Stadium Journey: Purdue Basketball's Mackey Arena

Paul SwaneySenior Analyst INovember 19, 2009

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 20: A general view of Mackey Arena on September 20, 2008 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

This review originally posted on

FANFARE Score: 22 (out of 35)

Food and Beverage: 2

Not much here, and certainly not anything to write home about. Hot dogs, etc., can be found, and Coca-Cola products are offered. I did appreciate that they had souvenir cups available always an easy way to take home a keepsake.


Atmosphere: 3

This is Indiana, and although Mackey lacks the charm of Hinkle Fieldhouse and the history of Assembly Hall in Bloomington, it still has that Indiana basketball feel. It’s a single bowl design with a raised floor, so sightlines are good no matter where you sit. I wish the students were a little closer to the action, as they feel somewhat removed.

The Purdue Pep Band

The Purdue Pep Band

The band rates as average by Big Ten standards.


Neighborhood: 3

The one can’t-miss attraction has got to be Harry’s Chocolate Shop. When I arrived it was 10:45 a.m. time for a drink. Our choice was a Boilermaker. Neither I nor my friend knew exactly what that was, but we figured this was the place to try one (it’s a shot of whiskey inside a beer, by the way). We had another beer and an order of homemade potato chips covered with Gorgonzola cheese.

Next, we decided to see a different venue in the city. Unfortunately, the other bars in the area were either closed or lacked any personality. So we found our way back to Harry’s for a sandwich and another beer. I would like to highly recommend Harry’s as a great place to come for a beer and some food when in West Lafayette. The downstairs section just oozes character, and I especially appreciated the "Ass Hole of the Week" picture, displayed in a toilet seat above the bar.


Fans: 4

I was lucky to see the fans with plenty of opportunities to be raucous. Coach Matt Painter received a technical foul to the end the half, which threw the crowd into a frenzy, and in the second half Michigan’s Manny Harris connected with an elbow to Chris Kramer’s nose, leaving behind a pool of blood and some ramped-up Boiler fans.

It is clear that these fans love basketball and love their team.


Access: 4

I was able to find free parking about a half mile from the arena, and it was a breeze to get in and out of the arena and back on the road.


Return on Investment: 4

With great sightlines throughout, and reasonable prices, a trip to Mackey is well worth the investment. Parking is free and prices at neighborhood restaurants and bars are a good value. They team has been in or near the top 10 in the country for the past few years all the more reason to go to a game now.


Etc.: 2

One point for the historically significant honoring of players who were consensus All-Americans with their numbers hung in the rafters, including legends such as Glenn Robinson, Joe Barry Carroll, Rick Mount, and John Wooden.

Another point for the raised floor, something I just love.

Paul Swaney is the Co-Founder of Stadium Journey.