- Joseph Oakes
Robins Center – Richmond Spiders
Photos by Joseph Oakes, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
Robins Center 23 College Rd Richmond, VA 23173
Year Opened: 1972
50 Years As The Spiders’ Web
The 2021-22 season marks the 50th season of basketball being played at the Robins Center. The Robins Center opened as the home of the Richmond Spiders teams in 1972. A $17 million renovation in 2014 transformed the arena into one of the premier facilities in the Atlantic 10. These renovations included four new video boards, upgraded seats, premium seating options, and terrace hospitality areas.
The Spiders have consistently competed against and beaten some of the top programs in the nation. Spider basketball fans are passionate and regularly fill the Robins Center, to make it one of the top home-court atmospheres in the Atlantic 10.
Food & Beverage 4
Simply put, the concession options at the Robins Center are impressive. The Robins Center concession stands offer standard concessions including hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, nachos, soft pretzels, popcorn, and peanuts. However, the following additions are what set the concessions apart. Papa John’s Pizza, Zaxby’s Chicken Sandwiches, and Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream are all available on the concourse. Other options include candy, caramel corn, peanuts, fruit snacks, fruit cup, veggie cups, and chips. Fountain Coke products are available at two prices: large for $4 and medium for $3. Dasani bottled water is $3 and coffee is $2. The University of Richmond started selling beer and wine to the general public at men’s games in 2018, and in doing so became the first Division 1 school in Virginia to sell alcohol to the general public at basketball games.
Credit/debit cards, as well as cash, are accepted at the concession stands. Lines tend to get long during halftime, but other than that is not bad
The seating bowl of the Robins Center is a single level surrounding the court and offers great sightlines. Entrances to the seating bowl are about halfway up, with half of the seating above the portals and half below. All seats are chairback and are angled toward the court. There are four giant video boards at the top of each of the four corners of the arena. Along with video replays, they provide the score and stats such as points and fouls for each player. Above each of the four video boards in the corners is a terrace/suite level.
Surprisingly, the University of Richmond does not have a pep band. However, this does not deter from the atmosphere as there is a local high school that plays each game. This not only gets the crowd into the game more with the playing of the fight song but is also a great experience for the high school bands to play at a D1 college basketball game. Richmond is the only D1 school that has a Spider for its mascot and the school does a great job promoting this. Not only is there a Spider mascot that makes his way around the court during the games, but there are two giant spiders projected onto the ceiling above the court. Also, the pre-game video incorporates a giant spider and web to make you almost feel like a spider is crawling out of the video board and into the crowd!
The Robins Center sits in the northern part of campus between Robins Stadium (home of Richmond football) and Pitt Field (home of Richmond baseball). Many of the parking lots in the vicinity of these three venues are used for basketball parking. The campus is beautiful, clean, and well kept up. Westhampton Lake is a short walk from the stadium and is a great place to bike or jog around. There is also a bridge that crosses the lake with a nice gazebo on one side.
Richmond is the capital city, so in the downtown area, there are many museums and the Capitol building, that can be visited. If you are looking for a variety of shopping or dining options, take a 15-minute drive to the Short Pump area which offers several restaurants and a two-level outdoor mall.
Marriott is the official hotel of the Spiders, so if you are looking to spend the night check out the Visitors Guide for a list of Marriott hotels in the Richmond area that offer special U of R rates.
Spider fans are very passionate about their basketball team, and the majority of fans in attendance are clad in red Spider gear. For a typical game, expect 5,000-6,000 fans to be in attendance. When cross-town rival VCU visits, expect a sellout. Due to the intimate design of the arena, the fans are right on top of the court, and it does not take much for it to get loud.
The University of Richmond’s campus can be a little tricky to navigate if it is your first time. However, if you point your GPS to the Robins Center, you should be fine. Be aware that there are only two-lane roads leading to campus, so allow extra time. General parking is free and is available between the Robins Center and Pitt Field. Many of the other lots immediately around the Robins Center are for parking pass holders only; however, the walk from general parking to the arena is not far. The lots are well signed and the parking lot attendants are friendly, so just follow their lead.
Both paper and mobile tickets are available for Spiders’ games. The ticket office is on the College Road side of the arena. Entrance to the arena is easy as there is no clear-bag policy and the security staff is not overbearing. There is a single concourse under the seating bowl. It is spacious, clean, and the portals to enter the seating bowl are well marked.
Return on Investment 5
In a day where prices to attend sporting events seem to continue to rise, the prices to attend a Richmond basketball game are a breath of fresh air. Tickets to a typical Atlantic 10 conference game range from $12-$22. However, $5 tickets and BOGO (buy one, get one free) deals are offered to select non-conference games. Throw in affordable concessions, free parking, and free game programs and it is well worth the cost to see some of the top “mid-major” basketball in the country.
The Robins Center has a Buffalo Wild Wings Family Fun Zone on the concourse that provides games and activities for kids and families. Another added bonus is the free parking at various points around campus and the friendly staff. The Spiderlings Kids club is only $5 a year and offers kids free admission to all weekend games. A popular pre-game promotion among Spider fans is the Basketball and Brews for select games. This is an add-on to your ticket that includes a pre-game craft beer taste testing session with five local breweries and restaurants. There are several in-game promotions that offer free food: one throws out mini Papa John’s basketballs, if you catch one, you can exchange it for a free pizza; another is if an opposing player misses two straight free throws in the second half, everyone in attendance gets a coupon for free Buffalo Wild Wings. The arena has also hosted various political events including the 1992 Presidential debate between George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot; and an address by President Barack Obama in 2011.
The Robins Center is frankly a great venue for college basketball. It is the perfect size for the Spiders, in the middle of campus, and the fan base consistently fills it up. Due to the design of the arena, one could argue it offers a better experience than VCU’s Siegel Center across town, which does not have the best sightlines. Richmond also has an attractive home schedule each season. The Atlantic 10 schedule is always great, and the Spiders have an attractive non-conference schedule many years as well. If you are in the Richmond area and are a college basketball fan, it will pay you to make a visit to the Robins Center to catch a game. You will find a great college basketball atmosphere against some great competition.