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Indiana Farmers Coliseum

Coordinates: 39°49′39″N 86°8′6″W / 39.82750°N 86.13500°W / 39.82750; -86.13500
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Indiana Farmers Coliseum
Indiana Farmers Coliseum in 2014
Indiana Farmers Coliseum is located in Indiana
Indiana Farmers Coliseum
Indiana Farmers Coliseum
Location within Indiana
Indiana Farmers Coliseum is located in the United States
Indiana Farmers Coliseum
Indiana Farmers Coliseum
Location within the United States
Former namesIndiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum (1939–91)
Pepsi Coliseum (1991–2012)
Fairgrounds Coliseum (Apr–Dec 2014)
Address1202 E. 38th St.
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
LocationIndiana State Fairgrounds
Coordinates39°49′39″N 86°8′6″W / 39.82750°N 86.13500°W / 39.82750; -86.13500
OwnerState of Indiana
OperatorIndiana State Fair Commission
CapacityBasketball: 6,800
Hockey: 6,200[1]
Broke ground1936
OpenedAugust 1939 (1939-08)
ClosedOctober 29, 2012 (2012-10-29) – April 23, 2014 (2014-04-23)
ReopenedApril 24, 2014 (2014-04-24)
Construction cost$63 million (renovation)
Project managerHunt Construction Group

Indiana Pacers (ABA) (1967–1974)
IU Indianapolis Jaguars (NCAA) (2014–present)
Indiana Fever (WNBA) (2021–2022)

Ice hockey

Indianapolis Capitals (AHL) (1939–1952)
Indianapolis Chiefs (IHL) (1955–1962)
Indianapolis Capitols (CPHL) (1963)
Indianapolis Checkers (CHL/IHL) (1979–1985)
Indianapolis Ice (IHL) (1988–1994, 1997–1999)
Indiana Ice (USHL) (2004–2012)
Indy Fuel (ECHL) (2014–present)

Naptown Roller Derby (WFTDA) (2010–present)
The interior of Fairgrounds Coliseum after the most recent renovation

The Indiana Farmers Coliseum (originally Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum and formerly Pepsi Coliseum[2] and Fairgrounds Coliseum) is a 6,500-seat indoor multi-use arena, located on the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. The Indiana Farmers Coliseum is home to both the Indy Fuel of the ECHL and the IUPUI Jaguars of the NCAA.

Originally opened in 1939 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration (part of the New Deal), the Coliseum has hosted numerous historical events, including the only performances ever held in Indiana by The Beatles, in 1964.[3]

After Market Square Arena opened in 1974, the coliseum continued on as an alternate venue to the larger arena for events requiring less seating or overall space. This continues today after the Gainbridge Fieldhouse opened in 1999, and the subsequent demolition of Market Square Arena in 2001.

On October 26, 2012, the Coliseum held a "Lights Out" ceremony and closed for renovations.[4] On April 24, 2014, after a 17-month, $53 million renovation, the Coliseum re-opened.[5]

In December 2014, the Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Company entered into a ten-year agreement with the Indiana State Fair Commission to re-christen the arena as the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.[6]


1963 gas explosion[edit]

Plaque honoring explosion victims 2014

On October 31, 1963, during a Holiday on Ice show, a liquefied petroleum gas leak at a concession stand caused an explosion which killed 81 people[7] and injured around 400 others.[8] A memorial plaque was dedicated 40 years later in the building, but it has since been removed. Another plaque honoring the explosion victims currently hangs inside the building's lobby.

Indiana Pacers (1967–74)[edit]

The venue was home to the Indiana Pacers of the American Basketball Association (ABA) from 1967 to 1974. The Pacers were very successful in their tenure at the Coliseum, winning three ABA Championships. They captured the ABA titles in 1969–70, defeating the Los Angeles Stars in 6 games, in 1971–72, defeating the New York Nets in 6 games, and in the 1972–73 season, defeating the Kentucky Colonels in 7 games. The team moved to Market Square Arena in 1974. In 1976, the Pacers became a franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA) when the ABA merged with the NBA.[9]

The Pacers returned for a night when they played their first pre-season game of the 2008–09 season at the Pepsi Coliseum on October 8, 2008, hosting the then-New Orleans Hornets.[10] 7,439 people watched the Pacers lose to the Hornets 105–71. The Pacers wore uniforms based on the 1967 to 1971 uniform design. Former ABA Pacers George McGinnis, Darnell Hillman, Bob Netolicky, Don Buse, Jerry Harkness, Steve Green, Tom Thacker, Bill Newton, and Wayne Pack, attended the game and were recognized during a halftime ceremony.[11] During the game's first quarter, former Championship Pacers coach and current radio commentator Slick Leonard sat on the Pacers' bench as head coach, while then-head coach Jim O'Brien joined Mark Boyle for the radio broadcast.[12]

Ice hockey[edit]

The Indianapolis Capitals of the American Hockey League played at the Coliseum from 1939 to 1952, winning the Calder Cup in 1942 and 1950. The Indianapolis Chiefs of the International Hockey League played at the Coliseum from 1955 to 1962, winning the Turner Cup in 1958. The Indianapolis Checkers of the Central Hockey League and International Hockey League played at the Coliseum from 1979 to 1985, winning back-to-back Adams Cup Championships in 1982 and 1983. The Indianapolis Ice of the International Hockey League played in the Coliseum from 1988 to 1994, and again from 1997 to 1999 when the Conseco Fieldhouse was under construction, winning the 1990 Turner Cup championship.

The Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League played at the Coliseum from 2004 to 2012, leaving due to the renovation. The Ice won the USHL's Clark Cup in 2009 while playing in the building. They did not return to the Coliseum upon the venue reopening, opting for withdrawal from competition or dormancy until another venue could be secured.[13] Since 2014 the Indy Fuel hockey team has played in the arena. The Fuel are an ECHL team affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks. The 2023–2024 season will be the last for the Fuel at the Coliseum before they leave for the new Fishers Event Center currently under construction in suburban Fishers.[14]

The Coliseum hosted the American Hockey League's Calder Cup Final in 1942, 1943 and 1950; the International Hockey League's Turner Cup Final in 1957, 1958 and 1990; the Central Hockey League's Adams Cup Final in 1982, 1983 and 1984; and the United States Hockey League's Clark Cup Final in 2009. Eight of Indianapolis' nine hockey championship teams called the Coliseum home. The other was the 2014 Indiana Ice, who split their schedule between Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Pan Am Pavilion.

Other sports teams and events[edit]

The finals of the 1942–43 – 1944–45 Indiana High School Boys Basketball Tournaments were held at the Coliseum.

On January 25, 2019, the Horizon League announced its Men's and Women's Basketball Championships would take place at the Coliseum, starting March 9–10, 2020.[15]

The Coliseum also hosts Budweiser Fight Night Boxing; the Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show; the Hoosier Horse Fair; high school and college commencement ceremonies; and many concerts featuring national acts. On April 27, 2016, Donald Trump held a rally for his presidential campaign in the Coliseum.[16]

During the winter months, public ice skating is offered at the Coliseum.

With the NCAA electing to hold the entirety of the 2021 Division I men's basketball tournament within the state of Indiana to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Coliseum served as one of the sites hosting first and second round games.[17]

On April 13, 2021 the Indiana Fever announced that they would play the last 12 home games of the 2021 WNBA season at the Coliseum due to the renovations at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.[18]

On November 10, 2021, professional wrestling promotion All Elite Wrestling hosted an episode of their weekly television show AEW Dynamite from the arena.[19]

On November 30, 2022, All Elite Wrestling had another one of their shows (AEW Dynamite).[20]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fairgrounds Coliseum reopens after historic renovation" (PDF). indianastatefair.com. Indiana State Fairgrounds. April 24, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  2. ^ "1963 Coliseum explosion killed 74". Indianapolis Star. Archived from the original on May 4, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
  3. ^ "Indiana Farmers Coliseum". Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  4. ^ "Lights Out Ceremony". Archived from the original on October 28, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
  5. ^ Rader, Kevin (April 25, 2014). "Open house shows off newly renovated State Fairgrounds Coliseum". WTHR. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
  6. ^ "State Fair Coliseum takes Indiana Farmers Coliseum name – 13 WTHR Indianapolis". Archived from the original on December 13, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
  7. ^ Drabek, Thomas E. (1968). Disaster in Aisle 13: A Case Study of the Coliseum Explosion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, October 31, 1963. Disaster Research Center Series. Columbus, Ohio: College of Administrative Science, The Ohio State University.
  8. ^ Drabek, Thomas (May 18, 1995). "Disaster in Aisle 13 Revisited". Archived from the original on October 27, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
  9. ^ "Remember the ABA: Indiana Pacers". www.remembertheaba.com. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  10. ^ "Pacers to play New Orleans in Pepsi Coliseum". Indianapolis Star. August 20, 2008. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
  11. ^ Brunner, Conrad (October 8, 2008). "A night to remember, a game to forget". National Basketball Association. Archived from the original on October 21, 2008. Retrieved October 10, 2008.
  12. ^ "Former Pacers coach Leonard expected to coach". USA Today. October 8, 2008.
  13. ^ "Indiana Ice Granted Dormacy | Indiana Ice". Archived from the original on October 20, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  14. ^ "Indy Fuel and city leaders break ground on Fishers Event Center". Fox 59. March 25, 2023. Retrieved May 14, 2023.
  15. ^ "Horizon League Announces Indianapolis as Future Site for #HLMBB and #HLWBB Championships". horizonleague.org. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  16. ^ Associated Press (April 28, 2016). "Bob Knight to join Trump at rally in Indianapolis". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  17. ^ "NCAA tournament to be held entirely in Indiana". ESPN.com. January 4, 2021. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  18. ^ "Indiana Fever Announce 2021 Regular Season Schedule" (Press release). Indiana Fever. April 13, 2021. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  19. ^ Gagnon, Joshua (November 10, 2021). "AEW Dynamite Preview: Full Gear Go-Home Episode". Wrestling Inc. Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  20. ^ Carrera, Pep (December 1, 2022). "AEW Dynamite in Indianapolis Quick Results (11/30/2022)". Lucha Central. Retrieved May 7, 2024.

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