Jerome Schottenstein Center – Ohio State Buckeyes
Photo Courtesy of Jacob Oliveria
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
Jerome Schottenstein Center 555 Borror Dr. Columbus, OH 43210
Year Opened: 1998
The Schott for Buckeye Hoops
When referencing “The Shot” in Columbus, Ohio, be prepared to talk about a kid from Loveland, Ohio named Matt Sylvester. Quite possibly the most famous moment in Buckeye hoops aside from their only National Title in 1960 is the three-pointer that knocked off undefeated Illinois in the final game of the 2005 regular season. This famous shot occurred in Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center on the campus of the Ohio State University, which is the other Schott on campus.
Though not full of historical moments, Buckeye basketball has made great strides in the ten years since Sylvester’s shot to put them among the elite in the Big Ten Conference. Most of the success of the program has occurred recently under the leadership of Thad Matta, with two trips to the Final Four (2007 and 2012) and at least a share of the Big Ten Title in 2006, 2007 and 2010-2012.
The arena seats 18,809 for basketball. It is too large to be considered one of the great college basketball venues. The feeling of intimacy is nonexistent inside the arena and is too difficult to sell out games due to the large size. The Schott is a multipurpose facility used for other events such as concerts, which can be the downfall of big budget programs. The prospect of revenue with an arena of this size outweighs enhancing the stadium experience with a more intimate feel. The venue is also home of the Ohio State hockey team.
Food & Beverage 4
The options in Value City Arena are solid and there are some vendors such as Donatos and Roosters that are favorites in the area. Pretzels, nachos, and popcorn will cost $4-$6. Sodas cost $4.50-$5.50.
The Brutus Pretzel is served with sweet cream cheese and other items which make the $12 worth it. The pizza from Donatos is a great choice at $7 and the Turkey BLT Sub is another good option at $8.
You must try the Rooster’s nest – crispy buffalo chicken tenders and fries topped with melted cheese, bacon and scallions. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Also be sure to grab a Graeter’s ice cream cup ($6). This is the most famous ice cream in Ohio and it started in Columbus!
Bottom line is you won’t be disappointed with the selection and taste of all of these items so be prepared to try some of them on game day.
The Buckeye Nuthouse is home to the Ohio State Student Section at each basketball game and they come to play themselves. Even though the overall atmosphere can’t compete with some of the top schools in the country, the students do their part to support the Buckeyes. Student leaders of the Nuthouse camp outside for every game to guarantee their spots in the front row.
In 2010, the school eventually moved the student section from behind the baskets to behind the benches so the students would be shown on television broadcasts. It really has made all of the difference in creating a rowdy environment and is the number one reason for the good atmosphere at Ohio State basketball games.
The band is also great, and you can really tell how much the fans love all of the songs by how much they participate.
Fans outside the student section can get loud and exciting during a big matchup like Wisconsin or Michigan State but are completely taken out of the equation against less talented schools. A game against lesser talent could almost be considered boring. The arena is too large and there just isn’t enough energy on these days.
Value City Arena is located on the campus of the Ohio State University, one of the best places to visit for any fan of college sports. However, the area is too spread out from the Schott and requires a long walk to visit anything of interest. The main place to go off campus is a walk along High Street where you can find a great Buffalo Wild Wings (which began in Columbus). This is a great place to hang before the game for some drinks and good food.
If you make the trip from out of town, be sure to check out Raising Canes Chicken Fingers, because it is the most popular spot to eat on campus. With the school’s location near the downtown area, the experience lacks a cozy small town feel like you’ll find at some of the state’s MAC schools (Bowling Green State University or Ohio University as examples). This is great for college football, but the combination of the large size of the basketball arena and city feel of the campus makes it seem more like a professional event.
Buckeye fans are some of the craziest, loudest, loving, hating, passionate fan bases in all of sports. The city seems to cry the day after a football loss, riots break out in the street after beating that team up North or taking home a National Title and the Buckeyes are the best in every sport, every time. When it comes to basketball, these fans are still here but lack the obsessive nature of the football program.
In any case, they are friendlier and more lenient of losses, which contributes to the lack of atmosphere on some days. This also makes these fans extremely approachable when visiting, so be sure get some accounts of Matt Sylvester’s shot in 2005, or the heartbreak of losing to Florida in the 2007 National Championship game (after losing to the same school in the football title game, not three months earlier). That was a tough year for Buckeye fans, and they’ll be happy to tell you about it. In the end, you’re going to hear some pretty great stories, especially from former students.
Value City Arena at The Schottenstein Center is located just off Ohio State Route 315. It’s really easy to find, but the traffic and commuting can become very difficult. Also, parking around the arena is not efficient due to the large amount of “passes only” spaces.
The best thing to do is to find some parking further down Lane Avenue, away from the arena. You should be able to find a spot for $10, or you can park near High Street for free. Just make sure it’s not a tow away zone.
Once inside the arena, the concourses are a little snug, but the seats are very comfortable and the staff is extremely friendly when helping to find a seat. Lines for concessions and restrooms can become unbearably long during breaks, and also make it very difficult to navigate through crowds at this time.
Return on Investment 3
Ticket prices are too high for Buckeye basketball and are highly inflated for “prime” matchups. My advice is not to participate in Ticketmaster because of the extra fees added on to the ticket. The ticket office will help you find an affordable seat without the fees.
Expect to pay at least $22 for a seat in the upper bowl and over $50 for anywhere else. On my latest trip for Senior Day, I ended up paying $37 for the upper bowl due to the big matchup versus conference-leading Wisconsin. Just call the OSU Ticket Office at (614) 292-2624 for details.
Overall, a day watching Buckeye basketball will cost more money than you want to spend for the experience.
One point for the Buckeye Nuthouse and one of the best student sections and student organizations in the country.
Another point for “Hells Bells” before the game. The students lock their arms together and sway back and forth in alternate motions to create a great pregame tradition. This could turn into one of the best if there was more participation from the fans.
One last point for the views of Ohio Stadium in the distance. One of the coolest parts of your trip will be driving right alongside this concrete beast, a beautiful sight for any college sports fan. Unfortunately, Value City Arena lacks even half the fervor.
Some people in Columbus say winning the National Championship in football in 2015 was the worst thing that could have happened to the basketball program. There is some truth to this. The environment for basketball games lost a lot of passion, but it is cyclical. If you can catch this program on a good year, it can be one of the best.
As of right now, the arena is too big and can’t be filled for every game, giving some experiences an empty feeling. The former home of Buckeye Basketball, St. Johns Arena, would provide a better experience just for the sheer closeness of the stands. Having a professional feeling in a college environment takes away from the overall experience. When this happens, just glance over to The Buckeye Nuthouse, they’ll remind you where you are.