Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse – Cleveland Cavaliers
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse 1 Center Ct Cleveland, OH 44115
Year Opened: 1994
Cavaliers Home Rockets into a New Era
When the Cleveland Cavaliers opened their 2019-2020 season, they sported a new name for their home court as well as a massively renovated house. Rocket Mortgage Company took over the naming rights from Quicken Loans over the summer, and the arena completed a two-year, $185 million renovation designed to open the arena up more to the surrounding area, and to provide wider concourses and more concession offerings to its fans. The most readily apparent change is the adding a large glass enclosed atrium, which reflects the downtown skyline and brightens up the inside corridors of the facility. A large concession and social area with seats and tables has been added at the south end of the arena. In addition, the upper concourse is now opened up to allow fans to go 360 degrees around the arena for the first time ever. Previous renovations have included the installation of new seats throughout the seating bowl, the adding of a center-hung video board nicknamed “Humongotron” due to its immense size (31 feet high and 56 feet wide on the side panels) and new graphics and signage.
This marks the third change in name for the arena, which opened in 1994 as the Gund Arena (1994-2005) and the Quicken Loans Arena (2005-2019). The 19,432-seat arena is one of the largest in the NBA based on seat capacity. This includes 88 luxury suites.
Food & Beverage 4
The concession programs at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse received a great deal of attention during the renovations. They were redeployed into 8 different “neighborhoods” throughout the arena. This was a major design element in creating better flow on the concourses. The individual food vendors are now located in recessed areas away from the concourse, so that lines do not cause gridlock during busy periods of the game. The concessions areas are mini food courts which feature tables and drinking rails so that fans are not forced to balance their food and drinks in their laps back at their seats.
A second major change was to pick food vendors who were easily identified with the area. Among the new stands at the arena are local favorites Flour (wood-fired pizzas), Bandito’s (Mexican dishes), Rocco’s (tacos and nachos), Symon Burger Joint (gourmet burgers, kielbasa and milkshakes), Greenhouse Kitchen (salads, sandwiches, rolls, Market at the Fig (deli selections), Elmore Smith’s BBQ (a BBQ concept started by a former Cavaliers player), and the Launch Test Kitchen, a revolving set of local vendors who have competed in a local culinary competition. The more generic arena fare can be found at the Fan Fuel stands throughout the arena. Adult beverages can be found at the Budweiser Brewhouse located in the Loudville area of the arena. Craft brews from Bell’s Brewery, Fahrenheit, and Saucy Brew Works are also available.
When you enter Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, you will have no doubt in your mind that you are in Cleveland and are there for a basketball game. The Cavaliers and Cleveland taxpayers help foot the bill for the renovations, so the facility is filled with unique features that relate to both the city and the team. Upon entering the arena through the Sherwin Williams gate, you will continue through a short tunnel featuring ever-changing video displays on three sides showing Cavalier and Cleveland imagery. As you make the loop around the concourse you will see art and photos depicting life and landmarks around the Cleveland area. There is also a display of basketballs hung on the wall that feature the logo of each high school located in the metro area. The glass exterior of the building provides fans with great views of downtown Cleveland and the Cuyahoga River from the upper levels of the facility.
The Cavaliers also add to the atmosphere of their remodeled home with a large exhibit covering their championship season. The display includes a large section of the arena floor where the deciding game was won, as well as the championship trophy. A separate point of interest for Cavalier fans is the team’s Wall of Honor with plaques featuring the star players who have worn the Cavaliers jersey over the past 50 years.
The Cavaliers create a great atmosphere from the pregame activities to the end of the games… even without King James. They will first catch your attention during the pregame introductions, as the sabers attached to the gigantic video board spew fire out all sides above you. Once the game starts Kevin Love and company play an entertaining game of roundball. Over the years the Cavaliers have been very successful in this building, going to the playoffs ten out of their twenty-two seasons. This includes three NBA Finals Series, including the 2016 Series that brought Cleveland its first professional sports title since 1964.
There is never a dull moment at a Cavaliers game. During timeouts and changes of period you will be entertained by a variety of performers unlike any other NBA arena. You’ll be thrilled by the Slam Squad and their dunking exploits, enjoy the moves of the Wine and Goldies Dance Squad or the Cavs Dancing Dads, enjoy the beats of the 216 STIX drumline or be laughing at the antics of the team’s two mascots, MoonDog and Sir C.C.
The Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is in the Gateway District of downtown Cleveland. This area features Progressive Field, the home of the Cleveland Indians, as well as five hotels, sixty restaurants, movie theatres, the Fifth Street Arcade, Gateway Center and the JACK Casino.
Among the restaurants in the area are The Corner Alley, Pickwick and Frolic, Boney Fingers BBQ, Butcher and Brewer and the House of Blues. Adult beverages are available at Flannery’s, City Tap, the Greenhouse Tavern and the Clevelander Bar and Grill. Two hotels, the Hotel Cleveland Gateway and the Holiday Inn Express Downtown Cleveland, are right across the street from the FieldHouse. Information on all the Gateway district has to offer is available at www.clevelandgatewaydistrict.com.
Some of the most passionate fans the Cavaliers have can be found in the top tiers of the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. This area is designated with good reason as Loudville. The cheapest tickets in the arena can be found here, and folks sitting in the area are regulars. They routinely spontaneously start a cheer, which little by little filters down to the lower levels until the whole arena joins in. Even though the seats are as far as you will find from the court, the Loudville residents miss very little of the action thanks to the vast size of the video board at midcourt.
The arena is easily accessed via one of Cleveland’s many freeways or by public transit. From the east: Take I-90/Rte. 2 West. Remain on Rte.2 as I-90 curves left. Exit at Ninth Street and turn left on East Ninth. The parking garage will be on your left. From the south: Take I-77 North and exit at East Ninth Street. Take East Ninth Street north to parking garage. From the west: Take I-90 East to East Ninth Street exit and proceed north to parking garage. Public transit is available via the RTA light rail system. Take the Red Line train to the Tower City Station. Proceed to the arena via the enclosed RTA Skywalk. This will deliver you directly to the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Once at the arena you will find the access and flow of the crowd to be excellent. The recent renovations were specifically targeted towards enlarging the concourses and adding the space in the glass atrium. This is a major improvement, as you no longer stand outside in the frigid Cleveland winters before the doors open. Food vendors now are in areas located back from the concourse, so the food and drink lines do not create gridlock. If you are seated in the upper level of the arena you will be able to encircle the entire arena on the concourse for the first time ever.
The FieldHouse is also using technology to improve access within the arena. Tickets will now include a portal number to make it easier for fans to locate their seats. The portal number identifies your seat by location so that you will enter at the portal closest to your row seat. If you are in a seat at the left end of the row, that portal number identifies that end of the row. A separate portal would identify the seat at the right end of the row. This will cut down dramatically on people having to cross in front of their seatmates during a game. Another technological innovation is the addition of self-serve concession areas where you simply scan the item you are purchasing and pay for it with your credit/debit card.
Return on Investment 3
The Cavaliers use the AXS/Flash Tickets ticketing system. The average cost for a ticket to a Cleveland game is $48. Parking is available in the Gateway East or the JACK Cleveland Casino Garages for $20-$30. You can save money by taking the RTA light rail system to the Tower City Transit Station. You would then take the RTA enclosed skywalk to the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The cost for an all-day pass is $5.50. The concession prices at the Fan Fuel stands are very reasonable, while the more specialized product stands are more expensive.
Anyone who has experienced a Cleveland winter will give an extra to the RTA Walkway for protecting you from the elements.
In addition to pro basketball, the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse serves as the home to the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL. Other sports events that have occurred in the arena are the MAC Basketball Tournament, several stages of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the 2007 Women’s Final Four Basketball Tournament, and the US Figure Skating Championship (2000, 2009)
The in-game entertainment staff deserves an extra for its wide variety of performing groups, games and activities during lulls in the action.
The Cavaliers are league leaders when it comes to taking care of their fans with special needs. Real-time captioning of all public address announcements is shown on each of the four corner video boards for persons with hearing impairments. Sign language interpreters may also be requested in advance. For persons with sensory impairments, the team provides earphones, sensory bags, weighted lap pads or access to sensory quiet rooms for guests who become overstimulated.
The 2019-2020 season marks the 50th anniversary of the team’s arrival in Cleveland. Numerous special events and promotions are planned throughout the year.
The renovations at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse have all been directed towards improving the fan experience, as the seating bowl and playing court remained the same throughout the latest changes. If you have not been to a Cavaliers game or the former Quicken Loans Arena recently, you need to come and check out all the changes. It is a virtually new facility that is well designed to meet the needs that fans have come to expect in the 21st century.