Xfinity Center – Maryland Terrapins
Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Xfinity Center 2001 Paint Branch Dr College Park, MD 20740
Year Opened: 2002
Xfinity Center is one of the best college basketball arenas in the country. The men’s team at the University of Maryland uses the large crowded arena as a clear advantage in their games. The women’s team, often does not have that large of a crowd to help them in their games. There are a few well selling games, and occasional sellouts against big opponents, but the atmosphere is a bit lower than at a men’s game. Although maybe not as “crazy,” visitors will still witness a good sports program.
Since 2002, the Terrapins have been to the NCAA tournament every year with five Elite Eight and two Final Four appearances. On April 4, 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts, the Frese-led Terps beat Duke 78-75 to win the NCAA championship.
The University of Maryland, College Park was founded in 1856, as the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland. Currently, there are more than 37,000 students at the Prince George’s County campus. The university is located inside the Washington, DC Beltway.
Maryland’s sports teams are the Terrapins, often shortened to the Terps. Testudo is the name of the iconic mascot of the sports teams. Around campus, you will hear and see the phrase “FEAR THE TURTLE.” The diamondback terrapins make their home around the Chesapeake Bay region. The Maryland state flag also will be seen all around the venue. The school and the state are very proud of its vibrant and unique flag, which consists of the heraldic banner of George Calvert, Lord Baltimore. It is the only US state flag to be directly based on English heraldry.
Maryland was a charter member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) when it began in 1953. The school has had a long history of rivalries with North Carolina, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Duke, Virginia, Clemson and Georgia Tech. It came as a shock to many fans when the school jumped to the Big Ten Conference in 2014.
Cole Field House was the previous home to the Terps’ basketball programs before the new arena’s opening in 2002. Currently, Cole Field House is being remodeled into an indoor football facility.
Food & Beverage 3
There are many stands around the concourses of the arena. Generally, they have generic names, such as Chesapeake Cuisine and Plaza Grill. You will find that not all of the stands are open for the women’s games, especially on the top level concourse.
Hamburgers are $6.75, hot dogs $3, nachos $5 and grilled chicken sandwiches $5.75. Popcorn is $4, with pretzels ($3.75), Cracker Jack ($3.75), and peanuts ($4) also available. Sodas are $4-$5. Boardwalk Fries are also available for $5, with Seasons Pizza at $6. The best food option is the choices from the Maryland Dairy, as their ice cream is quite delicious.
There is also a Chick-fil-A stand found in the concourse selling chicken sandwiches.
The food options will not blow you away, but they are consistent and fairly priced for an arena.
It is easy to compare a visit to a women’s game to a men’s game. Don’t do it. Unfortunately, women’s sports fans do not have the same fervor pitch as many men’s sports. But the crowds here can still be shockingly large and will be very engaged in the games. The only thing that keeps it a bit less intense is that since the entire venue is available for seating, any noise is spread out a bit. There are a few sellout or bigger attended events when big opponents come to town.
There is also a smaller student section than at the men’s games. Usually the main student section, known as “The Wall” is covered by a large Maryland state flag. Students who do attend are spread into parts of six sections, instead.
A pep band, cheerleading squad and marching teams are all in attendance.
Xfinity Center is at the rear of campus, just off of University Blvd., and not near almost any businesses, let alone the main part of the campus. Its predecessor was close to places like the Stamp Union and the majority of the campus dorms. This facility is close to the campus farm, and that is about it.
The town of College Park is located directly south of the campus along U.S. Route 1. RJ Bentley’s Filling Station, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Jimmy John’s, Ledo Pizza, and Five Guys are all good options in this “downtown” area. Looney’s Pub and Bobby’s Burger Palace are two other great options, and are located in The Varsity building (8150 Baltimore Ave) north of the downtown area, and may be even closer to the arena if walking.
The Sheraton College Park North Hotel at 4095 Powder Mill Road in nearby Beltsville is the best lodging choice, but it is not within walking distance of the campus.
You will always have the dizzying array of Washington, DC options to choose from. The College Park Station of the Washington Metro is close by, and is your best bet for getting to DC.
The impact from the student section is missing quite a bit from what is seen at the men’s games. But there will still be a good amount of fans who are intensely into the games. Conference games will get more attention from the fans than the non-conference games.
The arena is designed in a manner that takes all the sound and amplifies it. So no matter the amount of fans, the place can get loud.
The University of Maryland is not far from the Washington Beltway. But it is just far enough away that getting to Xfinity Center is not too easy, either. U.S. 1 and University Boulevard are full of traffic lights, and will be very full of traffic, even on non-game days.
If travelling to the game via the Washington Metro, get off at the College Park Station and take the shuttle directly to the stadium.
Parking is free for women’s games, but attending games on weeknights means the area is a bit more crowded than on weekend games.
Return on Investment 4
Reserved tickets are $10 for non-conference and $12 for conference games. Six sections of the arena are reserved. Besides band, student, birthday party, luxury suites and media seating, the rest of the arena is open for general admission seating. Prices for that ticket level are $8 and $10, depending on the game. Youth (3-17) and Senior (62+) are $6/$8, also depending on the game.
A good deal is the “Mini-Packs Reserved Seating Pick Four,” which gives you any four games for $35. There is also always deals and special programs available on the team’s website.
The lobby of the Xfinity Center is home to the Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame & History Center. Take the chance to look at the proud history of the Terps.
The floor from Cole Field House is found on the wall in one part of the lobby. It is a good time to pause and think about the historic events that happened in the Terps’ former home. In 1966, Texas Western, now the University of Texas at El Paso, defeated the Kentucky Wildcats, led by Adolph Rupp, to win the national championship. It was the first game in which five black players started in NCAA Division I history. That game is considered one of the most important games in the history of college sports. Cole Field House still holds the distinction of being the site of the most upsets of top-ranked men’s basketball teams.
The other team making their home in Xfinity Center has also been quite successful. The men’s team has been a consistent winner, and in 2002, they also brought home the national championship.
A large Terrapin Team Shop is found in the lobby. Expect to see many Under Armour products, as the founder of the sportswear company, Kevin Plank, is a graduate of Maryland as well as being a major supporter of the Terps’ athletic program.
Xfinity Center is one of the best basketball arenas in the country and the Terrapin women’s team is consistently a Top Ten program. That combination alone, makes a trip here a great choice for sports fans.