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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Stadium Standoff

It’s that lovely time of year — that’s right, March Madness is back! For the 2021 season, six famous arenas in Indiana are hosting the historic NCAA basketball tournament. While you may know the teams and already have your winning bracket filled out, how much do you know about the locations hosting these games?

"File:Mackey Arena-Purdue vs ISU 2007.jpg" by Westsidepb at English Wikipedia is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Mackey Arena

In West Lafayette, Indiana, Mackey Arena stands as the proud home of Purdue University’s men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and wrestling. Renovated in 2007, the stadium originally known as Purdue Arena was dedicated Dec. 2, 1967. In 1972, the name changed to honor Guy “Red” Mackey, a member of Purdue Athletics for 45 years, who passed away in 1972.

"best seat in the house" by chris kuga is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Cindy Skjodt Assembly Hall

Renamed for donor and Indiana University alumna Cindy Simon Skjodt in 2016, the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall is home to IU basketball and their three NCAA Championships. Originally dedicated in 1971, the Bloomington, Indiana, arena is one of the most popular on our list, regularly reaching its 17,222 capacity each season.

"File:Bankers Life Fieldhouse.JPG" by Christophe95 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Perhaps one of the most recognized in the state — both in name and design — Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis opens its newly-renovated court once again. Home of the Indiana Pacers and Fever basketball teams, the Fieldhouse debuted $362 million in upgrades when the University of Kansas and the University of Kentucky faced off on Dec. 1, 2020. To accommodate fans and COVID-19 regulations, the improvements aren’t complete but will continue into the upper levels of the stadium in phases in the coming years.

"Hinkle Fieldhouse" by bradjward is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Hinkle Fieldhouse

The oldest stadium on our list, Hinkle Fieldhouse is the territory of the Butler University Bulldogs in Indianapolis. Built in 1928, the building’s facade has remained original since its first renovations in 1989. While the interior facilities were upgraded in 2014, Hinkle is known for its historic charm. Butler made history with their first game at the fieldhouse in 1928, beating Notre Dame University 21 to 13.

Indiana Farmers Coliseum

While the home of the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Jaguars is the smallest stadium hosting March Madness (with 6,800 seats), it’s is far from the bottom of the pile. Indiana Farmers Coliseum was opened under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration in 1939. It’s been used by the Indiana Pacers, the NBA, and the ABA for all-star games, championships, and tournaments. You can visit the stadium on the historic Indiana State Fairgrounds and Event Center in Indianapolis.

"Lucas Oil Stadium" by Dee Johnson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Lucas Oil Stadium

The title of largest, most renowned March Madness stadium has a clear winner with Lucas Oil Stadium. In the heart of downtown Indianapolis, the Colts aren’t the only national act you can see from one of its 70,000 seats. Concerts, local events, political campaigns, and the March Madness finale of course draw crowds and recognition to the arena. Lucas Oil Stadium has won several stadium/sports related awards including Top NFL Stadium and Best Stadium Experience since opening in 2008.

Be sure to tune-in virtually or snag a socially-distant seat in person to see our state’s great stadiums in full display when March Madness takes place from March 19 to April 5.

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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