- Chris Green
Gainbridge Fieldhouse – Indiana Fever
Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
Gainbridge Fieldhouse 125 S Pennsylvania St Indianapolis, IN 46204
Indiana Fever website Gainbridge Fieldhouse website
Year Opened: 1999 Capacity: 17,923
WNBA’s Shining Gem
The Indiana Fever may not be the first team one thinks of when it comes to basketball excellence in the Hoosier state, but that would be a massive mistake. With three WNBA Finals appearances that include a championship in 2012 and a league record for consecutive playoff appearances, the Fever has steadily been one of the hallmarks of women’s basketball, not only in Indiana but in the US as a whole.
Similarly, their home arena is equally as impressive as their history. Many may expect that a lower-division team playing in the same stadium as an NBA stalwart would be overshadowed – that is not the case at Grainbridge Fieldhouse. The whole place is a museum to the sport of basketball, both for men and women, at all levels of experience. The Fever also brings in a pretty respectable crowd for not being the biggest team in town. Except for the upper level of the arena being closed off to fans and blocked from view with large drapes, a night out at a Fever game feels a lot like a night out to see professional basketball anywhere else.
Food & Beverage 5
There is no shortage of food at Grainbridge Fieldhouse, and all concessions stand in fan-accessible areas are open during Fever games. Highlights include bottomless popcorn for $8, something that satisfies large groups and families, and chicken wings for $10. The team also offers the option to bundle some food items, such as bottomless popcorn and two glasses of water for $17; or popcorn, a pretzel with cheese, and a soda for $16.75; or wings, fries, and a domestic draft beer for $24. These package deals offer the ease of being able to order everything you want to get a complete meal while saving a few bucks in the process. The lines are rarely long thanks to all the stands being open, and the quality of the food is high, so floppy burgers and stale chips are not likely to be found anywhere here.
While the upper level may be closed off, the arena still feels like you’re in a top-notch setting. Bankers Life Fieldhouse may well be listed as a museum as well as a stadium due to the countless display cases, halls of fame, photos, trophies, jerseys, and exhibits you can find throughout the property – this venue truly is an homage to the sport that Hoosiers love most. Any fan can spend hours wandering the halls and concourses of the arena and still not see it all.
The arena itself is also a beautiful sight. The architecture of the place reminds fans of the hardworking nature of Indianapolis, and the brickwork and metal framing inside echo that of the Midwest’s industrial past. From the in-game entertainment to the excellent displays for basketball fans everywhere, this arena truly makes you feel like you’re part of the history of the game.
The fieldhouse is right next to downtown Indianapolis, meaning you’re in the heart of the city’s restaurants, shopping, and attractions. The Indianapolis Canal Walk is also near downtown, which provides great shopping next to the river. You can also visit the Indianapolis Zoo, the iconic Soldiers and Sailors Monument, or Indianapolis Motor Speedway while in town. In addition, within blocks of the arena are restaurants to the tune of Steak N Shake, Yard House, St. Elmo Steak House, The Old Spaghetti Factory, Hard Rock Café, and many more. Hotels are also plentiful downtown, including a Hampton Inn and a Hilton Garden Inn.
Fever fans have been loyal in Indianapolis since the team first debuted. However, after years of success, a downturn in the last few seasons has led to a drop-off in attendance. That said, weekend games and bigger matchups tend to bring the big home crowds again. Overall, the fans are passionate, to say the least, and are very team knowledgeable. After all, Indiana is known for their basketball fervor, and Fever fans are no different. Without a doubt, the fans in Indy rival those in any other WNBA city.
To get to Grainbridge Fieldhouse you have multiple options to use major highways, as the venue lies right in the heart of downtown Indy; once you get off either I-70 or I-65, just a few blocks separate you from the arena. Parking on-site is perfectly located, with a large garage attached to the facility being the best option. If you wish, however, several nearby lots and garages are open, including parking at the mall across the street. Public transportation will also get you there, as the bus routes in town take you right to the arena. Once inside the venue, signage is plentiful to help you figure out where to go.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to Fever games start at just $13 for a single game, which means you can take a family of four to the game for about $55, not including concessions. With parking on site or nearby being plentiful, and concessions being as varied as they are, the return on investment is pretty high considering you are getting to watch professional basketball in one of the top arenas in the country.
In 2018 the Fever started the Family Fun Zone, located on the first floor of the arena. Open before tipoff and during halftime, this area has concessions, a mini team store, games, and displays for the family to check out. Also, Bankers Life Fieldhouse has countless display cases full of Indiana basketball memorabilia that are sure to please any sports fan or basketball enthusiast.
You can also see into the Indiana Pacers’ practice court from the sidewalk outside and the main lobby inside; the windows at street level give fans a look down into the practice court for an inside look at how the Pacers prepare for game day.
Though known more for its NBA inhabitants, Grainbridge Fieldhouse is a brilliant stop for any basketball fan who wants to experience the best the WNBA has to offer – the architecture is beautiful and impressive to see firsthand. The action on the court is also exciting, which makes the game-day experience seem even more enjoyable when coupled with affordable ticket prices, quality concessions, and fun activities for the whole family. This is a stop for basketball fans who are traveling in the summer months and want to get a taste of Hoosier basketball pride in the heart of the Midwest.