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  • Writer's pictureDavid Welch

Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall – Indiana Hoosiers (WBB)


Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.57

Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall 1001 E 17th St. Bloomington, IN 47408


Year Opened: 1971

Capacity: 17,222

 

Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall – Indiana Hoosiers

For decades, Indiana University basketball has been synonymous with candy striped pants, championships, and of course, Bob Knight. While most have known IU basketball from the achievements of its men’s basketball program, the Indiana women’s program has established themselves as one of the top basketball draws in the state.


Food & Beverage 3

Concession choices at Indiana are what would be expected at most stadiums. As the selections are fine, the choices do not really blow your mind. Prices are comparable with what you would find at most college arenas.


Concessions at Indiana is possibly its weak point – there just does not seem to be much that would be considered a local specialty, that fans could not get somewhere else. Choices can be made from personal-sized pizzas ($8), hot dogs ($5/$8), and nachos ($5). There are also some individual carts for freshly made pretzels ($7), and of course Dippin’ Dots. Coke products are available for $5.


Fans are able to purchase beer and hard seltzer, but mixed drinks and liquor is not available. Beer choices include Miller Light and Coors Light ($8), or craft beers from Bloomington’s Upland Brewery ($9).


Atmosphere 5

Before renovations were completed in 2016, the then Assembly Hall was a bit of a dated facility. It still oozed history and tradition, but aesthetically seemed purposefully bland. However, following a $40 million gift, not only did the arena receive a much needed cosmetic and functional upgrade, but it also added “Simon Skjodt” to the “Assembly Hall” name.


From the outside, the most noticeable change was the addition of a large, glassed lobby area that gives the arena a modern feel to it.


Assembly Hall Main Lobby, Photo by David Welch, Stadium Journey


Most fans will make their way to the second level of the building to get to their seats. Upon walking through the entranceway fans are welcomed by the arena’s massive scoreboard. The panels of the scoreboard are offset, which gives it a unique, non-symmetrical look. If the upper balcony is open, most fans traverse the stairwells at either end of the concourse to get to their seats. The views from the upper level are not bad, if you sit toward the front of the balcony.


Neighborhood 5

Bloomington, Indiana is every bit a college town, and is commonly ranked as one of the best in the country; take a quick ride around the campus, and it is easy to tell why. Even though Bloomington has a population of 80,000 people, it does have the “small town” feel John Mellencamp sings about.


There are a handful of restaurants near the arena, but just over a mile away is the social center of Bloomington, Kirkwood Avenue and Bloomington’s town square. These areas are home to much of the city’s nightlife, bars, hotels, and restaurants, including the legendary Nick’s English Hut. Students might be more apt to mention Buffa Louie’s as the go to spot for food, however. Or, if you are looking for a top-notch dinner, any alum will instantly mention Janko’s Little Zagreb as a near religious steak dinner experience.


Fans 5

Tradition at Indiana is important, almost to a fault. What makes the tradition of Indiana so special though is that no matter how much things might change, no matter how many years pass, the traditions transcend generations – the things that made fans get on their feet and cheer 50 years ago are the same things that rile fans up today. It is quite the experience when 17,000 fans in unison sing the school’s fight song, or are clapping along to the William Tell Overture as part of the “Greatest Timeout in College Basketball.”


There is little Hoosiers enjoy more than well played basketball, and in turn they show that appreciation by creating one of the most frenzied basketball environments in the country. Beyond the success the Indiana women’s basketball program has had on the court, Hoosier fans have recognized the emergence of the basketball program, and have followed behind with an incredible amount of support.


Hoosier fans understand key moments in games, as well as important possessions, and respond in kind. They do not need any cues to get loud to will the Hoosiers to a big defensive stop, before erupting after a successful defensive stand.


Indiana fans understand the game and are a key component in what makes basketball in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall such an amazing experience.


Accessibility 4

Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall is on the north side of Indiana’s campus, off Bloomington’s bypass. The arena’s location helps to limit the amount of on campus traffic visitors might have to encounter. Accessing the area from the north and south is rather direct from I-69, but fans coming from the east and west of Bloomington will likely have to navigate state roads and highways.


Parking in the lots surrounding the arena is free. If possible, enter through the south entrance for an impressive first impression of the arena. From here, explore the east and west hallways to the north lobby, which houses many of the school’s championship trophies, as well as a spectacular reclamation of the previous center court and basketball stanchions.


Navigating the concourses can get crowded considering the number of fans making their way to their seats, and others waiting in line for concessions.


Return on Investment 5

Typically, tickets to Indiana women’s basketball are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Indiana is not afraid to put the environment they want at the forefront when it comes to offering significantly discounted tickets. Also, general admission tickets were priced at just $1 for a recent end-of-the-season matchup against in-state rival Purdue.


With low ticket prices, free parking, and mostly affordable concessions, Indiana women’s basketball is a wonderful investment of both time and money.


Extras 5

The arena itself is a museum to Indiana athletics – the hallways are lined with the history of all the athletic programs at IU; from the national and Big Ten championship trophies to recognizing every Olympian Indiana University has produced.


Much of the history of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall has been saved and incorporated into the arena. The scoreboard that once hung above center court is now attached to the walls of the main lobby, and provides a real time score for fans who are in the main lobby area.


Not enough can be said about the job the in-game entertainment crews do – from the pep-band and cheer squads to the student promotions team, there is never a dead moment during timeouts. At Indiana, pre-recorded music takes a back seat to the pep-band that performs during almost every break.


The thing that sets the Indiana women’s program apart is that they wear their heart on their sleeve when it comes to their love for Indiana University. Following each home game the players, coaches, and cheerleaders stand in front of the pep band and sing the school’s alma mater with the fans still in the stands.


Final Thoughts

Even though men’s basketball is what most know Indiana University for, the women’s program has broken out of that shadow into their own spotlight. The game is everything that would be expected from any of the top basketball programs in the country, from the palpable history of the building to the traditions both old and new, to the quality of basketball played on the court, to the sense that the team in white is playing with the pride of the state of Indiana riding on them. Indiana women’s basketball truly is a special experience.

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