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Official Review by Steven Burke, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Macomb, Illinois home of Western Illinois University has all of the feel of a small southern college town. As you approach Macomb you will need to drive through several rural miles of interstate followed by another 20 plus miles of country highways before you see the small quintessential college town. Macomb is a place where the school and the town are intertwined into a singular culture.
The basketball teams play in a very unique venue known as Western Hall. It's a smaller arena with seating that folds out from the walls. Newly renovated and comfortable seating is found throughout the venue.
The Leathernecks play their home games in the Western Hall, a venue that seats 5,139 and was opened in 1964. Western Hall was renovated prior to the 2016-2017 season making the game experience more enjoyable.
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".
There is only one concession stand at Western Hall with a limited selection. You can find a hot dog for $2, nachos for $2, popcorn for $1, or a candy bar $1.
Beverage choices consist of 20-ounce Coke product, Powerade, or bottle of water. Each option is only $2.
The renovations completed in 2016 at a cost of $1 million consisted of the complete removal and replacement of the lower bleachers and renovation of the north balcony bleachers. The sections of seats at center court have additional padding and all of the new seats which have seatbacks provide ample legroom.
On each end there are purple plastic bleachers with the pep band on the opponents end and the student section on the end nearest the Leathernecks' bench. With the low ceiling of Western Hall when the crowd and band get going the building can produce a great environment for college basketball.
The best part of a trip to Macomb for a basketball game takes place a mile or so away from the arena. Downtown Macomb has a cute little square where you will find several options to grab some grub.
Closer to campus is a great option known as Chubby's which has the feeling of a small college town bar which also has good food. The Italian Beef sandwich and the chili are both very good. Chubby's is known for their shoes which you can top with almost any toppings imaginable.
The student section known as the "Purple Haze," seems pretty involved in the game and adds to the environment. The community seems involved as well, adding to the environment and making it a true college town feel.
While it takes some time to get to campus once you exit the interstate the good news is that parking is free and the lot is large. Once arriving in Macomb all of campus is easily accessible, however it is quite a drive once you exit the interstate.
General admission tickets are only $10, and for just $5 more you can get a reserved seat. Premium seats will run a bit more at $22. You can also purchase a kids ticket at a discounted rate. The entire experience is very affordable.
The fact that the bulldog mascot can be found in many forms around the arena. There's the inflatable version in the corner near the pep band. There's the typical costumed mascot who makes the rounds high-fiving spectators. Finally, there's the live leashed version that takes laps around the arena pre-game, and then settles in to watch the game.
A bit of cost savings exhibited well here as the video boards are mobile and are moved between Western Hall and the football stadium depending on which sport is in season.
If you are looking for a good college town environment visit Macomb where the school and community are nicely intertwined.
Member Review by paul
The Summit League basketball conference is geographic mish-mash that extends from eastern Michigan to North Dakota to southern Utah to Louisiana. In the center of that expanse is Macomb, Illinois, home of the Western Illinois University Leathernecks.
The Leathernecks play their home games in the Western Hall, a venue that seats 5,139 and was opened in 1964. It is a bare bones college basketball experience, with very little that rises above expectations.
Member Review by jcamp74 on Feb 04, 2011
Please note that the neighborhood score reflects the downtown shops and restaurants. WIU campus is a typical state school campus and doesn't really offer much to the outsider.
Member Review by WIUFan on Apr 06, 2014
This is a kind of field house set up and is in need of updates. This being said they have adequate seating and have seen success in last few years under their head Coach Jim Molinari. This has brought a new found fan base to the stands that have in recent years packed capacity here. The school has announce plans to place a video board in the arena which will be a nice addition. The school does have plans in its master plan to build an arena just east of where western hall is located which is needed as this is a step between either a low end D1 gym or a high end DII gym. All in all access is good and they have quite a few little events during game to keep it interesting during breaks. Pep band is good and when team is playing well students can get excited though this most recent season they saw a slight drop in performance. Tickets are cheap and if you are in the area and just are looking for a fun event it is worth going to.
103 S Side Sq
Macomb, IL 61455
1420 W Jackson St
Macomb, IL 61455
320 W Adams St
Macomb, IL 61455
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