Moda Center – Portland Trail Blazers
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Previously known as the Rose Garden Arena, the Moda Center is the home of the Portland Trailblazers as well as the newly re-named Portland Steel of the AFL. It also houses the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL on a part time basis. The building was opened in 1995 and seats 19,980 for basketball. Some of the other events held in the arena over the years include concerts, PBR Rodeo events, monster truck rallies, MMA, and pro wrestling events. The WWE used the facility for two Pay Per View events (Unforgiven 2004 & No Mercy 2008). The UFC held UFC 102 in the Moda Center as well.
The arena also sports a Mitsubishi high definition video board and a top of the line JBL sound system that adds greatly to the fans experience. Attending an event at the Moda Center is a first class experience.
Food & Beverage 5
The Moda Center has a multitude of food and beverage choices for fans. In addition to the typical arena cuisine options, now run by Levy Restaurants, the management has enlisted local restaurants to cater to the dining selections. Some of the choices include:
Sizzle Pie – A pizza place that names its menu from heavy metal bands/songs. Their motto is “Death to false pizza,” and features the “Ace of Spades” (Pepperoni).
Killer Burger – Features a “Peanut Butter, Pickle & Bacon” burger for $10.25.
Seven Rivers Smokehouse BBQ – Cheddar Meltdown for $9.75 (nachos with cheddar and BBQ pork or beef).
Po’Shines Cafe De La Soul – Chicken & Waffles for $11.25.
No trip to the Northwest is complete without coffee. Buzzsaw, features Stumptown coffee (also a local business) for $4.25-$5.
Beer from some of the Northwest’s best microbrews are available as well. Widmer Bros. & Pyramid are $8-$9. Wine (also a Northwest staple), from Local Cork, can be had for $10-$12.
As far as the typical arena choices you will find hot dogs ($6.50), soft drinks ($5.50 all the way up to $9.50 for the commemorative cup), burgers, pretzels, and popcorn available as well.
The Blazers are the longest tenured professional team in Portland, and have a huge following. Upon entering the arena, you can’t help but notice the history of the Blazer franchise. All around the concourse, you see pictures of players, coaches, and executives alike. Bill Walton’s jersey from the 1977 championship team is framed and on display.
When you get to your seat, you will see banners of division and conference titles, along with the lone NBA championship on one side, and retired jerseys hanging from the other side. The list of retired numbers is long for the Trail Blazers. The list includes Larry Weinberg (#1), Dave Twardzik (#13), Lionel Hollins (#14), Larry Steele (#15), Maurice Lucas (#20), Clyde Drexler (#22), Terry Porter (#30), Bob Gross (#30), Bill Walton (#32), Lloyd Neal (#36), Geoff Petrie (#45), Jack Ramsay (#77, in honor of coaching the ’77 championship team), and an additional honor for long-time broadcaster Bill Schonely.
The Trailblazer organization takes great pride in their history, and is bold about telling visitors just where they’ve been. Being the only major league team in the city for many years, the Blazers are still THE game in town.
The Moda Center is situated between I-5 and the Willamette River in the Lloyd Section of Portland. The Rose Quarter boasts Dr. Jack’s, a restaurant/bar that is the place to be before and after the game. Dr. Jack’s is a tribute to former coach Jack Ramsay, who led the Blazers to their only NBA title.
The Spirit of 77, also in reference to the team’s only championship, is also a hot spot before and after the game. It is a bit of a walk from the arena, but worth the walk. Downtown Portland is two miles away and has many interesting spots. Voodoo Doughnut is a must. The Bacon Maple Bars are great.
I can’t imagine any other fans being more passionate or knowledgeable than Blazer fans. They have a reputation around the league for being such. The concourse, during play, is a ghost town. Everyone is in the arena cheering on the Blazers. Attention to the on the court action is second to none. You don’t see the typical “I’m just here with friends because they had an extra ticket” type of attendee. True, hardcore fans, who live and die with the team, are the norm. They are attentive, loud, and respectful – but they don’t mind letting you know exactly how they feel.
Public transportation is the way to go when attending an event in the Rose Quarter. The MAX (light rail), and the Portland Streetcar sandwich the property. Parking is available for $20, valet parking is also available. There are a few smaller garage type areas close for a lower price, but they fill up quickly. Businesses open their lots for game day in the vicinity of the arena if you don’t mind walking a little. You can find parking on the streets, but that also fills up quickly.
Inside there is plenty of room to maneuver. The concourse is quite wide and can easily handle a full house. Handicap access and seating is sufficient for the crowds. Bathrooms are sizable and lines are usually short.
Return on Investment 5
A game ticket, based on season ticket prices, ranges from $10 – $199. Specific game prices vary based on the opponent (prices are set when the schedule is released). A ticket in any range is well worth the price. The organization is committed to having the best fan experience in the NBA.
Capital improvements that are planned include retail kiosks on the upper levels to enhance access to merchandise, upgrades to Wi-Fi access, and the installation of a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) for wireless phones, and a complete redesign of the court floor (as voted on by the fans).
Each fan receives a free program upon entering the facility that contains stats, team history and other pertinent information. Fans can get their faces airbrushed in red, black, and white (team colors).
Blaze, the Blazers mascot celebrated a birthday on the night of this review. Guests for the “party” included mascots from other sports teams including from the NBA – Bear (Utah Jazz), Boomer (Indiana Pacers), Clutch (Houston Rockets), Moondog (Cleveland Cavaliers) & Pierre (New Orleans Pelicans), from the NFL – Blitz (Seattle Seahawks), from the NCAA – Beaver (Oregon State University), and from MiLB – Sluggo (Eugene Emeralds). Between the first and second quarters, the mascots had a trampoline dunk contest. At halftime, the party continued with a Royal Rumble Style wrestling match on a blow up style ring.
A big plus for acknowledging “Hometown Heroes,” local military people who have served or are currently serving. The Blazers organization and its employees are first class.
An NBA game at the Moda Center should be on the bucket list of any basketball fan. The crowd responses to the action make it an ideal place for any sports fan.
Food and Drink Recommendations
Crowne Plaza Portland
1441 NE 2nd Ave
Portland, OR 97232
Quality Inn Downtown Convention Center
431 NE Multnomah St
Portland, OR 97232
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