College Park Center – UT-Arlington Mavericks
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UT-Arlington Mavericks Basketball
College Park Center, or simply the CPC, is a multi-use arena on the campus of the University of Texas-Arlington. College Park Center is a $78 million, 218,000 square-foot facility which opened on February 1, 2012 as the university’s new athletic facility for the UTA Mavericks basketball and volleyball programs. The first event held in College Park Center was a doubleheader of the UTA men’s and women’s basketball programs versus UT-San Antonio.
The CPC has a capacity of 7,000 people for its events, and has been a wonderful addition, not only to the university, but to the community as well. The arena has hosted many concerts and high school graduations over the past 5 years, and in 2016 welcomed an WNBA franchise, the Dallas Wings.
Two National Invitation Tournament (NIT) games were played at College Park Center in March, 2017.
Food & Beverage 4
The concessions inside College Park Center provide adequate options for food and beverages during a Mavericks basketball game. The majority of the stands are named Ted E’s, including Ted E’s Grill, BBQ, and Tex-Mex. Stadium basics are well represented at Ted E’s Grill, with items available such as hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, and pretzels; Snickers ice cream and churros are also available to satisfy your sweet tooth. The price for these items is $3 to $5, but the cheapest way to go is the combo meals. The $10 combo baskets offer a choice of either a burger or chicken tenders, while the 1/4 pound Nathan’s hot dog basket is $7. Alternatively, you can get a plate from Ted E’s BBQ or Tex-Mex for between $6 and $10, with your choice of brisket, pulled pork, ground beef nachos, grilled chicken wrap, taco burger wrap, BBQ brisket, or various quesadillas; if you are hungry in this arena just find Ted E’s.
College Park Center serves Pepsi products. A small soda or Gatorade costs $4, while a large Pepsi product costs a dollar more. Alcoholic beverages are sold inside the arena, with beer products primarily from the Budweiser brand. Bud, Bud Light, and Michelob Ultra cost $7, while Stella Artois or Texas’ own ZiegenBock costs $8; wine is available as well for $7. You can also find margaritas, pina coladas, or daiquiris at the Maui Wowi stand, with prices ranging from $9 for a small to $14 dollars for a large.
Besides the above, you can also find a few more food and beverage choices dotted around the concourse, for example $6 roasted pecans and almonds, or Dippin’ Dots for $5 to $7. The concessions options here are perfect for the number of fans attending, the prices aren’t over the top compared to other arenas, and the service is good and fast.
The UT-Arlington basketball program hasn’t been the most successful sport on campus. However, the transfer from old Texas Hall to an upgraded facility at the College Park Center garners a lot more respect for the program, players, alumni, and fans of the Mavericks.
The great atmosphere of the college basketball world depends on a few ingredients. The student body is of course, number one, after all almost all of the arenas are on college campuses. The UTA students definitely show up and fill their section, and the spirit squad, along with Blaze, the Mavericks mascot, keep the crowd entertained. However, it is the Mavs brass band that really separates College Park Center’s atmosphere from other basketball arenas around the country. Unfortunately, the band is the only thing UTA can compete on, as the lack of attendance really hurts; the fans here only fill the bottom (100 level) of the two-tier arena. This makes for great seating for the fans, but the empty blue seats above give a high school gymnasium look to this Division 1 college program.
The crowd that does show up gets involved by cheering and heckling, but most of all by enjoying the outstanding basketball that the Mavericks are providing these days. Throughout the game, Shaunda Poster, UTA’s game host, does a wonderful job with the fans. Her upbeat and fun personality is contagious, and makes the atmosphere a fun-filled environment. However, overall atmosphere comes down to the energy inside the building, and that is hard to maintain without a large crowd. A winning program will help, and this is starting to become a reality here, but the Mavs still need a few more trips to NCAA tournaments, on a consistent basis, to really turn the crowd size around.
College Park Center is located on UT-Arlington’s campus in Arlington, Texas, between Dallas and Fort Worth (Arlington is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex). The campus is minutes away from the heart of Arlington’s entertainment district, and there are plenty of hotels and restaurants near the arena. In addition, several of Arlington’s more notable entertainment options are near College Park Center, including Globe Life Park, AT&T Stadium, Six Flags Over Texas, and Hurricane Harbor.
College Park Center is part of the College Park District, a 20-acre development plan to change UT-Arlington from a commuter school into more of a traditional college campus. The College Park District provides the university, as well as the surrounding neighborhood, with a residence hall, campus apartments, a university welcome center, a parking garage, and various shops and restaurants. The restaurants (such as Texadelphia, Pie Five Pizza, and Bombay Chopstix) are close enough so that you can park your car and have a pre or postgame meal; visit the College Park District website for more information.
If none of the restaurants listed above seems to interest you, then just a mile away on the north side of campus, in downtown Arlington, there are several more eateries, such as Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, J Gilligan’s Bar and Grill, Twisted Root Beer Company, and Grease Monkey Burger Shop.
The majority of the fans at College Park Center are students; these are the ones who are the loudest, sitting on the bleachers off the baseline, in the lower bowl with the band. The students are loud and passionate about supporting their school, especially after a Mavericks victory.
The rest of the fan base seems to be alumni or family members of the players. The hard-core basketball fan base is missing when it comes to UTA basketball, so there just aren’t enough fans to fill the beautiful College Park Center, night after night.
The biggest setback in accessing College Park Center is the lack of public transportation in the city of Arlington; Arlington is the largest city in the country, based on population, with no public transportation. However, when traveling by car, access to the on-campus arena is pretty easy. The campus is located between two major interstates, I-20 and I-30, and is in-between two large cities, Dallas and Fort Worth. The campus is also just a few miles from major sports landmarks such as AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park. There is plenty of signage in the area directing fans to the campus and to College Park Center.
College Park Center is built between two one-way streets, with a parking garage on the north side of the arena. The garage parking is very close and costs $10, and is really the only option when it comes to parking. The garage has plenty of room, even on the ground level, and is just a short walk from the CPC. Free or cheaper parking is tough to find in the surrounding area, as the campus lots require permits.
The CPC has four entrances that provide smooth and easy access into the arena. College Park Center enforces the currently popular clear bag policy as part of its security measures, and also has metal detectors. The concourses are well lit, with plenty of signage to help you to your seat, as well as to help you find the restrooms, concessions, fan relations desk, and souvenir stands.
There are three types of seating around the basketball court. You can sit in the bleachers along one of the baselines, or in cushioned leather seats in the first two rows around the court, but the rest of the seating consists of hard, blue stadium seats. All of the seating has cup holders, except the bleachers, and College Park Center doesn’t have a bad seat from which to watch college basketball.
Return on Investment 4
Ticket prices for UT-Arlington Mavericks games are relativity cheap for Division 1 college basketball, especially compared to the two nearby Division 1 schools, SMU’s Moody Coliseum and TCU’s Ed & Rae Schollmaier Arena. Prices range from $8 to $55, and tickets are available online with no service charge through the UTA box office, at www.utatickets.com.
$55 tickets may sound a little high for a Sun Belt Conference team, but those seats are located on the court, and are in plush leather chairs instead of your typical hard stadium seats. Alternatively, everyone seems to love center court seating, so for only $25 you can get those seats instead. Or, if you are looking for an even lower cost, the $12 seats are located outside center court but along the sidelines, while the $8 seats cover the baseline opposite the student section.
No matter what seat you choose, College Park Center has great sight lines with no bad seats in the building. Add that to a parking cost of $10 near the CPC entrances, coupled with decent concessions prices and top caliber college basketball talent, and attending a game here gives you an above average return on investment.
The low cost to see top college basketball in a wonderful arena is a plus. The intimate feel, along with great sight lines thanks to the arena’s seating structure, is also great. In addition, UTA basketball continues to display progress by staying competitive in the Sun Belt Conference.
College Park Center is a gem of an arena. Well-maintained, with the intimate feeling of a high school gymnasium, you get to see top college basketball talent in a great area like Dallas-Fort Worth. All of this makes a visit to a UT-Arlington Mavericks game well worthwhile.
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