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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

Grand Park Events Center – Indy AlleyCats



Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Grand Park Events Center 19000 Grand Park Blvd Westfield, IN 46074



Year Opened: 2014

Capacity: 1,000

 

An Ultimate Indoor Experience


The Indy AlleyCats are members of the United Frisbee Association, formerly the American Ultimate Disc League, and play home games out of the Grand Park Events Center in Westfield, Indiana. The building is the centerpiece of the Grand Park Sports Complex. It features 26 baseball and softball diamonds and 31 multipurpose fields for soccer, football, and lacrosse spread out over 400 acres 20 miles north of downtown Indianapolis.


What makes the GPEC unique is that it is the only indoor facility in the 24-team UFA and offers plenty of benefits that include protection from cold and rainy days,  an indoor control climate, a full-service restaurant, and alcoholic beverages to sip during the game.


The AlleyCats have been mainstays in the league since 2013 and have posted only two losing seasons in its history. To the discerning eye, the sport of ultimate disc should be easy to follow, understandable, and enjoyable to watch, and to its burgeoning fan base of supporters, the next big step in spreading the game to further regions of North America.


The sport has a little bit of everything: high scores, quick and short passes, turnovers, close plays, and extraordinary leaps toward the heavens to pull down a disc for a score. During the spring and summer time, it may be a nice distraction from the usual sporting events taking place in town.


Food & Beverage 3

The GPEC offers two areas for food and drink. A full-service restaurant is located on the top level and overlooks one end of the field offering 12 taps of craft and domestic beers, plus plenty more in cans. While the concession stand downstairs offers an array of snacks.


Grand Parks Event Center Restaurant, Photo by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


The beers range from local varieties from Grand Junction, Sun King, People’s, and Three Floyd’s. The beer prices are $9 a pint. There is also a list of cider, hard lemonade, wine, and spirits available. Downstairs is a small concession stand that offers nachos, hot dogs, pretzels, candy, chips,  and sodas. Pepsi products are also served at the concession stand. The prices range between $3.50 to $5; a nice price to grab a snack during the game and save an appetite for dinner somewhere else afterward.


Atmosphere 3

The atmosphere of the game is connected heavily to the action on the field. The majority of the fans are part of the ultimate community and will shout out to specific players on the field who are most likely friends or family members.


GPEC includes three soccer fields and the Cats use the middle field where there is bleacher seating on one side, up above the field of play. There are 8 rows of aluminum bleacher seats that put fans up close to the action and offer a nice view of the field except the first few rows that are obstructed by the wire guard rails.


The team’s merchandise is located at the corner of the concourse and displays a wide variety of merchandise that includes caps, t-shirts, hoodies, gloves, discs, and scarves. The shirts are displayed on mannequins and there are about 5 to 6 different styles of caps.


The team's MC gets the crowd hyped during the game engaging with fans, offering prizes to young fans, and reminding them to cheer during pivotal times of the games. After each score, two young fans march up and down the sidelines waving team flags colored in green and white.




Neighborhood 4

Grand Park is located 20 miles north of downtown Indianapolis in the suburb of Westfield, a sprawling community that has grown quite gradually in recent years. Grand Park is located near a collection of chain restaurants, hotels, and local restaurants and establishments.


Just outside the complex are Portillo's and Noble Roman’s, two local establishments with numerous locations throughout the state. Visitors can enjoy craft beers, pizza, and pub food. A little further down the road are smaller places that are noteworthy: Chiba Indy (sushi), Rail (farm to table), and Grand Junction Brewing Company.


Two personal favorites include Wine & Vine and The Mash House & West Fork Whiskey Company offers bourbon, and farm-fresh ingredients in an aesthetically pleasing setting. Wine & Vine is a combo winery and brewery with outdoor seating and pleasant views.


The best for entertainment may still be downtown Indianapolis, a short 30-minute drive south. Options include the Indiana State Museum, Children’s Museum, Canal Walk  Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, and the neighborhoods of Mass Ave, Broad Ripple, and Fountain Square.


Fans 3


Most fans are very knowledgeable about the sport and most likely are connected with the team or the sport itself. It makes for an interesting visit as one can gather a lot of information from the mouths of many in their seats. The crowd is fixed to the game and the only objective that matters is a win by the Cats.


Access 4

Grand Park Events Center is 20 miles north of Indianapolis but access is super simple via automobile. The highways leading up the complex are designed with roundabouts and underpasses to keep traffic flowing towards the facility. Once inside, there are two sets of staircases in the lobby that lead visitors to the seating area.


Return on Investment 3

A single ticket is $11 and concession options are around $5, a very reasonable price to take in a game of Ultimate under climate control conditions. The restaurant has affordable dinner options and 12 draft options are available for $9. There is also a beer of the month available for $5. There is no fee for parking.


Extras 2

The Alley Cats have some of the best merchandise in the league. It is of high quality and some of the shirts and caps feature some great designs for fashionable fans.


The Grand Park Events Center receives another point for being the only indoor venue in the league. It might affect the game for the players in some regards, but fans are comfortable and do not have to second guess attending a scheduled contest under gloomy, wet, or cold conditions.

A final point is awarded for the team's MC who hypes and engages the crowd during games. The action on the field is enough for many of the fans, but he adds a little flare to the proceedings. There is also a DJ who plays familiar songs with a different beat.


Final Thoughts

The Grand Park Events Center is the only indoor venue in the league. However, the place could use a little more logo placement to give the venue a true home feeling. Also, being indoors ensures that all games can be attended by fans under comfortable conditions. The UFA is an exciting sport to watch and from my standpoint after watching multiple games, didn’t seem too different underneath the roof.


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Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at Marc.Viquez@stadiumjourney.com 

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