COUGAR TRACKS

Foster Pavilion Was Great Stage For BYU’s First Big 12 Road Game

Jan 10, 2024, 1:07 AM

WACO, Texas – The $212 million Foster Pavilion should be on every Big 12 basketball fan’s bucket list.

Baylor’s new home venue featured some history when BYU rolled into town.

The Top 25 clash between BYU and Baylor was the first-ever Big 12 game played in the 7,000-seat venue. It also served as the first Big 12 road game for BYU.

Foster Pavilion did not disappoint.

Despite BYU suffering an 81-72 loss, BYU head coach Mark Pope enjoyed the atmosphere in Waco.

“One of the great things about the Big 12 is you get to go to really special environments,” said Mark Pope. “I thought our guys came and we’re poised and competitive.”

Experience inside Baylor’s new Foster Pavilion

Seeing a new facility in action was a fun experience as someone who loves arenas and stadiums. Tuesday night’s event was only the second game played in Foster Pavilion.

It could be easy to get fooled into thinking the building is still going through construction. When you’re driving southbound on I-35, the north end of the arena remains under construction.

Inside the arena, near the media entrance, there are probably still some spots that they are working to finish at a later date. But the overall aesthetic aligns with the look of Baylor’s football stadium across the highway, McLane Stadium.

BYU football will return to McLane in the fall of 2024. They visited three years ago, weeks after being invited to the Big 12 Conference in 2021.

Walking into the arena, where the court is, is an intimate setting. The seats feel like they go straight up to the sky when looking from the court level.

Walking up the stairs to your seat, the steep steps make the Delta Center, home of the NBA’s Utah Jazz, look tame.

TV camera

The steepness is somewhat on display when watching Baylor games on TV. Fans from both teams complained on social media about the camera view inside Foster Pavilion. The camera is on the last row of the building.

Foster Pavilion doesn’t have a scoreboard hanging above the court in the middle. Instead, they have two giant video boards with the highest quality visuals.

Among the items displayed on the scoreboards on Tuesday night was a message for BYU men’s basketball from Baylor saying, “Welcome to the Big 12 Conference..” The Bears had a similar moment for BYU football in 2021.

Pockets of BYU fans made their way into Foster Pavilion for the game. A few entered the arena when the stadium first opened. When you enter, you’re greeted with a large BU logo in the lobby with an escalator that leads fans up to the concourse level. Stairs are also an option.

History of Baylor Basketball on display in the concourse

The concourse highlights the uniqueness of the arena. Bright colors are throughout, with various Baylor logos and memorable moments on the walls.

Among the memorabilia were the courts from Baylor’s Men’s and Women’s National Championship teams, each winning in Indianapolis in 2021 and 2005, respectively.

One of the excellent aspects of the concourse was the ability to see the game action while waiting in line for concessions.

Among the concession options is Chick-fil-A. I need to see that at BYU games in the future.

Loud Environment

During the game action, the sound system is loud. Pregame music leading up to tip-off was deafening. I wondered how Mark Pope and Scott Drew could talk to their team.

Also, the Public Address announcer was entertaining and motivated people to be loud.

When Baylor would go on runs, Foster Pavilion would get loud. It was a fun college basketball environment, and the product on the floor was entertaining. The game felt like a NCAA Tournament matchup, but instead, it was another tightly contested battle in the Big 12.

Expect many more of those settings at Foster Pavilion.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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Foster Pavilion Was Great Stage For BYU’s First Big 12 Road Game