Indiana Farmers Coliseum – IUPUI Jaguars
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.43
Indiana Farmers Coliseum 1202 E 38th St Indianapolis, IN 46205
Year Opened: 1939
The Jags Are on the Prowl
The IUPUI Jaguars returned to the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on the Indiana State Fairgrounds for the first time since the 1978-79 season in 2014. However, the facility is much different than it was when the men’s program last played in the building. The coliseum underwent a two-year, $63-million renovation that resulted in much-needed changes including wide-open concourses, an updated main lobby, terrazzo flooring, exposed steel and wooden beams, and a stylized new basketball court.
It was a dramatic change from the team’s previous home on the downtown campus-the IUPUI Gymnasium. Known as “The Jungle,” to fans the Jaguars’ previous home was a cozy 1,200-seat facility that served the team since 1982. Another change was when the Jags moved to the Horizon League on July 1, 2017, after previous seasons in the Summit League. In 2003, the basketball team won its lone conference championship title.
The team’s digs six miles north of their downtown campus is a bold move and perhaps an even bolder statement in the university’s direction with its basketball program. However, as the move away from campus bring out the Jaguar faithful and more hometown supporters to the Indiana State Fairgrounds?
Food & Beverage 3
In comparison to Indy Fuel hockey games at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, not all of the concession stands are in operation during IUPUI games. There are two concession stands open behind the 200/100 sections. The items include pizza (plain and pepperoni), hot dogs, burgers, nachos, pretzels, and popcorn. Pepsi products are served in 16 and 32-ounce cups. Beer is offered on draft and includes Bud Light and varieties from local standards Bier Brewerng, Centerpoint, and Black Dog
There is a small splattering of patrons throughout the lower-level seating concourse. The upper level is closed for the men’s basketball game. A student section is visible, but there are no signs, painted faces, or acts of revelry as with other area college facilities. A live D.J. ejects excitement to the crowd with live music and cheering. The team’s official mascot, Jawz, does his best to stir up the crowd during the game.
The main lobby is a nod to another era with vintage photos, resurfaced original facility seating, and art deco ticket booths. There is a small table selling IUPUI merchandise in front of the closed gates of the Indy Fuel gift shop.
The coliseum makes for a fantastic place to watch basketball and the team’s stylish court is emblazoned with the Indianapolis skyline – it makes it one of the keenest in the state. However, it is a very calm atmosphere and one that should have its moments in the future.
If you happen to attend a weekend game, make sure to make a visit to the Hook’s Drugstore Museum located within seconds of the coliseum on the fairgrounds. The old drug store houses the world’s largest selection of drug store memorabilia from old lanterns, signage, medicine boxes, shelves, and an old-fashioned soda fountain where they still make drinks and sell candy. Admission is free, but it is a wonderful place to visit and take a step back in time.
A few miles north in South Broad Ripple is Taste Cafe, featuring gourmet sandwiches, soups, and salads. Lava Lips is a hot sauce bar where one can try as many sauces as they want on the Scoville Scale and also pick up a couple of bottles. The SoBro Cafe features vegan, vegetarian, and carnivorous items that are made from scratch. If you desire something a little fancier, then Mama Carolla’s is the area’s best spot for Italian cuisine in an authentic setting.
There are passionate fans at the game and perhaps a weeknight game while class is in session might result in a different atmosphere. The Jaguar faithful do their best to cheer on the team and support hometown college basketball. I truly believe that with the team’s brand new state-of-the-art arena, you will see a few more fans attending games shortly.
The crowds are not big for games and getting in and out of the fairgrounds is quick and easy. The price to park is $10, but they did not charge during our visit. I am not sure if this is the case for all Jags home games. There are two entries at either Fall Creek Parkway or 38th Street; with the best choice at Fall Creek. Once inside the coliseum, the concourses are a little narrow, but easy to walk around if one desires a scenic tour around the renovated arena.
Return on Investment 3
The ticket prices are $10 for adults and $7 for youth (ages 3-12). The ticket prices are for any seat in any section of the coliseum. The school could have set up a few price points to gain an extra few dollars from patrons, but it is a nice nod that tickets are just one price and very affordable in the frenzied basketball-loving Hoosier state.
The Jaguars have a very sleek-looking basketball court and a silhouette of the Indianapolis skyline. The Jags earn another extra for having only one price point for their ticket sales; a very simple and easy way to purchase a ticket to the game at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
The relocation from the small gymnasium to the spacious coliseum adds another venerable and enjoyable “fieldhouse” to the city of Indianapolis. It is an arena that has its share of history, the Indiana Pacers called it home in the ABA from their inception in 1967-1974 and hosted the Indiana State High School Championships during World War II. At this point, the coliseum is looking at starting a few more basketball traditions within its walls.