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Official Review by Paul Donaldson, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Originally constructed in 1972, the PMAC (Pete Maravich Assembly Center) has faithfully served as home court for LSU basketball for over 40 years. Often called the "Deaf Dome" or "House That Pete Built" (in reference to former LSU and NBA great Pete Maravich), the PMAC can sometimes miss the spotlight garbled up by Tiger Stadium, home of LSU football, and Alex Box Stadium, home to LSU baseball. However, sports fans would be remiss to overlook the great college environment established for Tiger basketball gameday. A game at the PMAC is a family friendly event that provides high quality SEC basketball as well as LSU history, tradition, and pride on display both inside the arena and nearby outside.
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".
The PMAC provides an adequate concessions experience. There are a couple of specialty items to look out for in addition to your typical stadium fare.
At the Taco Churro's stand you'll find unique items like a BBQ shrimp poboy, alligator sausage poboy, and shrimp pasta (each coming in at $7.50).
If you have a sweet tooth, check out the Tiger Bites mobile stand which offers up mini donuts, pralines, and whoopie pies. Other unique items include crawfish pie, jambalaya, bayou blend beef jerky, and the Ditka Dog (Mike Ditka brand spicy beef polished sausage with sautéed onions).
For your stadium basics, hot dogs run $3.50, nachos are $4.50 and soda options will be Coca-Cola brand. Credit cards are accepted at most stands inside the PMAC.
Expect an exciting college basketball atmosphere highlighted by the passion of an SEC fan base.
The walk into the seating area immediately provides a sense of awe with the court brightly lit in contrast to the darkened seating areas. There's a ton of banners hanging from the rafters which include the women's basketball team and LSU gymnastics. LSU does an excellent job in memorializing the past through the concourse as well with numerous displays of past Tiger greats like Shaquille O'Neal and Pistol Pete Maravich.
One of the strengths of the experience is the dedicated focus on the elements which make college athletics unique from professional sports experiences. Instead of blasting piped in music from the sound system, the LSU band plays consistently during each time timeout. The pom squad, Tiger Girls, and LSU's costumed mascot Mike the Tiger are very active as well. The LSU game day crew leaves no doubt that you are on a college campus and watching a college basketball game.
Expect to see plenty of funny moments on the fan cam from dance-offs to awkward kisses. There should also be a few t-shirts tossed your way.
The PMAC is located just across from Tiger Stadium and nestled right next to the multi-million dollar home of LSU's live mascot Mike the Tiger. There's also a fan shop in the same plaza. This provides for a really cool walk to the PMAC. Though a few quality area restaurants are within walking distance, you'll probably want to hop in the car to get there. There's plenty to do in the greater Baton Rouge area (be sure to check out the downtown options), but we'll focus here on the area adjacent to LSU's campus known as North Gates.
Where to Eat. A must-stop restaurant option while in town before or after the game is The Chimes. Here you'll find great Cajun dishes, seafood, and a fun college environment. The birthplace of the growing Raising Cane's restaurants is located near the campus. This quick service restaurant has some of the best fried chicken fingers and an addictive dipping sauce. Stop in for some coffee at Highland Coffees. Looking for breakfast or have a late night craving? Louie's is a North Gates staple and is open 24/7.
Attractions and Entertainment. Arguably the most popular location for live music and dancing in the nearby region is The Varsity. Check out their website for a live music lineup before you head in town. Also check out Slinky's if you looking for a good college town bar. While near the PMAC, be sure to make a visit to Mike the Tiger's multi-million dollar habitat.
Where to Stay. In a city of Baton Rouge's size, there's plenty of quality places to stay. Keeping with the theme of staying nearby the LSU campus, I recommend a stay at the Cook Hotel and Conference Center which is run by the LSU Alumni Association.
It's truly hard to match the passion of LSU Tiger fans. While the spirit reaches its peak during LSU football games, Tiger faithful support almost every aspect of the university. It's not surprising for the PMAC to be sold out on back to back nights in the spring for an LSU basketball game and an LSU gymnastics competition.
LSU fans are loud and love tradition. Expect to hear plenty of "Geaux Tigers!" and "Tiger Bait" cheers throughout your visit.
One area that the basketball fan base could use a little shot in the arm is putting the student section on display more so than the endlines next to the band. There's a great pocket of students who are totally into the game from start to finish, but it's not the awe-inspiring student sections of some of the elite venues around the country.
If there's an area where the LSU basketball experience can be a little more than average, it's access inside the stadium. It can be quite frustrating trying to traverse the concourse and running into a wall of people waiting in line for concessions. Unfortunately, there's not much LSU can do about this given the confines of the PMAC in terms of concourse size. Would be nice to see some good wrap-around stanchions placed in front of each main concession stand to force people inside and leave a little more room for passerbys. While a trip to the restroom is typically a time commitment for females, don't be surprised if you experience a line for the men's restroom as well.
Access is a mixed bag, because getting to the arena is a breeze. Free parking is available around the PMAC on LSU's campus. It's close enough for a quick walk. Getting your tickets and entering the arena is pretty easy as well.
The overall LSU basketball experience is surprisingly affordable for a major college environment. Depending on what you choose at concessions, you can find a few affordable options. Tickets typically range from $5 in the upper court to $20 for mid-court. That's very affordable for the quality of play and overall level of excitement on display in the PMAC.
The LSU basketball experience at the PMAC is full of "extras."
- There is an impressive amount of effort put into memorializing the past. Whether it's one of the many murals throughout the concourse, the LSU Hall-of-Fame display, statues outside the PMAC, or the dozens of banners hanging from the rafters, the place screams history and accomplishment.
- If you're in need of some Tiger gear, there's a permanent stand built into the concourse. When open, there's also a full gift shop outside of the arena
- Having the Mike the Tiger Habitat just outside the PMAC is very neat.
- You'll notice a free game day program in the concourse by each seating area entrance.< Tweets by @SJ_Louisiana
Member Review by pderrick
It has been called many names from "The House that Pete Built" to "The Deaf Dome" by Dick Vitale, but there is one thing that is the same and that is that the Pete Maravich Assembly Center is the home of the LSU Tigers and it can get pretty crazy. The LSU Tigers have called the Pete Maravich Center home since 1972.
The arena was originally called the LSU Assembly Center at its opening but was renamed to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in 1988 shortly after Pete's death. Pete never played in the arena but had always wanted LSU to build a larger arena for its basketball team which he felt was always in the shadow of the LSU Tigers football program. The Pete Maravich Center has the capacity to hold 13,215 fans which still only makes it the 7th largest arena in the SEC.
3357 Highland Rd
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
3313 Highland Rd
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
3350 Highland Rd
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
3353 Highland Rd
Baton Rouge, LA 70802