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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

Alico Arena – Florida Gulf Coast Eagles



Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

Alico Arena 10501 FGCU Blvd Fort Myers, FL 33965

Year Opened: 2002 Capacity: 4,633

 

Welcome to Dunk City

Florida Gulf Coast University is a member of the University System of Florida. It opened in 1991 and has grown to offer more than 58 undergraduate degree programs. The Ft. Myers campus is now home to more than 15,000 students.

The sports teams at FGCU are known as the Eagles. The basketball program at the university originally participated in sports at the Division II level, moving up to Division I status in 2011. The team is a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The round ballers found their wings in 2013, as they won the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, then defeated both Georgetown and San Diego State in the NCAA Tournament to go on to the Sweet 16. They then lost to the eventual National Champions from the University of Florida in the round of 16. It was during this tournament that the team earned the moniker “Dunk City” and “Florida Dunk Coast” for its proclivity to slam the ball through the net. The nicknames have stuck and still are in use more than a decade later. The team also played their way in as a First Four team in 2016 and a number 14 seed in 2.


Alico Arena is the on-campus “nest” for the Eagles basketball program. It opened in 2002 and has a seating capacity of 4,633. The seating bowl features five sets of retractable bleachers. The seating area also includes six skybox suites.


Food & Beverage 4

Alico Arena has two permanent concession stands and two portable concession kiosks. The permanent stands are located on the first level of the arena on both sides of the lobby. The portable concessions kiosks are found at the second level of the venue on the NW side of the court.


The stands offer hot dogs ($5), candy ($3), chips ($3), popcorn ($4), cotton candy ($6), nachos ($5), pretzel bites ($6), cookie ($4) and Dippin’ Dots ($6).


Beverages available at Alico Arena include 20 oz. Pepsi brand sodas ($3), 20 oz. bottled water ($3) and Gatorade ($4). Alcoholic beverages are also available at the arena. They include Budweiser brand beers ($6) and wine ($6).


Atmosphere 4

The venues for all the sports FGCU offers are located on campus at the school’s Athletic Complex. A large statue of the school’s eagle mascot is located in front of the Alico Arena.


Alico Arena is always a lively place for the Eagles' home games. The FGCU student section is located behind one of the baskets, and they do everything possible to confuse the opposition on free throws and yell loud enough that it intimidates the visitors. The cheer teams for the Eagles are located immediately in front of the student section.


The arena features a wide variety of graphics in its lobby, outlining the various titles won by the various sports at FGCU. The trophies earned by each sport at the school are also on display. A spirit table offers free items such as posters, key rings, and scorecards for the fans.


The seating area at Alico Arena features seatbacks on the sides of the court and bleacher seating at the ends of the court.


There is a large four-sided LED center-hung scoreboard constantly providing updates and stats for the game.


Neighborhood 4

There’s plenty to do nearby before or after a FGCU basketball game. Sports fans might enjoy a sports doubleheader by attending a Florida Everblades hockey game at nearby Hertz Arena. Those who like shop to shop, until they drop, can head one way on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway and shop at Gulf Coast Town Center Mall or head in the opposite direction and shop at Miramar Outlet Mall.


Two popular dining spots near FGCU are Ford’s Garage at the Outlet Mall or Pinchers Crab Shack at Gulf Coast Town Center.


There is no shortage of lodging facilities near Alico Arena. The two closest hotels to FGCU are the Embassy Suites on Corkscrew Commons Drive and the Hilton Garden Inn on Corporate Commons Way.


Fans 4

Basketball is the marquee sport at FGCU, as the university does not have a football program. It also has established a long history of success, which has resulted in a very loyal fan base. They tend to fill the arena for conference games and bring their A-game to create noise during the game. The arena tends to hold in this noise, making it hard for the visiting teams to communicate on the floor, resulting in frequent turnovers.


The student section at Eagles games is known as “The Dirty Birds”. For the most part, they do keep their cheers clean. They erupt after a dunk by the Eagles or even a clean blocked shot against the visitors. The students coordinate very closely with the Eagles cheer squad, as well as AZUL, the team’s Eagle mascot.




Access 4

Alico Arena is easy to get to via I-75 in the Ft. Myers area:


Coming from the North on I-75: Take exit# 128 (Alico Road) off I-75. Go left on Alico Road for one mile. Turn left onto Ben Hill Grifin Parkway and go two miles. Turn left onto FGCU Blvd. South. At the first stop sign turn left and go to the next stop sign. Turn right and go past the Aquatics Complex. Turn into the parking lot for Alico Arena.

Coming from the South on I-75: Take exit# 123 (Corkscrew Road). Turn right on Corkscrew Road and go one mile. Turn left onto Ben Hill Griffin Parkway. Go two miles and turn left onto FGCU Blvd. South. At the first stop sign turn left and go to the next stop sign. Turn left and go to the next stop sign. Turn right onto FGCU LAKE Parkway and go past the Aquatics Complex. Turn into the parking lot for Alico Arena.


Arena doors open one hour before tipoff, leaving you plenty of time to buy a drink and find your seats.


Return on Investment 4

General Admission seats are $10. Seats on the sides of the court are $33 and seats in the corners are $18. Seats behind the basket are $10. Student seating is free for persons showing their FGCU student ID card. Add $2.00 to these prices if you are buying the tickets at the door. Seating behind one of the baskets is reserved for the FGCU student section.


The concessions available at Eagles basketball games are very reasonably priced.


Parking is free in the lots adjacent to the Alico Arena.


Extras 4

Banners for each member school of the ASUN Conference hang from the ceiling of the Alico Center. There are also banners for each championship won by FGCU, as well as banners representing their trips to the NCAA Tournament.


Make sure to stop by the trophy case in the lobby, as it houses the trophies for every sport that FGCU takes part in.


In addition to FGCU men’s and women’s basketball, the Alico Arena also hosts commencement ceremonies, concerts, public speakers, and community events.


FGCU is one of the few Florida schools to have a club ice hockey team. The team uses the nearby Hertz Arena, home of the Florida Everblades, as their home ice.


The Eagle statue in front of Alico Arena makes for a great photo opp. In addition, there are two sports-specific plexiglass eagles (one dressed in baseball gear and the other in basketball gear) in the lobby of the basketball venue.


Final Thoughts

The Alico Arena at Florida Gulf Coast University provides a very friendly nest for the Eagles roundball program. The arena also is known as the home of “Dunk City”, as the high-flying Eagles are known for their proclivity to slam the ball through the nets regularly.

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