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  • James Clotfelter

Gateway Center Arena at College Park - College Park SkyHawks


Photos by James Clotfelter, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00

Gateway Center Arena at College Park 2330 Convention Center Concourse College Park, GA 30337

Year Opened: 2019 Capacity: 5,000

 

More Than Just An Airport

Serving as the permanent home of the G League College Park Skyhawks and the WNBA's Atlanta Dream, Gateway Center Arena is a part of the Georgia International Convention Center. This 5,000-seat arena is part of a redevelopment in the airport city of College Park. Since 2019, Gateway Center Arena has proudly served its local community. 


Food & Beverage 4

Being the smaller venue that it is, there is not an abundant number of concession stands. And while only three concession stands were being operated on the concourse, they offered a wide variety of distinctive options. They offer the stadium fundamentals like hot dogs, burgers, pretzels, pizza, soda, and popcorn that you would expect from every stadium. But they also present items that are not traditionally in smaller arenas, like chicken wings cooked to order, Jambalaya, Catfish, Buffalo Shrimp, and Impossible Sliders. The lemon pepper wings tasted fresh and came with six wings and waffle fries, but all this and a 32oz drink cost $20 which seems steep. In terms of alcohol, both import and domestic beers are on the menu alongside mixed drinks and wine. 


Atmosphere 3

Gateway Center Arena would be considered an appropriate venue for this level of basketball. The arena’s concourse and seating wraps 3/4th the way around the court, with the concourse lying above the seating bowl. Restrooms are found in the corners, and a small team store is right in front of the entrance to the stadium. Like the team store, the two main concession stands sit next to the entrance. Kiosks for drinks, popcorn, pizza, and oddly enough a make-up station are along the concourse above the sideline. A standing room is available on the concourse with tabletop railings above the seating bowl.  


My favorite part of the arena would be the ticketing strategy the Skyhawks implement for their games. Rows “AA”, “CT” (tables next to the floor), “BB”, “A”, and “B” are all reserved seating and are considered “VIP” tickets. These are usually used for season ticket holders. The rest of the arena, row C-M, is general admission seating. That means you can sit in whatever section you want, whether that be the corner, behind the basket, or center court. This is a strategy I wish more lower-level teams would implement. There are two video boards, one in each opposite corner that show scores, stats, and video promotions.  


Gateway Center Arena Corner View, Photo by James Clotfelter, Stadium Journey


Neighborhood 2

There is not much in terms of a neighborhood for before or after the game. The arena is a part of the Georgia International Convention Center Property, which is a pretty large development adjacent to Hartsfield International Airport.


Being next to the Airport there are plenty of hotels to choose from in the area, and some chain restaurants to accompany the airport travelers.


The neighborhood does not have a walkable district, as the area is pretty car-heavy due to the airport. If you are traveling to Atlanta and would like to attend a game, I would advise you to stay in the Buckhead area, as it is a short drive from I-85, and this is a popular neighborhood within the city for food, bars, shopping, and entertainment.


Fans 3

The Skyhawks are still a relatively new franchise in the Atlanta area. Founded in 2019, the Skyhawks have entered a crowded basketball market with Atlanta having the NBA’s Hawks, and two division one programs in Georgia Tech and Georgia State. Therefore, the Skyhawks have marketed themselves as southside’s team, and due to that most of the fans in attendance are local families that reside in the immediate area.


The fans are welcoming and laid back, they cheer when given a reason on the court, and they are very knowledgeable about their team. Skyhawks appear to sit in the middle of the pack in terms of G League attendance. They all wish to see the players on the court make it too, or make it back to the big stage, being State Farm Arena, a brief MARTA ride away. They are not the most passionate fans in the world, but they are happy to have a team and are very welcoming to anyone visiting.


Access 3

There are many ways to get to Gateway Center Arena. If driving in from out of town, or in the Atlanta perimeter, Exit-2 of I-285 will spit you out on Camp Creek Parkway, which is the road that the complex is on. I-85 is also an option as Exit-72 will also put you on Camp Creek Parkway east of the arena.


No matter which direction you plan on traveling to, give yourself plenty of time to get to the arena, as with Atlanta in general, but especially next to the airport, traffic can be horrendous. The arena has parking right in front of the main entrance, and the concourse is as easy to navigate as it comes. 


Return on Investment 3

In terms of the value of a ticket, general admission tickets are the way to go. At just $15 you can sit in any section you want if it is above row “C”. It is $10 to park, which seems more than reasonable for onsite parking. However, the food prices seem high. The pizza kiosk is $10, hotdogs are $5, burgers are $11, BBQ burger is $12, catfish is $18, honey wings are $18, and cheese nachos are $14. In terms of drinks, sodas are $5, domestic beers are a reasonable $7 with craft and imports being $8, dingle mixed drinks are $12, and doubles are $20. Some of these prices seem slightly steep, but nothing completely unreasonable for a stadium. 


Extras 3

We love general admission being the entire bowl, which allows fans not to spend extra to gain the view they desire to obtain. There is also a VIP section situated on the opposite baseline for season ticket members.  


Final Thoughts

The Skyhawks have made a home in College Park. It seems as if they have created their fanbase, even in this crowded basketball market. Gateway Center Arena provides a casual, comfortable, and intimate setting for visitors to experience high-level basketball. 




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