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Mackey Arena

West Lafayette, IN

Home of the Purdue Boilermakers



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.


Local Information


Boiler Up

Mackey Arena originally opened in 1967 as the simply-named Purdue Arena. Its simple round design was very common to other arenas designed and opened at around the same time. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams call the venue home, with an occasional concert, convention, volleyball and wrestling match also seen here.

The building was renamed in 1972 to honor Purdue alumnus and long time athletic director Guy "Red" Mackey. In 1997, the floor was renamed Keady Court, in honor of longtime men's coach Gene Keady.

An interesting fact is that Mackey Arena is located at 900 John R. Wooden Drive, which is named after the former Purdue guard who went on to win 664 games and ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including seven in a row. The "Wizard of Westwood” was originally from Indiana, and was the first player ever to be named a three-time consensus All-American for the Boilermakers.

Between 2007 and 2012, the university worked on the Mackey Complex Project. This $100 million renovation included a new playing surface for Keady Court, a reseating of the “Paint Crew” student section and a doubling of the concourse width.


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

Food at most college basketball arenas is usually pretty standard fare. Mackey Arena is no exception, as the food is good, but will not blow you away.

Best bets are the Boiler Italian Beef Basket and cheeseburger basket, both for $10.

Hot dogs are available for $5, souvenir sodas $8, regular soda $5 and popcorn $7.

The Smashers stand is pretty neat and offers good variety. Grilled chicken Smashers ($8) and grilled cheese Smashers ($8) are pretty tasty. You can also get a Reuben Smasher, chicken pesto, or BLT salad.

There is also a Chick-fil-A kiosk, where the ubiquitous sandwich is on sale for $5.

Atmosphere    4

The circular design of the arena and the slightly small size of the arena space means that the arena can get quite loud. It is one of the loudest college arenas I have experienced. In 2008, USA Today named Mackey Arena one of the "10 great places to get pumped for NCAA action."

I never experienced the smaller, less wide concourses before the renovation, but the current setup generally seems nice, although crowded at halftime.

Seating for most of the arena is pretty uncomfortable, with bench seating mostly all over the arena. It is a wonder that during the remodel, some of the seats were not replaced. Sitting long times in the bench seats could be considered torturous.

The Boilermakers' pep band is pretty loud. There are also cheerleaders at games, but no dance squads or other kinds of groups. The event staff does a good job of offering extra stimulation during timeouts and down times, so as to keep the crowd involved.

Above the court, you will see a nice four-sided scoreboard. All game action and information is provided, although newer and better options could be installed in the future.

Neighborhood    4

West Lafayette is home to a pretty good college town area called Chauncey Hill. There will be numerous options for food and drink for pre and post-game enjoyment.

Triple XXX is one of the more iconic Purdue restaurants. It is an old school drive-in. Expect to see menu items carrying the name of local sports icons.

Harry's Chocolate Shop is another favorite spot. It is a bar, not an ice cream store, like it sounds. It can get pretty crowded, but this is one of those places you will most want to attend at least once while in the area.

Jake's Roadhouse and Brother's Bar & Grill are some other options, depending on how crowded Harry's gets.

Be sure to wander around campus and see things, such as the Purdue Belltower and the Engineering Fountain.

The Hilton Garden Inn is at a nice shopping center called Wabash Landing, and would be a convenient place to stay for overnight visits.

Fans    4

The student section, known as the "Paint Crew," can get pretty loud. Spread across the arena, their chants of support are nicely timed and orchestrated.

The Purdue pep band will play the song "Hail Fire" which includes a nice and loud yell of "IU SUCKS," even when not playing their in-state rivals of Indiana University.

Some of the fans closest to the court seem to be the more "big money" types and may not be the most raucous out there. That is unfortunate, although luckily, the student section and fans in the upper areas certainly make up the difference.

Access    3

Purdue University has decent access to Interstate 65, the major road between Indianapolis and Chicago.

It is best to get off at exit 168 if coming from Indianapolis and travel through the city of Lafayette into West Lafayette.

From the north, exits 193 (U.S. 231) and 178 (state road 43) will get you directly to the campus.

There should be plenty of parking options around, although weeknight games will cause some trouble during the semester. Check the athletics website for best options. The Northwestern Garage is pretty easy to use for games, with a bit of a walk.

Return on Investment    3

Games start at around $30 for non-conference games. That would get you an upper deck ticket. Expect the price to go up dramatically for conference games, especially against Michigan State, Illinois and Indiana.

Extras    3

The student cheering section, the "Paint Crew," is pretty loud. Their innovative cheers and gestures keep the flow of the crowd involvement at a nice level.

Expanded concourses have allowed the university to display the history of the Purdue athletic program, with cases around the lobby. Tour around the whole venue to see the details of the scope of this fine basketball program.

Gene Keady was an impressive force in college basketball. His career 550-289 record (512-270 at Purdue) s quite impressive. It is nice to see the court at Mackey Arena named in his honor.

Final Thoughts

Mackey Arena is loud. The intimate and noisy arena is a great place to watch both great basketball and witness the great fans who love and support their team.

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.

The Paint Crew

Total Score: 3.57

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

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.

Mackey Arena

Total Score: 5.00

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

Mackey Arena has the best student section in all of college basketball! BOILER UP!!!

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Local Food & Drink

Harry's Chocolate Shop  (map it!)

329 W State St

West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 743-1467


Brother's Bar & Grill  (map it!)

306 W State St

West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 746-1090


Nine Irish Brothers  (map it!)

119 Howard Ave

West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 746-4782


Insomnia Cookies  (map it!)

602 W Stadium Ave

West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 743-9070


Triple XXX Family Restaurant  (map it!)

2 N Salisbury St

West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 743-5373


Local Entertainment


Union Club Hotel  (map it!)

101 N Grant St,

West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 494-8900


Hilton Garden Inn on Wabash Landing  (map it!)

356 E State St

West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 743-2100



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