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  • Writer's pictureDavid Welch

Gas South Arena – Atlanta Vibe

Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

Gas South Arena 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy Duluth, GA 30097

Year Opened: 2003 Capacity: 13,000



2023 saw the three largest attended games in NCAA volleyball history, with the NCAA semi-finals and finals drawing more than 19,000 to Amalie Arena in Tampa, while the well-publicized matchup between Omaha and Nebraska filled the Huskers’ 92,000-seat Memorial Stadium.

The popularity of volleyball has been growing nationwide – Sportico writes that volleyball is the most popular sport among high school girls, and overall participation is up 9%.

With the growth of participation in volleyball in recent years, it should not come as much of a surprise that the formation of professional volleyball leagues has started to blossom around the U.S. The first of those nationwide leagues to get off the ground is the Pro Volleyball Federation (PVF), with seven teams nationwide in their inaugural season, and plans to expand to ten teams for the 2025 season.

Metro Atlanta’s entry in the PVF, the Atlanta Vibe, found a home at the well-used Gas South Arena in the suburb of Duluth, in Gwinnett County, to the northeast of downtown Atlanta.


Food & Beverage   4

Gas South Arena doesn’t have traditional-style concession stands that run around the concourse, but rather food courts with a handful of different tastes. With attendance numbers a bit on the light side for weekday games, concessions may only be partially open depending on the size of the crowd.

Despite concessions not being fully open (at least not during my most recent weekday visit), there is still a full menu of options including hot dogs, burgers, grilled and spicy chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, and fries. Slices from local pizzeria, Johnny’s Pizza, are also available, and their popular garlic knots are also on the menu.

Growing in popularity in recent years, Gas South Arena makes use of the self-serve market where fans “shop” for food and beverages to bring to the checkout, before taking them back to their seats.

Gas South Arena serves Coca-Cola products, along with Powerade, Dasani bottled water, and Monster energy drinks.  There are also full-service bars on both sides of the arena serving beer, seltzers, wine, handmade and pre-mixed drinks, and drafts. Classic City Lager and the highly regarded Tropicalia from Athens-based brewery, Creature Comforts, are also available.


Atmosphere   3

Built in 2003, Gas South Arena has remained architecturally modern with its use of curves and large amounts of glass. Despite being over 20 years old, it still feels rather esthetically current compared to newer facilities.

Fans have several seating options, from the traditional individual seats in the lower bowl to the courtside and floor seating. One interesting take on seating is the groups of living room sectionals near the end of the floor – at first thought, the idea of sectional sofas as seating might seem a bit odd, but with eight large pieces, it does give fans a comfortable option for seating, while helping to fill the large void of space at one end of the floor.

Atlanta Vibe matches are a very interactive experience. From the microphone-toting in-game host and accompanying promotional team members celebrating every point as if it were a match point, the staff does a great job getting the fans excited and amped up in support of the Vibe. Also, tossing t-shirts into the crowd and dancing throughout breaks in the action are very popular with many younger fans in the stands.

The interactive nature of the match does not begin and end following each point. Rather, throughout the volley fans call out “A.T.L.” each time the ball is sent over the net, and fans are ready to start over again if it returns.

Despite a very vibrant atmosphere created by the fans and hype squad, the 13,000-seat Gas South Arena is a rather large venue that easily swallows up much of the excitement. Some matches draw over 5,000 fans, but that still leaves more than half of the arena empty.


Neighborhood   4

Gas South Arena is in the ever-developing Gas South District of the Sugarloaf neighborhood in Gwinnett County. The area is a bit of a transition point between a heavily commercial area with office buildings, shops, and restaurants next to residential subdivisions.

Gas South Convention Center is also part of the Gas South District. There are three hotels on the arena’s property; Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn, and the newly opened Westin. The Sugarloaf area has been well developed over the years and offers many other accommodations as well.

In the early 2000s, Gwinnett County prioritized building venues for national acts and professional sports. Not only do the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL and the Georgia Swarm of the National Lacrosse League share Gas South Arena with the Vibe, but AAA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, the Gwinnett Stripers, play at Coolray Field less than 10 miles north along Interstate-85. This all gives Gwinnett County a heavy concentration of professional sports.


Fans   4

The Vibe are roughly near the middle of the pack when it comes to average attendance, which hovers around 3,700 fans per game. This is not a small gathering, but given the 13,000 seats in Gas South Arena, the size of the arena doesn’t do the crowd justice.

A large portion of the fan base is comprised of the next generation of volleyball stars, who hang on to every point ready to explode into celebration. Much of the credit for the passion in the atmosphere needs to be given to this group of fans, as they are very responsive to calls from the hype squad to get excited.


Access   3

With its location in central Gwinnett County, a northeast suburb of Atlanta, weekday matches can be rather challenging to get to. Rush hour traffic can add nearly 30 to 45 minutes to the trip, for those coming from the downtown area or other northern suburbs.

Parking is available in the lot in front of the arena or the garage next to it. Most fans will enter the arena through the main entrance into a two-tiered lobby, which has a wrap-around concourse fans use to access their seats. The lower seating bowl is easily accessible and has manageable sloped aisles to navigate.


Return on Investment   3

Tickets start at $13, but there is no avoiding the dastardly Ticketmaster fees. A $13 ticket quickly becomes a $20 purchase, even when you buy in person. When adding $10 for parking, fans are looking at nearly $30 just to get in the door.

Ticketmaster fees, even when purchasing in person at the box office before the match, put a bit of a damper on a well-priced ticket pretty quickly. It is not an issue created by the Vibe, as a $13 ticket is reasonable for a new league working to grab a piece of the professional sports market in Atlanta. However, these fees are a major issue driving up the ticket price for what is otherwise an overall affordable experience.


Extras   3

In bringing professional volleyball to the metro Atlanta area, not enough can be said about the amount of work the Vibe organization and its players have put into promoting both the game and their team. During virtually every festival and opportunity to be seen in the community, the Vibe has taken advantage.

Following the game, a handful of players are made available for autographs and photos with fans. This small investment of time following the game goes a long way in establishing the players as role models for younger fans with volleyball dreams of their own.

In yet another route to reaching out to the volleyball community of metro Atlanta, the Atlanta Vibe also holds a Junior Vibe volleyball academy in the summer, which again shows the organization’s dedication to being the face of the volleyball community in the area.


Final Thoughts

With the popularity of volleyball at an all-time high, the formation of the Pro Volleyball Federation comes at the perfect time.  Atlanta is one of two markets that will be home to both the PVF, as well as the competing professional volleyball league, League One Volleyball (LOVB) – the other being Omaha, starting in time for the 2025 season.

The Atlanta Vibe does a great job at creating a fun atmosphere to complement their high level of volleyball talent on the floor. Match atmospheres are engaging, fans are responsive, and the team gives back to the local volleyball scene, creating a love for the organization. This seems to be the perfect recipe for a team to endear themselves to the community they represent.

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