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Official Review by Brian O'Sullivan, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Mar 13, 2017
Nestled in the northwest corner of Indiana, the University of Notre Dame is one of the best academic institutions in the country. In addition to its stellar performance in the classroom, the Fighting Irish also have a plethora of athletic teams that are always at or near the top of the league in every sport in which they compete.
Purcell Pavilion is home to Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team, as well as the women’s basketball team and women’s volleyball team. Purcell is located within the Joyce Athletic & Convocation Center, commonly referred to as the JACC, which is directly next to the newly renovated Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish have seen success in recent years on the court, both in the regular season and the postseason, with an Elite Eight appearance in 2016. After joining the Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2013-2014 season, powerhouse teams come to South Bend for showdowns with the Fighting Irish on a regular basis. It is well worth the trip to Purcell to catch a men’s basketball game, especially if there is a hockey game at the Compton Family Ice Arena on the same day or weekend.
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 food options at Purcell are surprisingly limited, but there are a few choices that are unique and tasty. Concessions stands are scattered throughout the concourse, with most serving the same options or a particular specialty item, such as Dippin' Dots ($5/$7). Local Eisenberg hot dogs ($4.50) are served at most stands and are a favorite among fans. Coca-Cola products are served throughout Purcell, with both regular ($4) and souvenir ($5.50) cups available.
The most popular concessions item is a Ben's soft pretzel ($6), and most fans are willing to wait to get their hands on this delicious offering. They are actually served in Heritage Hall, which gives fans something to look at during the wait, and are well worth the time in line.
The recent success of the men's basketball team has only made the atmosphere inside Purcell even more electric. Purcell is a relatively intimate arena, with all seats offering magnificent views of the court, as well as cup holders and ample legroom. A beautiful jumbotron hangs above the court and keeps fans updated and entertained throughout the game. Although Purcell is by no means the biggest arena in college basketball, it does get loud, especially when Notre Dame is playing a highly ranked opponent.
If you find yourself wandering through the concourse, make sure to stop by Heritage Hall, which is a great place to grab a bite to eat as well as to see some of the greatest sports memories in Notre Dame history.
The world famous Notre Dame band also plays throughout the game, which adds an extra level of intensity and fun to the game.
The area around Notre Dame continues to grow and has a number of options that are great for any type of fan. Directly off campus and within walking distance of Purcell is Eddy Street Commons. O'Rourke's Public House and Brother's Bar & Grill are fan favorites on Eddy Street and offer great beer options as well as fairly good food.
Within driving distance to campus, South Bend and Mishawaka offer plenty more restaurants if you are looking for more substantial food. Papa Vino's has a number of locations in the area and offers great Italian food at a reasonable price, but you will have to drive.
If you are looking to stay on campus, make your way to Legends of Notre Dame, which is a restaurant and pub. Legends offers a number of beer and food specials and is a great place to stop by before or after the game for a drink.
The Fighting Irish have some of the most loyal fans in the entire country. Although Notre Dame is most famous for its football team, the fans also make their presence known at nearly every sporting event on campus. The fans at every game are cordial and knowledgeable about the game. Men's basketball is no exception, with the fans rooting on the Irish while also creating a friendly and inviting atmosphere.
While most of the fans that attend men's basketball games are typical basketball fans, the student section gets Purcell rocking. The students that attend games at Purcell are passionate and loud and sit directly behind the basket to distract opposing players. The band only feeds the energy of the students and makes Purcell even louder.
The University of Notre Dame is relatively isolated. Located about an hour and a half southeast of Chicago, the campus is located a few minutes from downtown South Bend. The easiest way to get to campus is by car, but South Bend is also accessible by both train and bus from Chicago.
Once on campus, navigating is tremendously easy. Parking is both free and ample for all men's basketball games, which is nearly unheard of at this caliber of college basketball.
Inside Purcell, navigating the arena is tremendously easy. Restrooms are always kept clean and are conveniently located. Additionally, the arena is handicapped accessible throughout the concourse and the seating bowl.
Tickets to Notre Dame basketball games vary in price depending on the opponent, but offer economical options for nearly any game. For premium games against highly ranked opponents, fans can still get great seats for $50. For less desirable opponents, tickets start at just $15. Although food is somewhat expensive, a night out at a Notre Dame basketball game will by no means break the bank.
An extra point is awarded for free parking during basketball games and all sporting events on campus, aside from football
Another point is awarded for the beautiful campus. Notre Dame is truly one of the most beautiful and iconic college campuses in the country.
The amount of memorabilia on display throughout the concourse at Purcell is a great addition to attending a game. It makes it easy to understand why Notre Dame draws such a large crowd.
Finally, the lively student section during most games warrants one last point.
Even though Notre Dame is not located near a major city, heading to campus on a non-football weekend is a great way to catch a basketball or hockey game and see the campus with far fewer people. In short, attending a game at Purcell Pavilion is well worth the cost of admission.
Member Review by paul
It's a completely different feeling when you arrive on the campus of Notre Dame for a basketball contest, as compared to a football Saturday. There's a feeling of serenity as you stroll through the idyllic campus on a late fall or winter day.
That serenity is shattered by the Notre Dame pep band as they erupt into the classic Notre Dame fight song, as the hoops team takes the floor. From that moment forward the energy begins to build slowly, although the students seem conspicuously absent from the equation. Even though I witnessed a game against a lesser opponent, it was pretty disappointing to see the weak fan turnout, especially from the student section. Indiana may be a basketball state, but South Bend is definitely a capital of football country.
Member Review by REVIEWS101 on Dec 13, 2014
NEVER been to Notre Dame or have stopped in Indiana; had a great time. The staff, view and food was terrific. they had goofy contests/dances during breaks in the action. They played Michigan in Women's basketball today and won 70-50. I recommend highly that you go if you haven't been before. Go Fighting Irish.
Member Review by REVIEWS101 on Dec 13, 2014
forgot, the PA system faded in and out and it could've been louder, other than that it was excellent.
Member Review by TromboneSwag331 on Dec 28, 2014
It is one of the best college arenas around. The fans, depending on the opponent, are always into the game. The same goes for the student section. It is also one of the loudest arenas too. When the fans and students are into the game, it is loud, exciting and also intimidating. It also has been newly remodeled (2010-2011). It truly is an awesome arena. With the jumbotron over center court, the fans/students yelling and cheering and with the best band there as well cheering, it is one of the greatest atmospheres ever.
Member Review by paul on Feb 19, 2015
Since opening in 1968, the men’s and women’s basketball squads have won approximately 80% of their home games. Originally named the Athletic and Convocation Center, the arena was rededicated as the Joyce Athletic & Convocation Center in 1987, and today is known as Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The arena is named for Rev. Edmund P. Joyce who served for 35 years as the Chief Financial Officer at Notre Dame, and Phil Purcell III, an executive at Morgan Stanley who provided more than $12 million toward the building’s renovations, completed in 2010.
Purcell Pavilion looks fantastic, both inside and out. The arena sits right next to the iconic home of Fighting Irish football, Notre Dame Stadium, across the parking lot from the beautiful Compton Family Ice Arena, and across the street from Frank Eck Stadium, home of the Notre Dame baseball team.
After years of playing as an independent, the Notre Dame basketball team joined the Big East in 2000, and shifted to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for the 2013-2014 season. While the Notre Dame basketball program has seen a good deal of success, they have appeared in only one Final Four, in 1978.
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