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Indiana Farmers Coliseum

Indianapolis, IN

Home of the Indy Fuel

3.0

1.3

Indiana Farmers Coliseum (map it)
1202 E 38th St
Indianapolis, IN 46205


Indy Fuel website

Indiana Farmers Coliseum website

Year Opened: 1939

Capacity: 6,300

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Indy's New Look for Hockey

Indianapolis returned to the professional ranks of minor league hockey in 2014 with the arrival of the Indy Fuel of the ECHL. The Fuel’s inaugural season ended a ten year absence of minor league hockey and coincided with the renovation of Indiana Farmers Coliseum. It was definitely big news for hockey fans in the city, who have an enduring support for the sport since 1939.

The coliseum is located on the Indiana State Fairgrounds and underwent a two year, $63 million renovation, before welcoming both the Fuel and the IUPUI men’s basketball team in the fall of 2014. It was the largest capital improvement on the fairground’s 123-year history and much of the facility's historic value was well preserved in the renovation. You cannot tell from the exterior that any changes were made. The interior’s aesthetics have been dramatically altered with the installation of the original terrazzo floors, exposed walls and steel support beams, and the inclusion of 96 original wooden theater seats.

3.0

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

The food at the coliseum has been upgraded, including gluten-free options and vegetarian choices, Vienna beef hot dogs, gourmet burgers, fresh-cut fries, and pizza. The Angus beef burgers ($7), brisket sandwiches and pulled pork with kettle chips ($8), Italian and mettwurst sausage sandwiches ($8), and chicken finger baskets ($8) are a few of the tasty new choices that can be found at various concession areas. The grilled sausages at the Sausage World Stand come topped with tantalizing toppings and there is a stand for craft beer from around the state that includes local Sun King and Carson Breweries ($9). The basic hot dog ($4) is fresh, juicy, and served on a lightly steamed bun.

Atmosphere    4

The main entrance to the coliseum is where a lot of the action takes place before the game. The spacious lobby may include Indy Fuel girls, Nitro the mascot, beer sales, ticket ushers, and other folks selling merchandise throughout the modernized, but very retro, main lobby. There is a nod to the arena's past with giant photos, renovated seats, and the former ticket booths in all of their art deco glory on display.

The team's official souvenir shop, The Garage, offers up a bevy of glorious garb from the Fuel and also its NHL parent club, the Chicago Blackhawks. This is the only area to purchase merchandise, but there is an abundance of souvenirs to choose from in the store. You might need an extra few minutes, since this area can become slightly populated with consumers.

The concourses are up above the main lobby and the lower level concourse allows patrons to walk around the entire level. There are a few interesting spots to watch the game and this is where the atmosphere is at its best. The Cuervo Bar is located at center ice and offers mixed drinks and draft beers in a bar-like setting, while at the same time, offering wide-open glimpses of the game. There are few more wide-open spots on the main concourse where fans can stand and watch the game. In other areas, fans can pull up a stool, enjoy a burger and drink, and take in the game.

The exposed steel support and beams on the top level provide a few more concession areas, along with space for various retail spots if needed. It is also here where there is a curtain system that can be altered to allow natural or artificial lighting. This is where much of the original walls and support beams can be touched and admired, along with providing a great view of the ice from up above.

Neighborhood    3

The fairgrounds is not located in the best part of the city, but it is centrally located by car to downtown, Mass Ave, Fountain Square, Broadripple, and Castleton restaurants and bars. Twenty Tap in South Broad Ripple features poutine, bahn mi sandwiches, vegetarian buffalo wing bites, and fried cheese curds to go along with one of the more prestigious selections of beers on tap and a couple that are made downstairs in the basement.

Down the street, The Aristocrat features pasta, sandwiches, and main entrees. Also in this area is one of the Fuel's official sponsor, The Sinking Ship. It's a hockey bar with a menu that stretches from grass-fed stuffed burgers, Cuban sandwiches, and seitan gyro wraps and wings. It is one of the area's most eclectic spots and definitely a happening spot for hockey talk.

About a 15 minute drive north from the coliseum is Blend in Castleton. Customers are transported to Key West, offering cushioned seats as tables, a grandiose selection of cigars, mixed drinks and bourbon served with a thick ice cube. Also in Castleton is The District Tap, a newer facility that offers short rib nachos, shrimp and grits, street tacos, and chicken and waffles at reasonable prices. The outdoor patio features live music and fire pits.

Fans    3

There is an ardent niche of hockey supporters in Indianapolis; their attitude is felt throughout the coliseum. The few thousand who attend Fuel games are loud, decked out in team apparel, and are vocal for any calls that favor the opponents. The coliseum should attract a few extra fans from the nearby ECHL cities of Cincinnati, Evansville, Toledo, Kalamazoo, and Ft. Wayne. This is what the city's hockey fans have been waiting for and they will definitely let anyone in an opponent's sweater know whose house they are in.

Access    3

The coliseum is located on the Indiana State Fairgrounds at the corner of 38th Street and Fall Creek Parkway, but is not conveniently accessible from a major interstate. The best way to enter the complex is at the Fall Creek entrance. This is closer to the coliseum and its parking, which will cost you $5. If there are not other events taking place at the time of a hockey game, then access is relatively simple. Unfortunately, if there are other events taking place, it may get a little confusing navigating to your parking lot. For example, there was a farm show when I attended a recent game, and I had to wait as people walked cattle and cows across parts of the road at the fairgrounds. There is also slight construction taking place in front of the coliseum.

Return on Investment    3

Ticket prices range from $14-$44, a little higher than division rivals in Cincinnati and Ft. Wayne, but those arenas are not newly renovated. The Fuel could benefit from trimming prices, but a $14 price tag will not break too many wallets. There are plenty of great seats to watch the game, wide-open areas to hang out with friends, and a world-class facility for hockey.

Extras    2

The newly renovated coliseum is a huge upgrade from the previous design and the engineers and artists made sure that they left their mark with a few pleasing aesthetics. The decor inside provides a small window to the arena's past, but this is no doubt a modern and state of the art facility that should serve the city of Indianapolis well with many years of minor league hockey.

Final Thoughts

The city finally has a wonderful facility to house minor league hockey. In fact, this city could even be an American Hockey League (AHL) town. The coliseum has all the comforts, seating, and amenities one would desire at their professional facilities. The partnership with Chicago in the NHL should cement the Indy Fuel as another viable entertainment option in the Circle City.

Finally?

"The city finally has a wonderful facility to house minor league hockey." I suppose Bankers Life Fieldhouse was just a dirty old shed, right? I know it wasn't built primarily for hockey and the rink was off center, but that's how it is in some AHL cities (San Antonio and Charlotte) and even at the Barclays Center for the Islanders.

by danieladougan | Feb 02, 2015 03:11 PM

Quirky

My parents and I went to a Fuel game in January. It was mostly great especially because they revived an historic building, but there were a few things I noticed that detracted from the fan experience. Note that we sat in Section 312...your experience may vary.

1) The upper-level concourse does not extend all the way around. So we went up to the top level only to have to go down again because our seats were on the opposite side of the arena from where we came in.

2) Related to that, I had to go downstairs to find the nearest restroom. I can think of situations when that could get literally messy.

3) Audio dead spots. Section 312 is at center ice on the top level (which is really not all that high in the coliseum). It's a great vantage point for viewing the game. But we couldn't understand half of what was being said on the PA system. I would understand more if we were off in a corner, but not at center ice.

4) I understand that this is not an NBA or NHL arena, but the video scoreboard is underwhelming considering that this renovation was completed in 2014. A bit on the small side. Just within the ECHL, you can find other teams whose arenas have better electronics that were installed years earlier. The Kalamazoo Wings have a gigantic scoreboard that would be the envy of some NBA franchises. The Evansville Icemen have a really nice one too that seems just about right. I'm not saying the scoreboard is BAD in Indy and they need to replace it, but they were being a little pennywise and pound foolish because it was already obsolete before it was installed.

5) No luxury boxes. Not that I'm in the target demographic for it, but I know that even minor league teams want them because they are important revenue generators. Just a few of them could really help the team be more financially successful.

Nevertheless, it's a neat building with tons of history, and I mostly love what they did with it to modernize it. I'm sure they had to work within some tough constraints to turn it into a modern, multi-deck arena.

by danieladougan | Mar 02, 2015 09:58 AM

Trimming prices??? Uhh, to say the least.

I have been to a Cincinnati Cyclones match and an Indy Fuel match. Yes the Fuel could benefit A LOT from trimming prices. Here's a comparison

To sit second row, close to the ice.

Cincinnati....$13 ticket, $10 parking, $10 gas. Four beers, two nachos $40. Grand total $73

Indy Fuel.....$40 ticket, $5 parking, $5 gas. Four beers, two nachos $52. Grand total $102

Hmm.......See the difference? Btw, they are in the same league.

by maddawgnp | Feb 07, 2016 01:44 AM

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Crowd Reviews

If this is the new look, i'd hate to see the old one

Total Score: 1.29

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 2
  • Neighborhood: 2
  • Fans: 2
  • Access: 1
  • RoI: 0
  • Extras: 0

I watch a lot of minor league hockey. So, since I was in Indianapolis for a weekend, I made a point to see the new ECHL entry, the Indy Fuel. I realize it's their first year in the league, but I just saw way too many opportunities to have fan friendly things involved. Minor League sports organizations that "get it" realize that you have to give more on the minor league level. More promotions, better in game activities to keep the crowd entertained, and more food options to help people forget the low quality of hockey on the ice....and I didn't get that with Indy at all.

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Local Food & Drink

Twenty Tap  (map it!)

5406 N College Ave

Indianapolis, IN 46220

(317) 602-8840

http://www.twentytap.com/

The Aristocrat  (map it!)

5212 N College Ave

Indianapolis, IN 46220

(317) 283-7388

http://www.aristocratpub.com/

The Sinking Ship  (map it!)

4923 N College Ave

Indianapolis, IN 46205

(317) 920-7999

http://www.thesinkingship.com/

Blend Bar  (map it!)

3981 E 82nd St

Indianapolis, IN 46240

(317) 578-1774

http://www.blendbarcigar.com/

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