Allen County War Memorial Coliseum – Purdue Ft. Wayne Mastodons
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.87
Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
4000 Parnell Ave
Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Year Opened: 1952
College Basketball at the Memorial Coliseum
Purdue Fort Wayne began its men’s basketball program during the 1973 -74 season and was known as Indiana University – Purdue University (IPFW) up until the 2017-2018 academic school year. The Mastodons compete in the Summit League and split its home games at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center on campus and in the much larger Allen County War Memorial Coliseum about half a mile away.
The Dons made their only NCAA tournament appearance in 1993 at the Division II level but capture the Summit League regular-season title in 2016. Later that year a capacity crowd watched the team defeat Indiana University at the Coliseum in overtime. It was the school’s first victory over an AP Top 25-ranked program in history. PFW has also qualified for the CIT four times since 2014 and has posted six straight winning seasons as of this writing.
The Mastodons play 10 out of its 15 home games at the Memorial Coliseum and the building is no stranger to hoops being home of the Ft. Wayne Pistons from 1952 and 1957 and also hosting Ft. Wayne Mad Ants games in the NBA G League since 2007. The Ft. Wayne Fury of the Continental Basketball Association called the Coliseum home from 1991-2001.
Food & Beverage 3
Many of the Coliseum’s concession stands are closed and only two areas that serve food are open. They offer a nice variety of menu items consisting of hot dogs, burgers, nachos, and giant tenderloin sandwiches. It’s more than enough for the typical crowd at basketball games and fans can also enjoy watching the team play while drinking a frosty beer.
The facility is blocked off with giant black curtains that limit the seating during basketball games. This creates a nice intimate vibe in the building with crowds usually hovering around the 1,000 mark for games played off-campus. A similar setup is used for Mad Ants games and the curtains also hide the disassembled hockey rink structure.
The Mastodons feature a band that plays at one end of the court and a few shouts and jabs at the opposing players can be heard due to the size and small crowd in the building. The team’s mascot makes his way around the court and stands to greet fans and poses for pictures.
However, fans can get close to the action on the court and can hear everything echo from the squeak of the players’ shoes, the bounce of the ball, and the emotion from players on the bench rising from their seats after a three-point or hard-fought shot is made. The atmosphere is at its best against Summit League rivals South Dakota State.
The Coliseum is located near an abundance of chain restaurants, retail outlets, and berries lodging options. There is almost everything you could want within a couple of miles from the building including coney dogs, barbecue, craft beer, and Tim Horton’s coffee.
Mister Coney has been a mainstay for over 50 years and offers their take on the coney dog that is a bit meatier in texture than what you would find downtown. Mission BBQ is a Maryland-based chain that provides an array of smoked meats and 8 varieties of barbecue with portions of their proceeds going back to first responders. 2Toms Brewing Company brews a nice range of beer and offers a laid-back atmosphere perfect for games of all ages.
Glenbrooke Square Mall is one of the largest in the area and is surrounded by familiar chain restaurants and shops. Tim Horton’s has a location here featuring its coffee that is widely consumed up north in Canada. There is also the practice rink for the Ft. Wayne Komets and if you happen to be in town for a doubleheader between hockey and a basketball game, you should be able to find enough to keep you busy in between games at the Coliseum.
The Mastodons average crowds of a little over 1,000 per game and the ones in their seats do a nice job of cheering on their team on the court. However, the Dons could use a few more faithful in the building for home games.
The seating arrangement on the court is among the best pricing options for pro or college basketball in the state. There is also the opportunity to watch college basketball up close and personal where you can hear everything take place from the players to the coaching staff.
The Coliseum has gone through multiple renovations this century that has modernized it for greater access for all guests and patrons. These new features include escalators and elevators and provide access for fans to multiple areas of the arena. There is parking for 5,000 cars in the lot and it’s only a 1.5-half-mile drive from the I-69 exit or a 4-mile drive to downtown Ft. Wayne.
Return on Investment 3
A cost of a ticket for all PFW games is $23 in the 200 level of the building. The price to park your car is $6 per vehicle and concession prices are reasonable. The $23 price tag is not a bad deal to watch college basketball but would be enhanced with a better game day atmosphere,
The team has an impressive-looking Mastodon mascot that parades around and greets fans during the game. He does not look like one character you want to mess with. The school band also does a good share of ribbing against the opposing players with a little humor and passion throughout the game.
Although there is much to like about the basketball being played at the Coliseum the overall experience suffers from the size of the building and the small number of fans in the stands. In a state where capacity crowds are the norm at Butler, Purdue, and Indiana, Purdue Ft. Wayne hopes to include itself among these prominent programs.