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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: 14,804

There are no tickets available at this time.


Local Information


Boiler Up at Mackey Arena

The Purdue Boilermakers have called the Mackey Arena home since 1967. The 14,804 facility cost $6 million to construct and was designed by Walter Scholer and Associates Inc. to replace Lambert Fieldhouse.

Throughout its half century of use the facility has seen numerous renovations, but most importantly was the $99.5 million Mackey Complex Project that was completed in 2012 that tripled the concourse area, increased the number of concession areas and restrooms, and added premium seats on the lower section.

The changes have enhanced the fan experience at Mackey Arena, an older facility with aesthetically pleasing charm, but with all the comforts of a modern arena. The dome shaped roof provides unobstructed views of the court from the seats and a noise level that provides a strong home field advantage.

Originally named Purdue Arena for its first five years, it was renamed after Guy Mackey who served Purdue sports for 46 years as its athletic director from 1942 until his death on February 22, 1971.


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 features your usual stadium menu items plus a few interesting creations taylor made for Purdue basketball fans. The Mackey Burger is a cheeseburger with bacon and macaroni and cheese and sells for $10, the giant pork tenderloin sandwich for $7, and lastly, the Mike Ditka chicken sausage for $7.

If you're looking for value then the barbecue wrap for $3 is a steal. It's a flour tortilla stuffed with either pulled pork, pulled chicken, or beef brisket. If you still have a craving for BBQ then try it on a bun for $10 or top it over nachos for $7.

Then again the common hot dog, nacho, chili cheese dog, and walking taco are also available between $4 and $7. You can wash that down with any Coca-Cola product that sells for $5 or in a commemorative cup for $8.

Atmosphere    4

They enjoy basketball here at Purdue and when you can pack in near capacity crowds on a nightly basis the atmosphere is going to be fun, exciting, and deafening. It all starts with fans taking out their phones for the BoilerLights app that allows them to use their smartphones during pregame festvities and participate in a synchronized light show that is produced by themselves.

The dome shaped structure of the roof and the symmetrical design of the arena provide an almost unobstructed view of the playing court and great acoustics during the game. The majority of the seats are bleacher style and are somewhat cramped when the crowds are big. On the west end of the lower area is premium seating. However, there is not a bad seat in the house and sometimes you gain a great vantage point from all that's occurring throughout the building.

There are various banners of past championship teams and retired jersey numbers from both the men's and women's side. A giant video scoreboard hovers over the court named after legendary basketball coach Gene Keady who coached the men's team for 25 years.

Purdue Pete can be seen throughout the lower level of the arena and maybe a few places on the main concourse floor. He can been seen stroking up the crowd that can become one of the loudest in the nation along with the cheerleaders and the students in the Paint Crew section.

There is also a modest collection of paraphernalia throughout the concourse that shows glimpses of the basketball team's past through old uniforms, trophy's, jerseys, and newspaper articles. Glass trophy cases are scattered around that are both entertaining and revealing about the basketball program.

Neighborhood    4

The Chauncey Village neighborhood features quite a bit of funky little shops and restaurants, plus some great nightlife destinations. Von's Shops offer an impressive array of new and used books, clothing, and other items in an eclectic building and storefront.

Next door is Von's Dough Shack where customers choose their type of calzone and enjoy it fresh from the oven. If you are not the creative type, there are 34 varieties to choose from off the menu.

Just across the street is the famous Triple XXX Family Restaurant where one can enjoy a peanut butter burger or homemade root beer inside its small, cozy, and narrow booths. The small building features narrow countertops and bar stools.

If you are adventurous and want to expand your tastebuds, Shaukin Indian Fast Food might be just the place during your visit. This is not your standard Indian fare, but Indian street food that is lively in taste and spice. Most items are well below $10 and you can take it to go and enjoy it across the street at The Pint.

If you are a craft beer fan, People's Brewing Company is located 3 miles north from the high school and is one of the better places for local beer in the state. Pints are $5 and are a dollar less on Wednesdays. Lafayette Brewing Company is the other craft beer option in town with $2 off of pints on Wednesday nights as well.

Fans    4

Purdue fans are just as boisterous as any other group in Indiana and sometimes they are overlooked by their rivals down in Bloomington. However, the colors here are black and gold and when the team is hot, the fans are in a frenzy.

One gentleman swears that Mackey Arena is the best venue in the Big Ten and dares anyone to disagree with him. I would say he is somewhat bias, but when you have a wide open view of the fans cheering in unison, why argue?

Access    3

West Lafayette is off of I-65 and is about a 15-20 minute ride to campus after that. If driving, take exit 175 (IN-25) towards Lafayette/Delphi and follow the signs towards campus and the arena. Mackey Arena is next to the football stadium and shares the same parking lot.

The renovated outer concourse is much bigger and provides quick access to bathrooms, exits, and concession stands.

Return on Investment    4

Tickets can be found on the secondary market for as little as $12 for smaller schools or non-Big Ten rivals to $200 when Indiana University pays the Boilermakers a visit. The return on investment will depend on who is playing, but most of the time tickets should range between $40-$50 a person. The cost of parking is also reasonable, between $10-$20, depending on what garage or lot you park in for the game.

Extras    3

One star for the BoilerBall Lights app that allow users in attendance an interactive engagement tool that enhances the game day atmosphere at the game.

Another star for the collection of history in various glass cases on the main concourse. Visitors can enjoy the history of Mackey Arena, Purdue uniforms of the past, and legends who once played or coached at the school.

And a third star for offering a $3 menu item at the game. The barbecue wrap is price friendly and perfectly sized for the kids.

Final Thoughts

Mackey Arena is one of the many reasons why people love their basketball in Indiana. A classic arena that has served many memories was rebuilt with 21st century comfort and charm. An evening watching Boilermaker basketball is one of the reasons why basketball is king in this past part of the country.

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.

Boiler Up

Total Score: 3.43

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

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.

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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