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  • Brian O'Sullivan

Edmund P. Joyce Center – Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Photos by Brian O'Sullivan Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43

Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center Moose Krause Circle Notre Dame, IN 46556

Year Opened: 1968

Capacity: 9,149


Here Comes The Irish!

Nestled in the northwest corner of Indiana, the University of Notre Dame is one of the best academic institutions in the country. In addition to its stellar performance in the classroom, the Fighting Irish also have a plethora of athletic teams that are always at or near the top of the league in every sport in which they compete.

Purcell Pavilion is home to Notre Dame men’s basketball team, as well as the women’s basketball team and women’s volleyball team. Purcell is located within the Joyce Athletic & Convocation Center, commonly referred to as the JACC, which is directly next to the newly renovated Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish have seen success in recent years on the court, both in the regular season and the postseason, with an Elite Eight appearance in 2016. After joining the Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2013-2014 season, powerhouse teams come to South Bend for showdowns with the Fighting Irish on a regular basis. It is well worth the trip to Purcell to catch a men’s basketball game, especially if there is a hockey game at the Compton Family Ice Arena on the same day or weekend.

Food & Beverage 3

The food options at Purcell are surprisingly limited, but there are a few choices that are unique and tasty. Concessions stands are scattered throughout the concourse, with most serving the same options or a particular specialty item, such as Dippin’ Dots ($5/$7). Local Eisenberg hot dogs ($4.50) are served at most stands and are a favorite among fans. Coca-Cola products are served throughout Purcell, with both regular ($4) and souvenir ($5.50) cups available.

The most popular concessions item is Ben’s soft pretzel ($6), and most fans are willing to wait to get their hands on this delicious offering. They are actually served in Heritage Hall, which gives fans something to look at during the wait and is well worth the time in line.

Atmosphere 5

The recent success of the men’s basketball team has only made the atmosphere inside Purcell even more electric. Purcell is a relatively intimate arena, with all seats offering magnificent views of the court, as well as cup holders and ample legroom. A beautiful jumbotron hangs above the court and keeps fans updated and entertained throughout the game. Although Purcell is by no means the biggest arena in college basketball, it does get loud, especially when Notre Dame is playing a highly ranked opponent.

If you find yourself wandering through the concourse, make sure to stop by Heritage Hall, which is a great place to grab a bite to eat as well as to see some of the greatest sports memories in Notre Dame history.

The world-famous Notre Dame band also plays throughout the game, which adds an extra level of intensity and fun to the game.

Neighborhood 5

The area around Notre Dame continues to grow and has a number of options that are great for any type of fan. Directly off campus and within walking distance of Purcell is Eddy Street Commons. O’Rourke’s Public House and Brother’s Bar & Grill are fan favorites on Eddy Street and offer great beer options as well as fairly good food.

Within driving distance to campus, South Bend and Mishawaka offer plenty more restaurants if you are looking for more substantial food. Papa Vino’s has a number of locations in the area and offers great Italian food at a reasonable price, but you will have to drive.

If you are looking to stay on campus, make your way to Legends of Notre Dame, which is a restaurant and pub. Legends offer a number of beer and food specials and are a great place to stop by before or after the game for a drink.

Fans 5

The Fighting Irish have some of the most loyal fans in the entire country. Although Notre Dame is most famous for its football team, the fans also make their presence known at nearly every sporting event on campus. The fans at every game are cordial and knowledgeable about the game. Men’s basketball is no exception, with the fans rooting on the Irish while also creating a friendly and inviting atmosphere.

While most of the fans that attend men’s basketball games are typical basketball fans, the student section gets Purcell rocking. The students that attend games at Purcell are passionate and loud and sit directly behind the basket to distract opposing players. The band only feeds the energy of the students and makes Purcell even louder.

Access 4

The University of Notre Dame is relatively isolated. Located about an hour and a half southeast of Chicago, the campus is located a few minutes from downtown South Bend. The easiest way to get to campus is by car, but South Bend is also accessible by both train and bus from Chicago.

Once on campus, navigating is tremendously easy. Parking is both free and ample for all men’s basketball games, which is nearly unheard of at this caliber of college basketball.

Inside Purcell, navigating the arena is tremendously easy. Restrooms are always kept clean and are conveniently located. Additionally, the arena is handicapped accessible throughout the concourse and the seating bowl.

Return on Investment 5

Tickets to Notre Dame basketball games vary in price depending on the opponent but offer economical options for nearly any game. For premium games against highly ranked opponents, fans can still get great seats for $50. For less desirable opponents, tickets start at just $15. Although food is somewhat expensive, a night out at a Notre Dame basketball game will by no means break the bank.

Extras 4

An extra point is awarded for free parking during basketball games and all sporting events on campus, aside from football

Another point is awarded for the beautiful campus. Notre Dame is truly one of the most beautiful and iconic college campuses in the country.

The amount of memorabilia on display throughout the concourse at Purcell is a great addition to attending a game. It makes it easy to understand why Notre Dame draws such a large crowd.

Finally, the lively student section during most games warrants one last point.

Final Thoughts

Even though Notre Dame is not located near a major city, heading to campus on a non-football weekend is a great way to catch a basketball or hockey game and see the campus with far fewer people. In short, attending a game at Purcell Pavilion is well worth the cost of admission.

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