Let me say this strategically; Allen Fieldhouse is the best college basketball arena, if not the best home of any sports team, and anyone who would argue otherwise is a close-minded homer. Only a Kentucky fan would argue that Rupp Arena is on the same level as The Phog. Only someone wearing a UNC or Duke shirt would say the Dean Dome or Cameron Indoor are equivalent to the Jayhawks’ home court. Pauley Pavilion, The Pit, Assembly Hall, all fall short of the glory that is the temple of college basketball, where the Jayhawks play on a court named for the inventor of the game (James Naismith, who was the first KU coach), and in a building named for a man who is given credit to creating modern basketball coaching (Forrest Allen, winner of three national titles). The Jayhawks are privileged to have the best home court advantage in all of major American athletics.
Discussing coach Bill Self’s home record is an exercise in absurdity. Since 2003, the team has lost 10 home games, and won 13 straight conference titles, a record. There’s been a winning streak of 69 games, and a few longer than 40. Self has never lost two home games in a row. KU has not lost a Senior Day game in 32 years. Self’s home winning percentage is better than 95%. The Jayhawks have not missed the NCAA tournament since 1988, when they were banned from postseason play for a rule that that has since been changed. Their seeds in the NCAA Tournament since Self’s arrival are 4, 3, 4, 1, 1, 3, 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, and 1. No team has been more successful or consistent in the last 15 years, and no small part of that is due to the power of The Phog.
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".
Allen Fieldhouse has a great selection of sports snacks (nachos, popcorn, hot dogs, pizza and Coke products), all for decent stadium prices. They have several food stands shilling out local favorites, like the Bill Self Burrito from Salty Iguana and the pulled pork sandwich from Bigg's BBQ. You can also find specialty cookies and desserts at other food stands in various levels of the concourse.That being said, going to Allen Fieldhouse to experience the food scene is kind of like flying to Rome to check out the airport; it doesn't make any sense. Yes, there is food, and if you're starving, you will find something good to eat, but you're best to leave the concession line and experience The Phog, just as you would hightail it out of Leonardo da Vinci airport to see the Eternal City. My advice is grab a souvenir Coke, a box of popcorn, and get to your seat early to enjoy the show.
Simply put, nothing matches the atmosphere of the Fieldhouse. In 2017, the arena set a new Guinness World Record for loudest indoor stadium at more than 116 decibels, louder than a jet or chainsaw. And, that's not with piped in crowd noise or speakers blaring music, that is pure fan jubilation. Beyond just the crowd noise, the pep band does a really amazing job performing all the standard KU songs, but they also throw in 80s and 90s pop and rock favorites, current rap hits, and the Game of Thrones theme that's so hot right now. The cheerleaders and dance team have choreographed steps for many of these songs, just proving that every part of game production is practiced and perfected. It is an amazing place to watch ANY game, small non-conference contest or major conference rivalry.
Before each game, the video board plays a highlight video that is re-cut each week to show recent highlights, or older highlights against that day's opposition. When the video gets to the Mario Chalmers tying three-pointer from the 2008 national championship game, the crowd reaction will be nearly deafening. It WILL give you chills, regardless of your team affiliation.
Lawrence, Kansas is a perfect college town. Big enough population to have movie theatres, restaurants, and shopping, but not so big that the city outshines the university. The city's political compass points liberal, like you would expect being so near a large university, but that liberal spirit keeps out a lot of the chain restaurants, and promotes a love of local spots. Mass(achusetts) Street is the heart of the downtown district, just a few blocks from the edge of campus and a short drive from Allen Fieldhouse. Papa Keno's pizza is a great place to grab a slice, and the Red Lion tavern is a casual local pub. Live music is big in Lawrence, and there are several places to catch local acts, or mid-major national artists. The best burger and fries you'll ever have are served at The Burger Stand, and the Sandbar is a great local tiki hut just off Mass.
Closer to campus, and popular with the college and alumni crowd, The Wagon Wheel Cafe is one of the most acclaimed college bars in the country. It's stood in the same spot for more than 60 years. Sportscenter anchors often shout out the joint, and its famous "Wangburger" (a cheeseburger with a fried egg).
Although #BBN (Kentucky's Big Blue Nation) may argue the point, Kansas fans are the best in the country. 16,300 pack the fieldhouse for every game (more than 200 sellouts in a row, in fact). They are the loudest, as proven with the noise record set this season. They routinely fill the stands for conference road games, often so much that you can hear them doing the Rock Chalk Chant when the Jayhawks inevitably win. They know all the players by name and face, where that player came from, and often know the same for opponents. Perhaps most importantly, they are a classy group, never cursing like the inferior fans down the river from Lawrence, and in fact applauding good play, as evidenced by the standing ovation they gave Oklahoma's Buddy Hield following his 46 point performance in the 3OT thriller in January 2016. This is a group that loves college basketball, not exclusively Jayhawk basketball, and they have an intimate knowledge of the history of the game that may just be limited to those lucky enough to be fans of the team that the inventor of the game coached.
The only issue with KU home games is that tickets do not run cheap. It used to be that you could get a non-conference GA ticket for around $20 (GA seats are in the high corner bleachers), but even those are hard to find now. It's not a stretch to say that Kansas home games are one of the largest collections of wealth in the Midwest. Any conference match-up will run North of $100 per ticket. Season tickets require a hefty annual donation. Once you've acquired your tickets, you should get to the area early to try to find free street parking nearby on campus, unless you have a parking pass for the lot that is connected to the building. Bathrooms are numerous and easy to find, and the concourses have been recently renovated to be brighter and wider. There are special sections for wheelchairs, directly behind the baskets, the best seats in the house.
Tickets aren't cheap, but like a lot in life, you certainly get what you pay for at the Fieldhouse. $80-$100 for one of the greatest live sports experiences on the planet is a fair price. The Super Bowl will cost way more and be less fun. This is truly a bucket list item. Just ask Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who made his pilgrimage a couple years back for that very reason. Celebrity sightings are far more common than they should be for a college basketball game in the middle of the country, with comedians like Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis and Rob Riggle being noteworthy Jayhawks fans. Music artist Trey Songz came two years ago to watch his childhood friend, KU point guard Frank Mason. Of course, the real stars are the ones with the KU jerseys, and no shortage of those guys have gone on to NBA play, including guys like Paul Pierce, Andrew Wiggins, and Wilt Chamberlain.
In addition to hosting an occasional basketball game, Allen Fieldhouse is a full-fledged Kansas sports museum. Trophies and uniforms and balls and rings from all KU sports are housed in museum-quality exhibits in the entryway. You're highly advised arrive early to view the cases, and test your skill on the many games in the area, like the vertical jump meter and reaction time test. The walls are plastered with action shots of former players, as well as all of Sports Illustrated covers featuring the Jayhawks. Banners hang in the halls proclaiming the numerous Final Fours, conference titles, All-Americans, and national championships. Inside the arena, there are too many banners to count displaying the same, as well as retired jerseys, and famously, the long banner above the national championships with the warning "Pay Heed, All Who Enter: BEWARE OF 'THE PHOG'".
Most notably, Allen Fieldhouse is home to the original rules of basketball, the two pieces of paper, penned by James Naismith, that sold at an auction to a Kansas alum for a sports memorabilia record $4.3 million back in 2010. The building add-on, called the DeBruce Center, hosts the original rules, as well as serves as a union style building for students during the week. Dedicated in Fall of 2016, the center is also used for donor events during home games, although the original rules will be visible to the general public at all times. The rules are a must see for anyone taking a pilgrimage to the Phog.
When you think of the most historic institutions in the sport of college basketball, the Kansas Jayhawks are one of the first teams that come to mind. Some of the greatest names in the sport have played and/or coached in their home arena, Phog Allen Fieldhouse. Opened in 1955, Phog Allen Fieldhouse offers the very best for lovers of sports. A trip to Lawrence, Kansas is a trip that you will never forget.
For my money, there isn't a better venue in all of college sports than Allen Fieldhouse. It combines unparalleled basketball and program history with one of the best crowds in college basketball in one of the last remaining barn-style venues in the United States.
It's one of the few true, definite, and consensus "must-visit" places in sports, and rightfully so.
Worth a visit.
Allen Fieldhouse exceeded all (very high) expectations...it's a trip through time. The place is a museum, a shrine to college basketball. The fans are amazing, knowledgeable and very friendly. A fantastic experience.
I like eggs.
Unfortunately, I haven't been to a game in a few years. But Phog Allen Fieldhouse is one of those places that will never change. The experience is unlike any other. Fans, students especially, pile in a good two hours before the game starts. And your legs will hurt when the final buzzer sounds. That's because everyone stands up the entire game, besides the timeouts and halftime. No one leaves early and no one stops yelling. Just over 16,000 seats but it gets louder in the Fieldhouse than some NBA stadiums.
Parking seemed to be very tough for anyone driving into campus for the game, there are many available lots but some require quite a walk to get to the actual Fieldhouse. But the KU campus is gorgeous and there is so much to do in the lovely college town. I may be biased since I am an alum, but with the history, fan support, neighborhood (the whole town basically shuts down on gamedays) and level of play, there may not be a better place to watch college basketball.
Being a resident of Kansas, I have been to all major DI schools to watch a basketball game. Even when Kansas plays a team you know they are going to blow out, I've seen students camping the night before. Soak up and enjoy the experience. Must see for the college basketball fan.
Best college basketball atmosphere in the country. Especially when the Jayhawks are in a close game, the noise level is incredible. The Fieldhouse is both nostalgic and cutting edge in the Hall of Fame fan interaction displays. A must see and experience for all college basketball fans! Rock Chalk, Jayhawks! Go KU!
It's been over a decade since I've been to Allen Fieldhouse but I can remember it like it was last week.
Both were games against Iowa State during the Cyclones' Big XII title years in 2000 & 2001. Both games were decided by two points with ISU winning both. The 2001 game was part of the old 'Big Monday' ESPN telecasts. The games featured future (and current) NBA players Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison, Drew Gooden, Jamal Tinsley & Marcus Fizer among others.
The place was absolutely electric and as loud as any arena or stadium I've heard (since matched by Chesapeake Energy Arena in OKC). The makeup of the arena with the flat roof forces the sound back down into the area. It's more of a gym than an arena but the old school charm is unmatched. I haven't made it to Cameron Indoor Stadium yet but that is the only venue that I imagine could compare.
Having been so long ago I'm guessing at some of the ratings categories but it was one of the best atmospheres I've ever experienced, college or pro.
It was a little more than an hour from tipoff on a sunny Saturday afternoon outside of Phog Allen Fieldhouse when the following was heard from a group of fans who were making their way up the sidewalk: “Man, this place still gives me goose bumps.”
In these parts, if the University of Kansas men’s basketball serves as a religion to many, then the six-decade-old sports venue is its cathedral where traditions are preserved and history is chronicled. A stroll through the hallway leading to the KU locker room tells the story with banners featuring a series of numbers: 56 conference titles, 16 College Basketball Hall of Fame members, 14 Final Four appearances, five national championships.
Named after famed coach Dr. Forrest C. “Phog” Allen, the building sits on Naismith Drive, in honor of James Naismith, the founder of the game and the only KU basketball coach to have a losing record. A statue of Allen stands in front of the east side of the building, where the Booth Family Hall of Athletics resides.
The hall is just one of a string of enhancements that have been made over the past few years to spruce up the place. It won’t be long until another annex is added to include a viewing area for Naismith’s original rules of basketball, which were purchased by David Booth, the same namesake of the hall of fame, from an auction for $4.3 million.
“I think’s it great. It gives you a complete sense of history as it’s happening,” said one longtime fan about all of the extra exhibits. “It creates the whole picture of KU sports… but the experience is Allen Fieldhouse itself, watching a game, being with other fans. The whole essence of being at a KU game is inside.”
The atmosphere at Allen Fieldhouse is one of the best in college basketball. Access and parking can be very difficult. Also the tickets are very pricey. The food and beverage selection and prices are very average. For anyone older the seats are wooden and very hard. You also don't have much space, you are crammed in like sardines. The student sections are great. The fans are wonderful and it is a great college basketball atmosphere. Just don't expect nice amenities (like wide, padded seats) like you see in the modern arenas.
Let me say this strategically; Allen Fieldhouse is the best college basketball arena, if not the best home of any sports team, and anyone who would argue otherwise is a close-minded homer. Only a Kentucky fan would argue that Rupp Arena is on the same level as The Phog. One wearing a UNC or Duke shirt would say the Dean Dome or Cameron Indoor are equivalent to the Jayhawks’ home court. Pauley Pavilion, The Pit, Assembly Hall, all fall short of the glory that is the temple of college basketball, where the Jayhawks play. The court is named for the inventor of the game (James Naismith, who was the first KU coach), the building is named for a man who is given credit to creating modern basketball coaching (Forrest Allen, winner of three national titles). The Jayhawks are privileged to have the best home court advantage in all of major American athletics.
Discussing coach Bill Self’s home record is an exercise in absurdity. Since 2003, the team has lost 9 home games, and won 12 straight conference titles. There’s been a winning streak of 69 games, and an active streak of 40 straight home wins. KU has not lost a Senior Day game in 32 years. Self’s home winning percentage is better than 95%. The Jayhawks have not missed the NCAA tournament since 1988, when they were banned from postseason play for a rule that that has since been changed. Their seeds in the NCAA Tournament since Self’s arrival are 4, 3, 4, 1, 1, 3, 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, and 1. No team has been more successful or consistent in the last 15 years, and no small part of that is due to the power of The Phog.
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