Bank of Colorado Arena – Northern Colorado Bears

by | Feb 11, 2019 | Meg Minard, NCAA Basketball

Fanfare Score

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UNC Bears Basketball

The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) basketball team plays at the Bank of Colorado Arena in Greeley, CO about 60 miles north-northeast of Denver.

Formerly known as the Butler-Hancock Hall, in 2014 the university announced a 15-year naming right agreement with the Bank of Colorado and renamed the arena to the Bank of Colorado Arena at Butler Hancock Athletic Center.

The University of Northern Colorado’s men’s basketball team began play in 1901 just 12 years after the founding of the university.  They have played in a variety of different conferences; the longest tenure was the Rocky Mountain Faculty Athletic Conference (RMFAC) from 1924 – 1968.  They have played in the Big Sky Conference since the 2006/2007 season.  They made the NCAA tournament once in 2010 where they lost in the second round.   They won the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament in 2018.

The women’s basketball team, volleyball and wrestling teams also call Bank of Colorado Arena home.

Food & Beverage 2

Basic stadium fare is offered at the Bank of Colorado Arena at affordable prices.

Two concession stands on either side of the entrance offer the same items. Choices include hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, popcorn, pickles, flavored ice, and candy/chips ($1.50 – $3.75). Pepsi is the soda provider ($4) and it is nice to see Diet Dr Pepper in the selection.

There is a Papa John’s tent that offers slices.  Beer is served for $7 and includes your traditional Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Coors Light, Shock Top and two flavors of Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

A small souvenir table is to the left of the entryway that sells UNC Bears shirts, caps, banners, etc., though no hat pins.

I recommend eating at one of the many outstanding eating/drinking establishments in Greeley and then getting a snack at the arena, if needed.

Atmosphere 3

Bank of Colorado Arena provides an extremely comfortable game day experience.

The seats are wide and legroom is marvelous.  Seating sections are on all four sides of the court with the ‘Bear Den’ – student section – behind one of the baskets and the General Admission seats behind the opposite basket.  The sideline rows go from A to Q with rows O, P, and Q containing plastic benches (no backs) while the remainder rows have spacious blue stadium fold down seats.  Steps up the rows have banisters and the step height is lower than average, making them easier to ascend and descend for those who need it.  Sit is section M to see the center court logo.

No scoreboard is suspended from the center court rafters which fits this venue admirably.  Instead, two video scoreboards are hung in opposite corners which display the game action, replays, and team stats such as fouls, turnovers, free throw %, etc. throughout the match.  The other corners have dot matrix panels showing individual player stats, the score and time remaining.

The music level is perfect (not intrusive) and the temperature of the arena is comfortably warm.

The Bears provide traditional basketball promotions such as T’s for Three’s, yell for your Papa John’s pizza or Jimmy John’s sandwich.  Cheerleaders and a pep squad appear throughout the game with some individuals doing backflips along the sidelines during breaks in the action.

At the game of this review, several dance teams performed during half time:  the cheerleaders, the Sugar Bears dance team and the Paws dance team.

Neighborhood 4

Greeley is a small college town and has plenty to offer for entertainment, activity and enjoyment.

8th Ave has several dining establishments in its historic downtown area adjacent to Lincoln Park, just two miles from the Bank of Colorado Arena.  JBs Drive In, Daruma Japanese, Roma Restaurant (pizza and beer), Rio Grande (Mexican place) are worth checking out for a meal.

Greeley has several craft breweries, the most delicious (thus dangerous) is WeldWerks (especially if IPAs are favored).  Brix Brewery & Taphouse offers 60 beers on tap including their own craft beer as well as tasty bites of grub – they are not open on Mondays.

For tourist places to visit, check out the Meeker Home Museum (Meeker is known as the founder of Greeley), the Centennial Village Museum (this does close for the winter so it may not be open when attending a basketball game), or the Colorado Model Railroad Museum.  The Greeley Stampede has been operating for 98 years but again, this is held in the summer so will not be open during basketball season.

Other sports in the area include UNC baseball at Jackson Field, UNC football at Nottingham Field and one may be able to catch a double header with the nearby Colorado Eagles (AHL) several times a season.

For places to stay if in town visiting, DoubleTree by Hilton Greeley at Lincoln Park, the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center or the Currier Inn Bed and Breakfast are all in the downtown area.

Fans 3

The UNC Bears fans are very supportive.  They all stand and cheer at great blocks and shots.

In the past few years average attendance has ranged from 1250 – 1325 per game.  Average attendance in this 2018-19 season is 1545 a game so it is increasing.

The fan demographic varies. Students, alumni, families, kids and retired folks all join together in backing the team.  At the game of this review, it was wonderful seeing many other UNC athletes supporting the men on the court.

Access 3

Getting to the arena from out of town is okay.  Greeley is not located right off any interstate and one must travel ten or more miles from any interstate on four-lane state highways.   Once in Greeley getting to the arena is relatively easy as it is a small town.

Parking is right outside the main entrance and is free (it was $5 the last time I went several years ago so this is a nice treat).    Ticket booths open 1 ½ hours before tip off and are located outside the main entrance.  A short check of the bags and you’re in the small entrance.  Turn left or right to get the concessions and then do an about face and there’s the court and seating.

The only concourse is the entry area with the two concessions and clean rest rooms.  Fans stay in their seats for the game, however, the concourse may get a bit congested at half time.

Return on Investment 3

Ticket prices range from $7 (youth general admission) to $17 (adult premium reserved), these prices include that annoying $2 additional fee when purchased game day.  Even so, it’s a great investment of your sports travel dollar.

Parking is free and concessions are very reasonable.

It’s nothing fancy but it’s a good two hours or so of entertainment on the court.

Extras 3

Bonus items include the vast amount of legroom in the seating area and the wide chair width making it quite a comfortable stadium seating arrangement.

The town of Greeley is well worth visiting with plenty of bars, restaurants, breweries, and other entertainment choices.

It is truly a comfortable, small intimate setting for a basketball game.

Final Thoughts

Attending a game here is worth the effort as it is a small, welcoming venue and watching the game provides a friendly, enjoyable sports afternoon or night out.

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Food and Drink Recommendations

Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

825 9th St

Greeley, CO 80631

(970) 304-9292

https://riograndemexican.com/locations/greeley/


Brix Brewery & Taphouse

813 8th St

Greeley, CO 80631

(970) 397-6146

http://brixbrewtap.com/


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Entertainment Recommendations

The Meeker Home Museum

1324 9th Ave

Greeley, CO 80631

(970) 350-9220

https://greeleymuseums.com/locations/meeker-home/


Colorado Model Railroad Museum

680 10th St

Greeley, CO 80631

(970) 392-2934

https://www.cmrm.org/


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Lodging Recommendations

DoubleTree by Hilton Greeley at Lincoln Park

919 7th St

Greeley, CO 80634

(970) 304-0000

https://doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hotels/colorado/doubletree-by-hilton-greeley-at-lincoln-park-DENGCDT/index.html


Currier Inn Bed and Breakfast

1221 9th Ave

Greeley, CO 80631

(970) 392-1221

http://www.greeleybedandbreakfast.com/


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Stadium Info

Bank of Colorado Arena
1600 14th Ave
Greeley, CO 80631

Northern Colorado Bears website

Bank of Colorado Arena website

Year Opened: 1975

Capacity: 2,734

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