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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Amica Mutual Pavilion - Providence Friars



Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

Amica Mutual Pavilion 1 LaSalle Sq Providence, RI 02903

Year Opened: 1972 Capacity: 12,400

 

Friared Up!

 

Providence College is a small liberal arts college located about two miles from downtown Providence, Rhode Island. It is the only college in North America administered by the Dominican Friars. With a total enrollment of just over 4,800 students, Providence College is the smallest school in the Big East Conference.

 

Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s Providence College was an emerging national powerhouse on the collegiate basketball scene. During this time the team played their home games in the cozy on-campus Alumni Hall, which seated only 2,620. Demand for Friars tickets was so great that a new, downtown arena was built to house both the Friars’ men’s basketball team and the American Hockey League’s Providence Reds. The Providence Civic Center, now named the Amica Mutual Pavilion (The new nickname, the “AMP,” hasn’t really caught on yet), has been home to the Friars since its opening in 1972.

 

Ironically, the Amica Mutual Pavilion, which was built to house the growing Providence basketball program, replaced the venerable Rhode Island Auditorium, which served as home to the Providence hockey team. When the basketball team moved off campus the hockey team moved back on campus into the new Schneider Arena.

 

The Friars are a founding member of the Big East Conference, and Providence has been the home base of the circuit since its founding in 1980. The Friars have qualified for 22 NCAA Tournaments, reaching the Final Four in 1973 and 1987. In addition, Providence has made the NIT Tournament 20 times, winning titles in 1961 and 1963. 32 Friar alumni have played in the National Basketball Association.

 

Food & Beverage 3

 

Traditionally the concessions experience has been the biggest shortcoming of the game day experience at the Amica Mutual Pavilion. However, the facility has started to introduce a bit of variety into the menu. Sal’s Pizza is the new pizza vendor at the AMP, serving up their oversized slices. A stand at the far end of the AMP now serves beef barbacoa and chicken tinga tacos. Other than that, you’ll find typical arena fare at the concession stands.

 

Fans looking for snack food will find plenty of options throughout the AMP. In addition, portable carts scattered around the concourse sell Del's Lemonade and the most popular item at the AMP, fried dough.

 

Coke products are featured at the Amica Mutual Pavilion. Fans looking for adult beverages will be pleased by the wide selection, which features a variety of domestic and imported brands. Friartown IPA from nearby Union Station Brewing is a popular choice here. Bar menus are augmented with many mixed drinks and wine options.

 

Atmosphere 5

 

Providence College offers a slick, professional quality gameday presentation, utilizing The AMP’s oversized video board seamlessly with replays, graphics and game statistics.

 

Veteran college basketball fans will find much that is familiar here in Providence, with the school’s pep band, cheerleaders, dance squad, and mascots front and center to whip up the fan base. Friar Dom is one of the more memorable mascots you will find anywhere. Opinions on Dom range from creepy to adorable. Unfortunately, the inflatable Dom that stood at the far end of the arena is no longer there, a victim of new end zone seating sections installed in 2023.

 

The student body shows up in great numbers, filling up floor and seating sections on both ends of the arena. Their presence fills The AMP with noise and gives the team a solid home-court advantage. Contests for younger fans in attendance take place during play stoppages, with t-shirt tosses and other giveaways sprinkled in throughout the game. All the fans in the arena stand until the first Providence basket, and the place can get really loud, particularly for bigger games. For the ultimate Amica Mutual Pavilion experience, check out the annual PC-URI game, when The AMP fills with fans from both sides. It’s a great experience.

 



Neighborhood 5

 

The Amica Mutual Pavilion is located in downtown Providence, within walking distance of a great number and variety of restaurants and attractions. Providence has a reputation as one of the top destinations in the country for foodies, and the area within walking distance of The AMP reflects the diversity and quality of options in the city as a whole.

 

Right across the street from The AMP is Trinity Brewhouse, an award-winning brew pub and a popular gathering place for locals and visiting fans. Just a short walk away is Federal Hill, Providence’s Little Italy, with several nationally renowned Italian restaurants. If visiting from out of town, you should certainly head here.

 

Also within walking distance is the Providence Place Mall, an upscale shopping center with several national stores and several more choices for the hungry basketball fan. If visiting during the fall or spring, you may be able to check out Waterfires, an outdoor festival which has been held several weekends every year since 1994, during which eighty cauldrons lining the Providence, Woonasquatucket and Moshassuck Rivers are lit on fire. Many other cities have copied Waterfire, but the original started right here in Providence. The full schedule of Waterfire lightings can be found here.

 

Entertainment options in downtown Providence vary from the nationally renowned Trinity Repertory Company and Providence Performing Arts Center to historic sites such as the Arcade, the nation’s first enclosed shopping center, and the Rhode Island State House.

 

Fans 5

 

Providence College annually attracts over 10,000 fans per game at the Amica Mutual Pavilion, putting them on the fringes of the top 50 schools nationwide. If you come to a game against one of the school’s traditional conference or local rivals, expect a packed house and lively crowd.

 

Anchoring the crowd at The AMP are the student sections, which fill up the floor seating and several sections on either end of the building. Despite the fact that The AMP is located two miles from campus and students must be bussed to the arena, they turn out in very impressive numbers.

 

As the most popular team in the state, Providence College attracts more than just alumni. Locals, some of whom have been attending games since the team’s glory days of the 1960s, turn out in force to root on the Friars. Providence College puts out a high energy gameday experience, which attracts families and younger fans as well.




 

Access 4

 

The Amica Mutual Pavilion is located in downtown Providence, easily accessed via Interstate 95. Simply take exit 37B (Atwells Avenue) if traveling from the north or exit 37A (Broadway) if traveling from the south. Be warned that traffic in and around Providence can be quite heavy if visiting on a weekday, so prepare to take some extra time to arrive.

 

There is ample parking in the many surface lots and garages around the Amica Mutual Pavilion. Downtown Providence can be a busy place, particularly around the holidays. With holiday shopping at the nearby Providence Place Mall, shows at Trinity Repertory Company and Providence Performing Arts Center, it’s a very popular place to be.

 

Fans utilizing public transportation will be pleased to know that both Kennedy Plaza, the hub of the local RIPTA bus service, and Union Station, the local Amtrak stop, are located a short walk from the Amica Mutual Pavilion.

 

The Amica Mutual Pavilion features a large seating bowl with excellent views of the court. All seats at the arena are individual folding arena seats. The concourse and restrooms received a makeover in 2008, and the arena is fairly easy to get around. Expect lines to form in the food court and restrooms during halftime, so plan your trips accordingly.

 

Return on Investment 3

 

Providence College utilizes variable pricing for their home games, meaning that prices will vary wildly depending on game, day and opponent. Ticket prices range anywhere from $25-200. While the Friars attract solid crowds, there are usually some seats available at game time. More information can be found at the Providence College ticketing site.

 

Parking is available in lots and garages around The Dunk, ranging in price from $20-40. Locals will search the streets around downtown for on-street parking. Just be sure to pay attention to meter hours and other restrictions. Another option is to park at the nearby Providence Place Mall, which will validate your parking for five dollars. Enclosed walkways connect the mall with the arena, meaning you can avoid the cold Rhode Island winter. However, this option is not recommended around Christmas, as mall traffic increases exponentially.

 

Concession prices at The Dunk are expensive, but generally in line with other major venues in the area. With the quality and variety of dining options in the area, it is recommended that if visiting Providence, you eat somewhere in the neighborhood before or after the game.

 



Extras 3

                                                                                               

An extra point is awarded for the sense of history and accomplishment at the AMP. Banners hang from the rafters commemorating Final Four appearances, conference championships and tournament appearances. In addition, several notable alumni are honored with banners.

 

Providence College is remarkable for the effect it had on college basketball today. As a founding member of the Big East, today’s superconferences can trace their roots directly to Providence College. In the front offices of the arena is the table where the Big East conference was formed. It is commemorated by a plaque. The great majority of the fans who visit here will never see this piece of history, but the AMP played a very important role in today’s college basketball landscape.

 

A final extra point for Friar Dom, one of the most unique mascots in the country. It’s not often you see a giant monk atop a twirling pyramid of cheerleaders, but here in Providence, you will be sure to see just that.

 

Final Thoughts

 

For the most part, the sports scene in tiny Rhode Island is ruled by the nearby Boston professional teams. Providence College basketball gives Ocean State residents something to call their own. The Friars rule the local sports scene. The Amica Mutual Pavilion is an outstanding mid-sized arena which fits the needs of Providence perfectly.

 

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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