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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Case Gymnasium - Boston University Terriers

Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71

Case Gymnasium 285 Babcock St Boston, MA 02215

Boston University Terriers website

Case Gymnasium website

Year Opened: 1972

Capacity: 1,800


Up On the Roof

Case Gymnasium, referred to at Boston University as “The Roof,” is the home to the Terriers men’s and women’s basketball teams. The Roof is located on the top floor of the Harold Case Physical Education Center, above the Walter Brown Arena, and adjacent to Nickerson Field.

The gym stands on the site of Braves Field, which served as the home field of the Boston Braves of Major League Baseball before they moved to Milwaukee in 1953. The Case Athletic Center stands approximately where the left field pavilion once stood.

When Boston University built Agganis Arena for the men’s hockey team in 2005, the school moved a portion of the men’s basketball schedule to the new building. Unfortunately, the smaller crowds that generally turn out for Boston University basketball were swallowed up in the larger facility. In 2015 it was decided to return all basketball games to the cozy confines of Case Gym.

The Terriers have qualified for the NCAA tournament seven times, going all the way to the Elite Eight in 1959. In addition, Boston University has qualified for the NIT six times. Five Boston University alumni have gone on to play in the NBA.

Food & Beverage 1

There is a small concession stand at Case Gymnasium that will satisfy any Terrier fans who need a snack during the action. There’s not a whole lot offered here, with hot dogs and assorted snacks comprising the entire menu. On the plus side, nothing on the menu costs more than four dollars. Pepsi products are featured at Case Gym. There is no alcohol served at this on-campus facility.

Atmosphere 2

One of the things that separates college basketball from the professional version is the presence of pep bands, student sections, and cheerleading squads. At Case Gym the pep band leads the way in creating a lively atmosphere. They play during all stoppages, lead the cheers throughout the game and keep fans involved with their energy. Even though there is not a large presence of the student body here, the pep band, cheerleaders, and dance team ensure that Case Gym is full of noise.

A typical crowd at Case Gym consists of locals, alumni, and plenty of youth groups and families. The team keeps the younger fans involved with contests and giveaways throughout the game, including t-shirt tosses, free posters, musical chairs, and the very popular pizza giveaway. The school’s mascot, Rhett, is active throughout the game.

While the average crowd only fills up a fraction of Case Gym, they provide a substantial home-court advantage for the Terriers. The noise generated here will surprise you, and it’s easy to imagine how loud this place would be if the house was filled. Games against traditional local rivals such as fellow Beanpot schools Northeastern and Harvard fill up the old barn.

Neighborhood 4

Boston University is an urban campus, straddling Commonwealth Avenue for approximately a mile and a half on the Boston/Brookline border. While this area of Boston isn’t considered a popular tourist destination, there are still plenty of things to do in the vicinity.

Fans coming to the BU campus will find plenty of choices nearby if eating before or after the game. Raising Cain is a popular fast food place known for its variety of chicken wings, located about a block from Case Gymnasium. T’s Pub is a popular gathering spot on Commonwealth Ave, as is Sunset Cantina, which features Mexican-style fare. There are several excellent Thai restaurants around, including the Brown Sugar Café.

The Paradise Rock Club, known for giving bands like U2, Phish, and REM their first area shows, is located a block away from Agganis Arena. It continues to host both local acts and up-and-coming national acts.

Out-of-town visitors to Boston will be interested to know Kenmore Square and Fenway Park are just over a mile away from Case Gym. Not far beyond that are the tourist destinations of Copley Square, Back Bay, Boston Common, and Chinatown. All are easily accessed by the Green Line, which has stopped up and down Commonwealth Avenue.

Fans 2

The Boston University basketball team stands perpetually in the shadows of the school’s successful hockey team, and the attendance at Case Gymnasium reflects this. Average attendance at Terrier games runs just under 700 fans. While a few games every year attract big crowds, Case Gym fills to about a third of capacity most nights.

Despite the smallish crowds present, Case Gym provides an excellent home-court advantage to the Terriers. With its cozy confines, the place can get loud when the home team gets on a roll. This is done the old-fashioned way, without the presence of loud piped-in music or an over-the-top PA announcer. The fans in the stands provide the noise and energy here.

Access 4

Unless you know where you are headed, it can be easy to pass right by Case Gymnasium without even realizing it. Located at the end of a dead-end street, this nondescript building is marked only by a small sign containing the Boston University logo and a listing of the Hockey East and Patriot League member schools.

Boston can be a difficult city to drive in, with streets laid out in seemingly random directions and construction projects a constant presence throughout the city. However, it’s pretty easy to get to the Boston University campus. It’s located right on Commonwealth Avenue, one of the city’s major drags. Case Gym is located at the end of Babcock Street, right off of Commonwealth Ave. Detailed directions can be found here.

Parking is available in a covered lot located on Babcock Street underneath New Balance Field. On-street parking is also available in the vicinity of Case Gymnasium, but be aware of the times that meters are in operation.

The best method for arriving at Case Gym, as well as most points in Boston, is to take public transportation, known in Boston as the “T.” The Green Line’s B train has a stop on Babcock Street just a short walk from Case Gym.

Case Gymnasium has a real old-school vibe to it. It’s a simple, small facility that looks much as it must have when it was built in the 1970s. There’s no giant, center-hung video board, just a pair of dot-matrix scoreboards with a scrolling message board on top that still manages to convey some game stats.

Seating consists of individual red folding stadium seats on both sides with excellent views of the action no matter where you choose to sit. For the perfect seat near the center court with the BU logo right side up, go about halfway up section 3. Seats are available even just before tip-off for most games.

There are two entrances to Case Gym. Fans can enter on the ground floor of the Case Athletic Center on Babcock Street, where the BU Athletic Hall of Fame and Walter Brown Arena are located, or via the entrance adjacent to Nickerson Field, which leads directly into the lobby. Located in the gym’s lobby are the concession stand, trophy cases, restrooms, and a table with some free BU souvenirs for all fans.

Return on Investment 4

Tickets to Terrier basketball games cost twelve dollars for all seats. Parking is available in the lot across the street from the Case Athletic Center for ten dollars. There is plenty of on-street parking within a few blocks of the gym, just make sure to check the meters where you park. Hours and length of parking may vary.

To save money, many fans will take public transportation to Boston University. Known in Boston as the “T,” a one-way fare costs $2.75 and accesses most of the city. The Green Line’s B train has a stop at the top of Babcock Street, just a short walk from Case Gym. Factor in inexpensive concessions, and you aren’t going to spend more than twenty dollars at a BU Terriers game.

Extras 2

Boston University displays its long basketball history throughout Case Gym. Banners honoring conference championships, tournament appearances, and retired numbers hang throughout the gym. A trophy case in the lobby is loaded with mementos from the school’s storied history. On the first floor of the Case, Athletic Center is the Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame. BU may not play with the big boys in most sports, but they are certainly a local athletic powerhouse.

Veteran ballpark travelers will certainly want to check out Nickerson Field, which was formerly known as Braves Field, home of the Boston Braves until they moved to Milwaukee in 1953. The Case Athletic Center is located approximately where the left-field stands at Braves Field once stood. The grandstand of Nickerson Field was the former first base stands of the ballpark, and the former ticket offices are now the school’s security offices.

Final Thoughts

Case Gymnasium is typical of many of the small courts that dot the college basketball landscape throughout the northeast. Looking much as it must have when it opened almost 50 years ago, Case Gym has a wonderful, old-school feel to it. Despite fielding some strong teams over the years, basketball at Boston University will always be in the shadow of the immensely popular hockey team. Case Gymnasium’s location on the roof of an old hockey rink on the spot where major league baseball was once played makes it a destination for many basketball junkies.


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