Coors Event Center – Colorado Buffaloes
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Raucous Home for Buffaloes Basketball
Now nearing its 40th birthday, an empty Coors Events Center does not present an example of fine architecture. Once filled for basketball, however, it has become one of the nation’s top college basketball venues. It boasts a robust student section, one of the top teams in the Pac-12 Conference, and a fun environment for college basketball. Head Coach Tad Boyle, since taking over the CU program in 2010, has consistently had the Buffs among the league’s top teams. Fans – and particularly students – have responded to the team’s success, regularly packing the Coors Events Center and providing a loud intangible with which opponents must deal.
Food & Beverage 4
Fans can certainly find traditional stadium fare at Coors Events Center. Hot dogs ($5.25), spicy chicken sandwiches ($9.25), cheeseburgers ($8.50), and nachos ($9.25) are offered at the arena’s primary concession stands. Locally started Old Chicago also sells cheese and pepperoni pizza for $9.25.
For those wanting something more than hot dogs and cheeseburgers, the Coors Events Center offers a couple of good options. Pat’s Wood Shack BBQ has brisket, pulled pork, chicken, ribs, and sausage available in sandwiches and platters, along with mac and cheese. It’s better quality than most stadium fare and a good alternative to the old stand-bys. Fans can also find smoothies and specialty popcorn throughout the Events Center.
The Events Center has beer gardens on its east and west sides, as well as a pre-game club room located in one of the Buffs practice gyms where beer and wine are sold. Not surprisingly given the arena’s named sponsor, Coors products are available. While beer cannot be taken to the seating area, fans can enjoy beer and wine in these areas.
The BBQ is the best bet at the Coors Events Center, providing a high-quality meal that is something different from typical stadium food. Additionally, the pre-game club room is a fun place to gather for beer and food, and to watch college basketball games on big-screen TVs.
The student section, the CUnit, has enhanced the atmosphere more than anything else. The students are loud, enthusiastic, and sit just a few feet from the south baseline. This enhances the experience of watching a CU game and presents a challenge for opponents.
The Coors Events Center is an octagon, with fans entering on a top concourse below which all seats are located. The arena does not have a scoreboard suspended from the ceiling, so sight lines from the upper seats are not obstructed. Seats extend to just a few feet from the baseline and sidelines; fans are generally close to the action. Scoreboards with video screens have been placed in each corner. While the video boards could be upgraded to improve the quality of replays, the scoreboards themselves include statistical summaries for the players in the game.
The Buffs have a good, lights-dimmed player intro sequence at the start of the game. Chip, the Buffs mascot, frequently interacts with fans throughout the venue. The overall sound quality from the PA system and the band is good.
Most seats in the arena are good in that they are close to the action and have unobstructed sight lines. The general admission seating extends from the Events Center’s north end line are perhaps the exception. Fans in these seats may have trouble seeing the action in the close front court, as the backboard, which drops down from the ceiling, can block a clear view of play.
The Coors Events Center sits on the University of Colorado’s spectacular campus, not far from several bars and restaurants. The Events Center is easily accessible from other points within Boulder and a short walk from just about everywhere on campus. There is bike parking nearby for fans not wanting to drive to a game (weather permitting, of course).
Given the Events Center’s location, there is no shortage of restaurants and breweries for pre and postgame grub. Just across Baseline Road from campus are several restaurants, including Illegal Pete’s (Mexican) and The Taj, which has some of Boulder’s best Indian food and a lunch buffet.
The University of Colorado boasts a first-rate aerospace engineering program and it displays that program in a couple of different places. First, Fiske Planetarium is located just a few steps from the Coors Events Center. It has a 65-foot diameter dome, and hosts live astronomy events and laser shows. Along the same lines, the University’s Sommers-Bausch Observatory provides public tours and viewing nights.
Hotel options close to the Coors Events Center are not high end, but are close. The closest to the Events Center is the Best Western Plus Boulder Inn, located just an easy, half-mile walk away. The Millennium Harvest House is likewise less than a mile from the Events Center.
The student section powers the fan experience. CU students are loud, boisterous, and knowledgeable. They understand their collective role in the game and know the Buffs history with Pac-12 opponents and players. CU offers what might be college sports’ greatest bargain: a $99 pass that provides admission to all of the school’s sporting events, including basketball and football games.
Boyle’s Buffs have enjoyed a surge in interest, ticket sales, and attendance in recent years. He and his staff have improved the quality of non-conference opponents and this has also stoked enthusiasm in the program. Coors does not generally fill to capacity while students are on breaks. But, particularly during Pac-12 Conference play, the Buffs can be a tough ticket.
Fans arrive early and are engaged from before tip-off. They are loud and a factor in the game.
Coors does not have a “front door” entrance but has several ways to enter around the building. Once inside, the concourses are sufficiently wide to permit easy movement.
Local mass transit does not specifically serve the Coors Events Center. One local route, RTD-Denver’s Stampede bus line, does link CU’s East Campus with stops near the Events Center.
In what may be one of college sports’ other great bargains, parking for CU games at Coors is free in an adjacent garage and parking lots. The garage, called the Regent Autopark, is closest to the arena. Lots 418 and 436 are also good options.
There is not a best gate in which to enter. But the gates on the arena’s west side can offer stunning views of the Flatirons and good access to the ticket windows.
Coors Events Center has a wide concourse that circumnavigates the seating area below it. Fans move around without issue. Restrooms are clean and plentiful. Fans needing assistance with mobility have elevators available and close-in parking.
Return on Investment 5
CU basketball is an excellent bargain, both for students and the general public. Prices for single-game tickets start at $15 for non-conference games and $20 for Pac-12 Conference games. Again, a student ticket — which includes access to all CU home sporting events — is just $99 per year. And, again, parking is free, as are poster-programs that include each team’s roster and schedule/results.
The most expensive seat in the house is $65. Considering the quality of play and close proximity to the floor, this is a great deal — particularly when factoring free parking. Food and beverage costs are what fans should expect to pay at a sporting event. All in all, CU basketball provides a fun experience for fans at an outstanding cost.
Fans can purchase five-game mini-plans that start at $75 per ticket for general admission.
Parking is free, as are high-quality poster-programs that provide team rosters and results for both the Buffs and the visitors.
Coors Events Center features banners and photos that honor past greats in men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and volleyball.
Arena staff have temporary tattoos and sign-making for kids and Chip, the Buffs mascot, is ubiquitous at the Coors Events Center.
The Events Center is a zero waste facility, with a strong commitment to recycling throughout the venue.
Fans can experience Pac-12 basketball at a reasonable cost at the Coors Events Center. The students’ enthusiasm sets the tone for fans to root on the Buffs in a loud and fun way. Boyle’s teams have increased in talent and CU has created a home game experience that befits the play on the floor.
Food and Drink Recommendations
Best Western Plus Boulder Inn
770 28th St
Boulder, CO 80303
Millennium Harvest House Boulde
1345 28th St
Boulder, CO 80302
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