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  • Matt Fiedler

Amica Mutual Pavilion - Providence Friars


Photos by Matt Fiedler & Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Fiserv Forum FANFARE Score: 3.86

Amica Mutual Pavilion 1 LaSalle Sq Providence, RI 02903

Providence Friars website Amica Mutual Pavilion website

Year Opened: 1972 Capacity: 12,400

 

The Dunk

In September 2022 Amica Mutual Insurance Co. entered into an agreement to purchase the naming rights for the arena and adjoining convention center in downtown Providence. This review below was completed while the facility was operating under its former name, the Dunkin Donuts Center.


Providence College is one of the most important schools in the history of college basketball. Dave Gavitt was the AD at Providence College and helped to found the Big East Conference. That conference would become one of the best in all of college basketball. It has produced numerous hall of famers and countless all time greats.

Providence College has called the Dunkin Donuts Center home since it opened in 1972. The arena is the perfect size for a program like Providence College. It is big enough to pack in a lot of fans but not so big that it can’t sell out. Providence College basketball is a program that has had success getting to and winning in the NCAA tournament and is certainly a worthy product to check out at a solid venue like the Dunkin Donuts Center.


Food & Beverage 3

The assortment of food at the Dunkin Donuts Center isn’t impressive. You can find arena staples like popcorn, hot dogs, nachos, pretzels and assorted candy. The only local flavor can be found in the Papa Gino’s pizza that’s served in the arena. You can also find some sandwiches and salads but it’s nothing to write home about. There are definitely better options to be found outside of the arena before the game.


The Dunk sells Pepsi products so you won’t find Coke or Sprite in the arena. For alcoholic beverages, you can find the standard stadium beers but also some craft beer and mixed drinks at certain locations on the concourse. The Dunk also sells Dunkin Donuts coffee but remarkably doesn’t sell donuts at their stands.


Atmosphere 4

While no one will mistake the Dunkin Donuts Center for Phog Allen, Cameron Indoor, or Pauley Pavilion, it does have a solid atmosphere for college basketball. The Dunk has a great jumbotron that shows all the relevant statistics and info that fans need. The usual bells and whistles of a college basketball game are on full display as well. There’s a pep band, student section, t-shirt tosses and fan contests. When the arena gets rocking during a Big East tilt, it’s one of the best experiences in college basketball.


The arena can get very loud, especially during a Big East conference action. They also have two mascots and an inflatable friar at one end of the arena. The two mascots are Friar the dog and Dom the Friar.


Neighborhood 5

The Dunkin Donuts Center is located in downtown Providence where there is an abundance of things to do. The arena itself is connected to the Rhode Island Convention Center, which routinely hosts interesting events like Comic-con. It is also very close to Providence Place Mall. In there you can find a wide range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. On the top floor is a movie theater complete with iMax screens.


Providence has a wide array of dining options and there is something to fit every taste and palate along with several fine breweries. Providence also has some great pizza places like Casertas and Providence Coal Fired Pizza. A short walk from The Dunk can get you to Federal Hill where many delicious Italian restaurants can be found. Providence is also located just 45 minutes from Boston so a trip to watch the Celtics and PC basketball on the same weekend is a possibility.


Fans 5

Providence College draws very sizeable crowds throughout the season. For the 2021-2022 season the Friars are averaging about 10,000 fans per game. The fans really get rowdy during Big East conference games and games against rivals like the University of Rhode Island. The fans get loud at the appropriate times and really know their stuff. While the fans are very passionate, they aren’t openly hostile towards opposing fans. Any heckling is done in jest and opposing fans won’t be bothered. Overall, the fans help to provide one of the better home court advantages in the Big East conference.


Access 5

The Dunk is located in downtown Providence and is very easy to access. The Dunk can be accessed from I-95 and it is a short distance from that highway. If arriving for a night game, be prepared for the traffic as I-95 is a very busy highway and things can get congested.


There are plenty of places to park in the city. You can park around the Federal Hill area and walk to the arena. You can also pay to park in the convention center or Providence Place Mall parking garages. The Dunk can also be accessed via public transportation for fans looking to utilize that.


The Dunkin Donuts Center has great sightlines all around. The arena has very comfortable seats and has no obstructed views. The concourse and restrooms are very clean and accessible. The only thing to note is that there is a lot of congestion around the concession stands at halftime.


Return on Investment 3

Providence College uses variable pricing for tickets. A ticket to a game against Villanova will cost more than the same seat at a game against Central Connecticut State. Tickets can normally be found for as low as $15 for an upper level seat but can inflate to close to $100 for the lower level against good teams.


The concessions are expensive, but that’s a given at a Division 1 program like Providence College. There are definitely better values and tastier options if fans eat before the game at one of the city’s many restaurants. Parking can range from free street parking to $25 parking in a lot.


Extras 2

One star goes to the overall history of Providence College basketball. In the rafters, you can see stars from the past like Ernie DiGregorio, Marvin Barnes, Jimmy Walker, and John Thompson. Without Providence College, there would be no Big East. Dave Gavitt, former PC AD, was the founder of the conference.


A second star goes to the great city of Providence. It is a truly underrated city that has a great food culture to go with some high end basketball. Definitely take a moment to walk around and try some of the local food.


Final Thoughts

While most people think Boston is the place to go for sports in New England, Providence holds its own. Providence College basketball has had a great impact on the city, state and the college basketball landscape as a whole since it led to the formation of the Big East Conference. The Dunk may not be a legendary venue, but it is definitely a fun environment to take in some high level Division One basketball.

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