- Greg Venuto
Leo D. Mahoney Arena – Fairfield Stags
Photos by Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
Leo D. Mahoney Arena
Alumni Hall Sports Arena Loyola Drive Fairfield, CT 06824
Fairfield Stags website Leo D. Mahoney Arena website
Year Opened: 2022 Capacity: 3,500
A Jewel At The Heart Of The Fairfield Campus
As fans approach the Leo D. Mahoney Arena, they will be drawn to a beautiful modern edifice yet tastefully designed. Large glass windows allow fans to see inside and get a glimpse of the seating area. Once inside the two-level facility is even more impressive. The project, which took less than three years to complete and cost $51 million all privately funded, opened in November and features 85,000 square feet, 3,500 seats, and multi-use space for basketball volleyball, university events, and concerts. The venue also includes a state-of-the-art broadcast and media center, a lounge on the second floor with a hot buffet, snacks, soft drinks, beer, and mixed drinks.
The University partnered with industry leader Daktronics to design, manufacture and install 15 total LED displays for Mahoney Arena. The center-hung system is made up of nine displays – four main video displays, four corner wedges, and a lower ring.
As fans enter the arena through the beautiful atrium, eyes are drawn to the court and lower bowl seating which is below the concourse, the massive scoreboard, and the wall of the upper level where it reads “HOME OF THE STAGS” just under the American flag. Mahoney Arena replaced Alumni Hall which was situated on the same site and existed since 1959. The court was pivoted and is now more of an east-west configuration. The project was completed in under two years. The arena debuted on November 18 as the Fairfield University Women's Basketball team captured a 77-53 victory over Stonehill in the inaugural game.
Food & Beverage 4
There are concessions stands in two corners of the lower and upper levels. A hot dog is $3.99 and a cheeseburger is $4.99 and $5.99 for a chicken caesar wrap. You can make it a combo for $7.99 or $8.99 respectively which includes chips and a soft drink. Hot chocolate, water, soft drinks, beer, and wine can also be purchased. Coca-Cola products are the beverage of choice. Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, High Noon, and White Claw are $9.99 and $7.99 for a glass of pinot grigio, rose, or cabernet sauvignon.
The upper level has a beautiful club that can be purchased on a game-by-game basis or included as part of a season ticket plan. There is a full bar and buffet for each game with tables and bar stools for seating.
On this visit, the atmosphere was good but not electric as students were away for winter break There were no cheerleaders or band, but the game day staff did a good job using the scoreboard to entertain and mascot Lucas was on hand to meet and greet. The board was used for a couple of T-shirt tosses, the Flex Cam, and in-game contests.
The arena is well lit and the public address announcements and music is so clear. Something that often is not the case at Mid-Major facilities.
Fairfield Stags Banners, Photo by Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey
Fairfield is a beautiful suburban city of about 62,000 residents. There are a number of shops and restaurants near the campus which is situated one mile from downtown.
Legendary pizza places Colony Grill and Frank Pepe’s are within a 5-minute drive and solid Italian food options are close by on Route 1 (Post Road) at Centro and Quattro Pazzi restaurants.
Fairfield is a small school (about 5,000 undergraduates) but gets good support from its alums and students. The student section is dubbed the “Red Sea” student section and an area on the concourse is appropriately named the Red Sea Pub.
The Stags who play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) have not been in the NCAA Tournament since 1997, but the Arena will provide a huge boost to the program which had to play the past two seasons at Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport.
The campus is easily accessible. It is located just one mile from Route 1 and I-95 and 10 minutes from the Merritt Parkway and is a 5-minute drive to the Fairfield Metro North Station.
With the exception of the occasional accident on I-95, getting in and out is easy. There is a garage across from the arena which is free and there are outdoor lots nearby.
Return on Investment 4
All the seats offer a great view of the action. Students get free admission. Seats range from $22-$25 on the sidelines. Behind the baskets runs $12-$15 in the lower bowl for bench seating. Upper-level club seats are $75 and the ones located on the opposite side in 210-212 are $22-$25.
Behind the baskets in the upper level are $12-$15 for a seat. The upper level has only 4 rows which are nice for families or if you want to be away from the more densely populated sections. The seats have fairly good legroom and the sightlines are fabulous which combined with free parking make a Fairfield game a great value.
A Stags Team Store to purchase game day apparel and souvenirs is located on the right side of the concourse upon entering the arena.
There are also exhibits dedicated to The Evolution of Lucas, Fairfield Athletics Hall of Fame, and a History of Alumni Hall.
Leo D. Mahoney was a co-founder of one of the largest suppliers of road salt in the United States. In the early 90s, Mahoney sat on the University Trustee Advisory Council. His three children are all graduates of Fairfield.
In 1948, basketball became the first varsity sport, and students were solicited to pick a school mascot. A vote was taken by the Board of Trustees and Stags (male deer) was chosen over Chanticleers. The previous nickname was Men in Red.
Leo D. Mahoney is a great addition to the campus. The new facility should attract more hardcore and casual fans and enhance recruiting as Fairfield attempts to make its mark on the local basketball scene and in MAAC play.