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Official Review by Brian Jones, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Infinite Energy Arena is the home of the Georgia Swarm of the National Lacrosse League. 2016 was the first year for the Georgia Swarm, as the franchise originated in Minnesota in 2004.
Formerly known as the Arena at the Gwinnett Center, the Infinite Energy Arena is an indoor arena located in the city limits of Duluth, Ga., which is a suburb of Atlanta. The arena is also home of the Atlanta Gladiators of the East Coast Hockey League, and it also hosts numerous high school events.
Professional lacrosse is new to Georgia, but the community has embraced it with open arms. Infinite Energy Arena is a very good place to take in a concert or a hockey game, because it’s not too big, it’s accessible and there is not a bad seat in the house. And for those reasons, a Georgia Swarm game is a fun experience.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Because Infinite Energy Arena is a multi-purpose arena, the food selection is more diverse than what you would find in most arenas.
Instead of the concession stands being spread out all over the arena, there are two separate areas for places to eat, and there are tables in the middle of each area. The food ranges from hot dogs and chicken sandwiches to cheese steaks, hamburgers, tacos and nachos. And the prices are about the same as you would find in a larger arena, as a meal will cost you around $15.
What's also interesting about the Infinite Energy Arena is that they sell Pepsi products instead of Coke products. The reason that is interesting is Atlanta is the home of Coca-Cola.
And as for alcoholic products, there are domestic, import and craft beers, and you can even get wine if you are feeling fancy.
If there is one place I would recommend to eat, it would have to be the Georgian Grill. The grilled chicken sandwich with fries is not too bad.
With lacrosse being new to Atlanta, the overall atmosphere is not bucket-list. However, it's still pretty good, because the Swarm do a lot to keep the fans involved.
Infinite Energy Arena only seats about 10,000 fans. And because of that, there is more of an intimate feel when get to your seat.
There are two video boards in the arena. They are not very big, but they are visible so you can see the pre-game and in-game action.
One of the things that stands out is the music played during the game. It constantly changes when each team changes possession.
That leads to my next point, which is the PA announcer. He is very energetic and he loves it when the crowd gets involved in the action.
The mascot for the Swarm is a guy named "Stinger." You would think that the mascot would be a bee. That is not the case, as the mascot looks like a surfer from California.
Duluth is part of the metro Atlanta area. There are a good amount of things to do before and after the game.
There are plenty of restaurants, and the two that stand out are the Arena Tavern and Tin Lizzy's. Both are a block away from the arena, and both places have a number of food and drinks to choose from, such as tacos, burgers and wings.
The best attraction in the area has to be the Sugarloaf Mills Outlet Mall. There are over 180 stores including Adidas, Lids, Lego and Dave & Buster's.
As for hotels, the Holiday Inn Express and the Hilton Garden Inn are the two best places to stay, as they are located next to the Infinite Energy Arena campus.
Most of the fans that go to the Swarm games are either younger kids who play lacrosse or high school lacrosse teams that come to learn how the professionals play. However, they are as loud and as passionate I've seen any fan base for any team in Atlanta.
The one thing that stands out more than anything is that after the Swarm score a goal, everyone does the "mashed potato" dance. It's something I have never seen, but it's going over well with the fans.
The fans understand the game and they are always loud, even if the team is losing. Despite not being a packed house, other fan bases for teams in the area can learn a lot from Swarm fans. That said, the Swarm have done a good job of targeting the lacrosse market in Gwinnett County and getting their name out there.
One of the disadvantages about Infinite Energy Arena is the best way to get to the arena is driving on Interstate 85, which is one of the busiest highways in the country. Going to a weeknight game can be challenging, and the fact Gwinnett County has limited public transportation does not help either.
However, there are plenty of parking spaces at Infinite Energy Arena, and the parking is free. The traffic flow getting out of the arena can be tricky, because there is only one way to exit, but it's a small price to pay, since getting parking is not an issue.
There are plenty of entry gates and the security check-in is quick. The concourse is big, so there is no issue walking to different parts of the arena. And the restrooms are big and clean, and there is no waiting.
Here's the thing. Going to a Georgia Swarm game is not very cheap. In fact, the cheapest ticket will cost $25 per person.
The price of food at Infinite Energy Arena is pricey, but you do get your money's worth. And the free parking is a big plus, considering diving to the arena can be challenging.
Overall, it's worth the experience, but they could cut the ticket prices down or have more ticket deals to make the experience more fun, as well as bring in more fans.
When you walk into Infinite Energy Arena, there is a fan shop where fans can get Georgia Swarm shirts, hats, pants and jerseys. And normally, there are a number of fans in line to get Swarm gear.
After the game, the players come to the concourse to sign autographs. This is a great way to introduce the team to the fans, as well as interact with the players.
The Georgia Swarm staff members are friendly and they know how to build relationships. After going to a game, a representative will call you and ask about your experience, as well as see if you would like to go to another game.
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2000 Satellite Blvd
Duluth, GA 30097
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2040 Sugarloaf Cir
Duluth, GA 30097