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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

Xfinity Center – Maryland Terrapins (MBB)


Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

Xfinity Center 2001 Paint Branch Dr College Park, MD 20740


Year Opened: 2002

Capacity: 17,950

 

Fear The Turtle

Xfinity Center is the home arena to the Maryland Terrapins men’s and women’s basketball teams. The 17,950-seat arena opened in fall of 2002, replacing the much smaller and outdated Cole Field House. It is located on UMD’s campus in College Park, just outside Washington, D.C. on a campus home to over 37,000 students. The Terps’ motto is “Fear the Turtle”, reflecting both the fear the team instills in opponents and the Terrapin mascot. However, this slogan is not as prominent as it has been in years past.

Maryland was the defending national champion when their shining new arena opened, and for the first

few seasons, almost every home game was a sellout or nearly so. Although the Terrapins are no longer

the national powerhouse they were at the turn of the century, the Xfinity Center is still one of the top

basketball venues in the country in terms of energy level, atmosphere, and quality.


Food & Beverage 4

The Xfinity Center has pretty much the same classic offerings you’d find anywhere, with main courses including hamburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, boneless wings, hot dogs, and pizza, as well as side dishes such as fries. Local chain The Greene Turtle has a stand which sells boneless wings and crab cake sandwiches. Fans with a sweet tooth can buy boozy ice cream as well as regular ice cream (by which we mean non-alcoholic, not boring) from the UMD Creamery right on campus.

For those who require kosher meals, there is a certified kosher stand available outside section 121

selling items such as deli sandwiches and falafel in addition to stadium classics such as hot dogs and

popcorn. Note that due to Jewish religious laws, the stand is not open for Friday and Saturday home

games, nor on certain Jewish holidays where food cannot be prepared and/or served.


Atmosphere 5

The Xfinity Center is a large arena with two levels, plus some courtside seats for top donors. The student section occupies the lower rows on one sideline, plus a towering wall behind one basket that extends from floor to ceiling. All seats have a decent view of the action, even the ones far away.

Before each game is a lengthy pregame program, featuring multiple hype videos to get the crowd hyped. When they introduce the Terrapins lineup, the lights go out and fans are encouraged to turn on the flashlights on their phones, creating an impressive display.

During one media timeout in the second half, a giant Maryland flag is unfurled in the student wall, as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey plays in the arena. Marylanders love their flag, and this is a unique tradition you will find nowhere else.

The Terps have a mascot named Testudo, who unsurprisingly is a terrapin turtle. He tends to stay near the court during games rather than roaming the stands. Unless you are sitting close to the floor, you will likely not get to interact with him.



Neighborhood 3

College Park is a small college town with enough in the immediate area to get by but is nothing special. There is a bowling alley a couple of miles away, and a bunch of chain restaurants within walking distance. If you’re looking for some local color, College Park Diner is a favorite with residents and students alike and serves up comfort food 24 hours a day. Looney’s Pub on Route 1 is a sports bar with dozens of big-screen TVs for your viewing pleasure. A couple of hotels are located nearby, including a Marriott just off campus, and The Hotel on campus. (Yes, the on-campus hotel is called The Hotel. Not a very creative name).

That being said, if you’re looking to do more than eat and sleep, your best bet is to head down to the Metro station and take the Green Line into D.C. It’s about a 30-minute ride to downtown. Once you’re there, there’s so much to do and most of it is free.


Whether it’s visiting one of the historic monuments and memorials, visiting one of the numerous museums, or simply walking outside on the National Mall, there’s something for everyone. All government-run attractions are free to the public, though some privately-run ones are not. Just keep in mind if you want to tour the Capitol or White House, you will need to reserve that ahead of time.


Fans 5

Although Maryland no longer sells out every home game, the fans still show up in large numbers and are loud and raucous. The floor-to-ceiling wall of students is imposing and brings the energy throughout the game. The other fans will get involved as well, making the Xfinity Center extremely loud at times.

One student tradition of note takes place when the visiting team is being introduced before the game. The student will read newspapers which have been provided for them, shunning the visiting team. Once the Terrapins are introduced, they tear up the papers and get loud until the game is over.



Access 3

Unless you are a season ticket holder or donor, any official option option for parking at the Xfinity Center is going to involve walking quite a ways. the Regents Drive Garage costs $20 for non-conference games or $23 for conference games and is about a ten minute walk away. The Stadium Drive Garage is free to park in but is a 15-20 minute walk. Parking passes closer to the arena are available on the secondary market but will likely cost much more than buying through the school.

The concourses at the Xfinity Center are more than wide enough to accommodate the crowds, with lots of open space and plenty of signs directing you where to go. Restrooms are located throughout the concourse and the lines are not an issue.

Unfortunately, getting out of the garages after the game can be quite a problem. There is little traffic control and cars can get extremely backed up. Getting out of surface lots is easier, but unless you're a season ticket holder or donor, you will need to turn to the secondary market to park there.

Return on Investment 3

The cost of a Terps game will vary widely depending on the opponent. For a non-conference opponent from a low-major conference, tickets will be reasonably affordable through the team and you can probably get them for below face value on the secondary market. Tickets against fellow Big 10 schools will start at between $35 and $50 for upper level tickets.

Of course, that is not the only cost of attending a game. Parking will cost at least $20 unless you are willing to walk a long distance, and concessions can get expensive as well.

While a Terps basketball game is a great experience, it has a high price commensurate with that.

Extras 5

Look for the trophy case in the lobby with trophies from the Terrapins' men's and women's national basketball championships.

A second star for the banners in the rafters honoring Terrapins greats.

The traditions with the unfurling of the giant Maryland flag and the pregame reading of the newspapers by the student section are each worthy of an extra star here.

Look for the Terrapins Hall of Fame along the walls honoring Maryland greats of all sports.




Final Thoughts

Maryland basketball at the Xfinity Center is a great fan experience. From unique student traditions to raucous energy in a packed house, to chowing down on a crab cake from the Greene Turtle, fans will certainly have a good time taking in a Terps game here.

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