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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

Gainbridge Fieldhouse – Indiana Fever


Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14

Gainbridge Fieldhouse 125 S Pennsylvania St Indianapolis, IN 46204

Year Opened: 1999 Capacity: 17,923

 

Basketball Played at a Fever Pace


The state of Indiana has long been known as “The State of Basketball.” From the movie “Hoosiers” to the IU teams under Coach Bobby Knight, the state of Indiana is consumed by the roundball sport from mid-November through late April for the amateur levels and July for the professionals. One the state’s top cathedrals of basketball, Gainbridge Fieldhouse, has been going through a three-year renovation to better serve the fans in the Hoosier state.


These renovations include increasing the size of the Bicentennial Unity Plaza outside of the arena, the addition of a deck in one of the end zones to provide more gathering areas and concession services and the entry pavilion has been enlarged to better manage the crowds at the high school, college, and professional levels at the fieldhouse. All this work is scheduled to be completed in time for the NBA All Star Game in 2024, which will also be hosted by the Gainbridge Fieldhouse.


The facility opened as the Conseco Fieldhouse in 1999, then became the Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in 2011. Finally in 2021, financial platform Gainbridge took over as the title sponsor. The venue seats 17,274 in its basketball configuration, making it one of the largest arenas by capacity in the NBA or the WNBA.


One of the primary residents in the Gainbridge Fieldhouse is the Indiana Fever of the WNBA. The team arrived in 2000, and it plays in the Eastern Division of the WNBA. The team has been remarkably successful in the arena, as it has gone to the playoffs in 13 out of the 15 seasons it has played there. This includes three runs to the WNBA Finals, winning the WNBA Championship in 2012.


Food & Beverage 4

One of the recent improvements taking place on the Bicentennial Unity Plaza just outside the Fieldhouse doors is the addition of Commission Row. This three-story building will include several upscale dining establishments, including a chophouse, a seafood restaurant, and a speakeasy on the bottom level. This provides a pre or post-event dining opportunity for fans.


The concession offerings inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse are quite diverse. Fieldhouse Favorites stand carries the typical arena fare of pizza, burgers, hot dogs, and chicken tenders. The 3 Point Taqueria serves tacos and nachos. Warehouse District BBQ offers brisket, pulled pork BBQ and beans. Chick-fil-A has a store in the arena with its popular chicken sandwiches. The Fast Break Market offers a wide variety of items in the form of a convenience store. Slam Dunk Snacks offers nachos, pretzels, popcorn, candy, and frozen novelties. Shack Bar by Steak and Shake offers milkshakes in unusual flavors.


Adults will want to check out the Yuengling Flight Deck high atop the action at one end of the court.


Atmosphere 5

It is hard to dispute Gainbridge’s claim to being the center of the Indiana basketball universe. In addition to being the home of both Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever basketball at the pro level, the venue hosts annual college basketball tournaments featuring the top three college basketball powers in the state (the University of Indiana, Purdue University and Butler University). It frequently plays host to the Big 10 Conference Basketball Tournament, as well as one of more segments of the men’s or women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.


Gainbridge Fieldhouse also serves as the host for every level of the Indiana High School State Basketball Tournament on both the boys and the girls side of the ball. If that’s not enough, it also hosts the Indiana State Wrestling Tournament. The facility treats each of these temporary tenants with the same reverence and professionalism.


There really is not a bad seat in the house, as the Fever only uses the 100 level and the Kreig Devault levels of the arena. All the seats are close to the floor due to the steep pitch in the seating bowl. Gainbridge Fieldhouse also has one of the largest video boards in the NBA/WNBA, measuring 50 feet long and 21 feet high. It offers frequent replays of the top plays in the game, as well as offering up fan entertainment activities when there is a lull in the action. This includes the antics of Freddy Fever, the team mascot, and the moves of the Fever Inferno Hip Hop Dancers.


Neighborhood 4

The Gainbridge Fieldhouse is close to several attractions, hotels, and restaurants in downtown Indianapolis.


Nearby attractions include the Indianapolis Zoo, White River Creek State Park, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and the Indiana Statehouse. Sports fans may also want to check out Victory Field, home of the minor league baseball Indians and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum in nearby Speedway, Indiana.


The nearest lodging to the Fieldhouse is the Hampton Inn Indianapolis Downtown, which is within walking distance of the arena. As far as restaurants go, Harry and Izzy’s is a longtime favorite in Indianapolis. It is known for its steaks and prime rib entrees.


Fans 3

The Fever have long enjoyed a very loyal fan base. Most of them grew up in Indiana, where basketball has always been an immensely popular sport. The fans are very knowledgeable about the game and have followed many of the WNBA stars since their high school and college days. The Fever team members are looked at as role models, a fact that the team takes very seriously. The team visits schools and girls’ organizations on a regular basis as a part of their community involvement initiatives.


The Fever also are popular with their fans due to being a family-friendly entertainment option. There are several matinee games on Wednesdays and Saturdays so that parents don’t have to worry about keeping their kids up late. The team also has a Family Fun Zone beyond one end of the court complete with games, arts and crafts, and frequent visits from Freddy Fever, the team mascot.


Access 4

Gainbridge Fieldhouse benefits from being in the largest city in the state, as well as being the state capital. It offers easy access from both I-70 and I-65. This means there will be a public transportation option for fans as well as having several parking lots near the venue to choose from. A family can park in one lot for the entire day by paying the daily fee instead of the hourly fee. This can save you some money, as special event parking at the lots nearest the arena cost more than $15.


The IndyGo Transit System has a bus stop immediately in front of Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The transit system also links you with some of the major attractions around the arena.


Once at the Fieldhouse, you can enter the building through any of three main entrances. Two are adjacent to the plaza and the third is via a pedestrian skybridge from the Virginia Avenue parking deck to the arena. Doors open 60 minutes before tipoff.


Indianapolis is a very bike-friendly city, with bike lanes designated on the streets. There are bike racks located underneath the Virginia Avenue parking deck.


Once inside you will find escalators to take you to the upper-level seats. Bathrooms are plentiful, including four gender-neutral restrooms.


Return on Investment 3

Tickets to a Fever game are available at several price points based on location in the seating bowl. Some games may not use the upper seating levels if the estimated attendance is low. Tickets at midcourt cost $40, Tickets on the corners are $25 and the ends of the court cost $15. All seats in the Kreig Devault level of the seating bowl are considered General Admission, and cost $15.


Parking in lots adjacent to the Fieldhouse charge $16 on event nights.


The concessions prices at Gainbridge Fieldhouse are quite reasonable.


Extras 3

The Fever have added some bright red uniforms to their usual wardrobe of gold and blue uniforms. This is in conjunction with their “in for red” marketing campaign.


Gainbridge Fieldhouse is considered the main concert venue in Indianapolis. Among the acts who have performed there are Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, the Backstreet Boys, Elton John, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, and Jimmy Buffett.


The entry lobby is a virtual museum of basketball in the state of Indiana. There are several displays about the Fever and their history to check out.


Final Thoughts

It’s impossible for any basketball league in the U.S. to exist without a team from Indiana. The Fever have a long history of trips to the playoffs on a regular basis. The Gainbridge Fieldhouse serves as their home “hot spot” with a great location, terrific fans, and wonderful nods to basketball in the Hoosier State.

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