one of the most unique places in the state of Texas.


Extras 3

I personally love going to college games because of all the accompanying pomp and circumstance that the teams bring to the games, and Texas Tech is no exception. The band (the Goin’ Band from Raiderland) is there for games at United Supermarkets Arena, as are the cheerleaders and Texas Tech Pom Squad. In addition, the mascot Raider Red is there to patrol the baselines and entertain the fans.


You can also expect an appearance from Tech’s other mascot, the Masked Rider – though without her horse (Fearless Champion) which would be wildly impractical in a basketball arena, so she does lose a little bit of her mystique.


Oh yeah, make sure you get there in time for the announcement of the starting lineups for one main reason: pyrotechnics.


Final Thoughts

United Supermarkets Arena is a truly fantastic facility – Texas Tech has done a great job of honoring its history and heritage while embracing all of the “new” that caters to fans of all ages. If you’re a fan of college hoops, add this stop to your bucket list; I think you will enjoy it.


Follow Eric Moreno’s Stadium Journey on Twitter at @EricMoreno6477.

Visit Eric Moreno’s writer’s portfolio site at ericmoreno.contently.com.

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