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Official Review by Paul Swaney, Stadium Journey Co-Founder
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.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There isn't much to be excited about when it comes to the food at the Joyce Center, although you should be able to find enough to meet your basic needs. The Purcell burger ($4) or cheeseburger ($4.50) doesn't deserve to be associated with the name of the arena- a soggy and generic tasting mash-up of cheese-like product served on meat-like product on a mushy bun. The safer bet is the Johnsonville brat ($4.50).
You can also find typical stadium snacks like popcorn ($3) served in a Notre Dame branded box, soft pretzel ($4), and assorted sweet treats like shaved ice ($3.50), ice cream, or Dippin' Dots.
Beverages are all provided in various sizes of a souvenir cup with prices ranging from $3.50-$6, and filled by Coke products. Bottled water and Powerade are also available.
Notre Dame has traditionally maintained a very strong home court advantage. From 1998-2002 the Irish compiled a 51-game winning streak at the Joyce Center. With that kind of record, you would assume that their arena would be loud or intimidating.
Other than the strong opening number by the pep band, and the montage of basketball tradition shown during the introductions, there was very little to be excited about during the game experience as far as fan support.
Almost all of the seats in the arena are blue plastic with cupholders. There isn't a great deal of leg room, so shoot for an aisle seat especially if you are a taller fan.
There is a beautiful concourse with some very serious trophies displayed, so make sure you allow some time to peruse the hardware before the game or during halftime.
The Notre Dame campus is a beautiful slice of Midwest academia, so try to allow yourself some extra time just to walk around the campus a bit before the game. You'll want to see the famous Golden Dome, Touchdown Jesus, and the football stadium, among other beautiful buildings.
Legends of Notre Dame is located in the parking lot toward the Lou Holtz gate of Notre Dame Stadium. They offer a good selection of appetizers, entrees, sandwiches, and salads. Legends also has a decent selection of beer with 24 selections on draft. Most of all, there is a great history and memorabilia up on the walls, putting you in the mood to see a memorable Notre Dame sporting event. There are also plenty of HD TVs to stay caught up on the day's sports.
The fans were a definite disappointment during my visit. The student section began to fill somewhat eventually, but they never seemed too engaged in the game. The rest of the arena was fairly quiet as well, with little more than the expected applause at the expected moments.
Bathrooms are absolutely immaculate- the cleanest that I have ever seen at any stadium or arena. They are also fairly large so you shouldn't expect much of a line, even during peak periods.
Parking is free, with a very large lot. Parking and traffic for a football game can be an absolute nightmare, but for basketball it's a breeze.
Tickets range from $15-$40, with the best value to be found at the $20 value with seats in the upper section of the arena bowl. A trip to Purcell Pavilion is an affordable experience. When you add in the cost of a brat ($4.50), drink ($3.50), and parking (free), then you can see Big East basketball for the low price of $23.
If you can only make one trip to South Bend, you would be better off saving your money for a football game- an expensive, but unforgettable experience. If you do make it to an Irish basketball game you can expect to have a good view, stay within your budget, but will probably leave wanting more.
The Joyce Center is the site of the victory that ended UCLA's record 88-game winning streak. You'll also find a Final Four banner, from 1978, when the team lost in the semi-finals.
A final bonus point awarded to the beautiful campus. Don't miss the opportunity to walk around a bit.
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.
54801 Juniper Rd
Notre Dame, IN 46556
1220 E Angela Blvd
South Bend, IN 46617