My visit to McKenzie Arena was a last minute decision based on ideal timing. I was home for the Thanksgiving holidays and just happened to receive an updated about an upcoming game.
The game featured my Alma mater Alabama State University facing off against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs in the Cayman Islands Classic Mainland bracket.
Here are my thoughts on McKenzie Arena.
The location of McKenzie Arena is the first thing that stood out. It is in Downtown Chattanooga and right in the middle of campus. The walk up is also one to marvel as the exterior lights make the arena very inviting.
The pride for history is something that is on full display inside of the arena. I was not aware of the success that University of Tennessee at Chattanooga had before I arrived. There were multiple postseason tournament and conference championship banners.
The fans, pep band and dancers kept the energy alive in the arena. This helped keep everyone involved in the game and the atmosphere alive. They also have a live DJ that spins during game and during timeouts when the pep band is not playing.
The marketing for the tournament was not existent and I believe that this was one major flaw. With this being a national tournament with two venues it should have been more publicized. There were not any banners or signage to represent the tournament.
The attendance was low for the tournament but they could be due to timing and match-ups. The tournament was during Thanksgiving week and not publicized as it should have been.
Overall Game Day Experience
I would give McKenzie Arena an 8 out of 10. Although they do not have the fan base and crowd participation that larger universities have they provide an atmosphere that promotes basketball. With all of that going against them, you can see that they have invested in improving their in game experience and it was well received.
If you ever find yourself in the Chattanooga area McKenzie Arena is a nice venue to visit and enjoy.