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Mackey Arena

West Lafayette, IN

Home of the Purdue Boilermakers

3.6

3.7

Mackey Arena (map it)
1000 N University St
West Lafayette, IN 47907


Purdue Boilermakers website

Mackey Arena website

Year Opened: 1967

Capacity: 14,240

There are no tickets available at this time.

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The Paint Crew

A Purdue basketball game in Mackey Arena is a great way to enjoy a brief respite from the harsh Indiana winter. The venue seats 14,240 spectators in a completely circular bowl, which means every seat provides a quality view of the game. Indiana is a state which is known for its basketball history, and between the Purdue Boilermakers and their Big Ten and Indiana opponents who make appearances in Mackey, a Purdue basketball game is sure to be a good time.

3.6

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    4

Mackey Arena provides traditional arena fare along with some unique alternatives. A hot dog is $5, nachos or pretzel are $4, and a bottomless bowl of popcorn is $7. You can get a regular soda for $4 or a large soda in a souvenir cup for $6. Personal pizzas from Marco's Pizza are $7 and breadsticks with sauce are $5.

The unique items are served from a Cantina stand and a Smashers stand. You can enjoy tacos, tamales, and quesadillas from the Cantina, or a Reuben Smasher, chicken pesto, or BLT salad from Smashers.

Atmosphere    3

One of the best parts about attending a Purdue basketball game is the Boilermaker pep band. They are seated next to the student section on the south side of the bowl, and play a wide variety of pep music and the fight song, "Hail Purdue". It is hard not to smile when the majority of the spectators raise a fist and shout "Boiler up!" during the middle of the fight song. The cheerleaders provide on court entertainment during the timeouts. There is no dance team or related halftime show, but typically a few fans are brought onto the court to participate in some sort of contest.

There is a large, 4-sided Jumbotron suspended above center court which provides a great view of game replays and stats. The domed roof is constructed from metal, so the noise-level inside can be deafening during big moments in big games.

Neighborhood    4

The Purdue University campus sits in between Mackey Arena and Chauncey Hill, the quintessential college town commercial district located a mile to the southeast of this arena. The restaurants in this area can either be visited during your drive to or from the stadium, but since the large campus lies between the bars and stadium, this is a great chance to take a self-guided tour of the Purdue campus. As you enter campus from the north end by the arena, you will pass the statue of Neil Armstrong, arguably the most famous Purdue alum. Continuing south, you can enjoy the uniform red brick buildings, distinctive bell tower, and fountains that grace the central part of campus.

The bars on Chauncey Hill include Harry's Chocolate Shop, Brother's Bar & Grill, and Jake's Roadhouse, and all are loved by the students. Despite the name, Harry's Chocolate Shop does not serve any desserts. For a non-alcoholic drink, stop in the nearby Discount Den for a Den Pop, a Purdue staple of a 32 ounce fountain drink for 60 cents. For a more relaxed experience, check out Nine Irish Brother's, a traditional Irish pub down the hill near the levee.

If you are looking for a quicker bite to eat, there is Chipotle, Qdoba, Noodles & Company, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, and School House of Chili. For a sweet treat after the game, check out Insomnia Cookies, which is located on Stadium Avenue and serves fresh-baked cookies in-house until midnight every night.

Fans    4

Purdue is known for their large and vocal student sections, and the "Paint Crew" is no exception. Named after current head coach Matt Painter, the students have recently been split into two sections on opposite corners of the court. They yell during every defensive possession and rotate through a variety of cheers on every offensive possession. The students also have personalized gestures for all the players who score frequently. Midway through the second half, the pep band plays a song known as "Hail Fire", to which the students participate in a dance that concludes with a rousing yell of "IU SUCKS", referring to their in-state rivals, the Hoosiers of Indiana University. The passion of the student section is indicated in that this tradition is performed during every game, not just those against the Hoosiers.

Outside of the student section, the fan energy could be described as lacking. In the lower-half of the seating on the home court side, there are premium cushioned seats, which, unfortunately, are rarely filled. These seats are for prime season ticket holders, but they could help contribute to the in-game atmosphere by opening these as general public seating.

Access    4

Since Mackey Arena is on the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, it is a bit of a drive once you exit Interstate 65, which skirts the east side of Lafayette. For those arriving from the north, it is best to take exit 178 and continue south on State Route 43. From the south, exit 168 onto State Routes 25 and 38 north provide the most direct access to campus. There are no parking lots immediately around the stadium, but Purdue's parking garages are free and open to the public after 5pm on weekdays and all day on the weekend. The closest garage is on Northwestern Avenue, about a half mile south of the arena. There is also a garage on Grant Street, a bit to the south of the Northwestern Avenue garage. If you happen to park farther from the arena, the Lafayette City Bus can take you one way for only $1.

Since the renovation that concluded in 2012, the concourses and bathrooms are much larger and very adequate. This renovation also greatly increased the amount of handicapped seating.

Return on Investment    3

An upper bowl ticket for a single Purdue basketball game is $28, but this price can rise up to $40 for the marquee Big Ten games, such as against Michigan State. Tickets to the Indiana game always sell out very quickly. For those fans who don't care where they sit, tickets to the top several rows of the arena are discounted $6 from the normal $28 or $40 price tag.

Purdue has been a very competitive program at times over the past decade, but they lack the history claimed by some of the other Big Ten or Indiana schools. They are currently a very average Midwest team, so it could be argued that the ticket price is a bit high.

Extras    3

One bonus point for the "Paint Crew", whose members are tireless in their support of the Boilermakers.

Purdue has been the home of two national players of the year as well. Glenn Robinson took the honor in 1994, and the best known coach in the history of college basketball, won player of the year honors in 1932, his third straight year as an All-American. Interestingly, they both wore the same jersey number, and Robinson's #13 and Wooden's #13 hang in the rafters with the numbers of Rick Mount, Joe Barry Carroll, E'Twaun Moore, and JaJuan Johnson, among others. Purdue doesn't retire numbers, but instead hangs these banners to recognize consensus All-Americans.

One extra point for naming the floor Coach Keady Court, after long-time legendary coach Gene Keady. It is always a nice touch when a coach like Keady is acknowledged.

My take

The round design is classic 1960/70s, fortunately in recent years arenas have been designed to get the fans close to the action.

Last time I was there they did not allow food in the arena seating bowl, so all food had to be eaten in the concourse. It appears they have fixed that and added some things to the menu.


I agree that basketball ball in Indiana just feels a little better.

by CigarBoy | Nov 16, 2011 11:17 AM

Mackey Arena is crazy

I have a business partner in Indy who is a Purdue ticket holder. I attended both Ohio State games with him last season - I took him to Columbus and he provided tickets for the return trip to West Lafayette.

I've been to a ton of different sporting events in different venues all around the country: college football, basketball, NHL, NFL, MLB, you name it. Mackey Arena is the most insanely loud arena I've ever been to for any sporting event. My buddy did tell me that it's not always as loud as it was that day - he said that was one of the best crowds they've had in years. But I'm telling you, if the decibel level even remotely approaches what it did that day on a regular basis, I'm surprised Purdue fans aren't deaf by the end of the season. I don't know if it's the round shape of the building, the domed metal roof, or a combination of everything, but the sound just reverberates through there and you can almost "feel" it. I've since read comments from OSU players saying that was the loudest arena they've ever experienced.

Personally, I didn't care much for the bench seating. I thought it was cramped. The crowd was rowdy the entire game and we spent much of the time standing, but at the start of a timeout, it felt a little bit like a game of musical chairs to see who could sit down first and claim the most real estate on the bench for their butt.

OSU doesn't play there this year, but I definitely want to go back. It was tough for me that day seeing OSU lose. It would be much more fun to be part of that environment when I'm not so emotionally invested in the opponent.

by CBus_BuckFan | Nov 16, 2011 02:15 PM

A lot of attention

This place sure is getting a lot of attention! I'm really interested in taking a trip over to a game this season by the way everyone makes it sound. I'm still not so sure about the idea of the bleacher seats; someone please convince me that it adds to the collegiate feel....

by conradklank | Nov 23, 2011 10:46 AM

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Crowd Reviews

Mackey Arena

Total Score: 3.14

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 2

Basketball is always a little bit better in the state of Indiana. Purdue University is often the forgotten step-child of Indiana basketball, but a trip to Mackey Arena will still be an enjoyable experience.

Boiler Up

Total Score: 4.29

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

At the beginning of the Rick Mount era of Purdue basketball, a new arena was built to replace Lambert Fieldhouse next door. The year was 1967 and the facility was Mackey Arena. For over 40 years, this domed building with the aluminum roof has held rowdy Boilermaker crowds. While the program has never claimed a National Championship in the tournament era (they were Champions in 1932), they have seen their fair share of success, including 23 Big Ten Championships entering the 2012-2013 season.

Purdue has been the home of two national players of the year as well. Glenn Robinson took the honor in 1994, and the best known coach in the history of college basketball, won player of the year honors in 1932, his third straight year as an All-American. Interestingly, they both wore the same jersey number, and Robinson's #13 and Wooden's #13 hang in the rafters with the numbers of Rick Mount, Joe Barry Carroll, E'Twaun Moore, and JaJuan Johnson, among others. Purdue doesn't retire numbers, but instead hangs these banners to recognize consensus All-Americans.

Mackey Arena is a special place. First, it's in Indiana, and basketball always feels just a little better in Indiana. Second, when you can boast that John Wooden played at your University, then you have established yourself as a historic basketball institution. Finally, this place is loud! Bring your ear plugs, and get ready for some great Big Ten basketball.

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Local Food & Drink

Harry's Chocolate Shop  (map it!)

329 W State St

West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 743-1467

http://www.harryschocolateshop.com/

Brother's Bar & Grill  (map it!)

306 W State St

West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 746-1090

http://www.brothersbar.com/

Nine Irish Brothers  (map it!)

119 Howard Ave

West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 746-4782

http://www.nineirishbrothers.com/

Insomnia Cookies  (map it!)

602 W Stadium Ave

West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 743-9070

https://insomniacookies.com/

Local Entertainment

Lodging

Union Club Hotel  (map it!)

101 N Grant St,

West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 494-8900

http://www.union.purdue.edu/hotel/

Hilton Garden Inn on Wabash Landing  (map it!)

356 E State St

West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 743-2100

http://hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/indiana/hilton-garden-inn-west-lafayette-wabash-landing-LAFWLGI/index.html

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