Sunday my wife and I got a full tour of Mackey Arena, media passes and two lower-bowl tickets for a lot cheaper than you would think. I'm not sure how many people know about it, but Purdue Sports has an auction site that will occasionally post memorabilia and unique experiences throughout the year. This is where our journey starts. During basketball season, Purdue auctions off two "gameday experiences" for every home game. Each experience includes tickets above the tunnel for the auction winner and a guest, plus the aforementioned pregame tour and media passes.
After winning one of the auctions, we received an email confirming all the details for the tour and letting us know to arrive at the Mackey ticket office at 3:45 to meet the other winner and their guest and begin the experience. We got to the arena a few minutes early, and got an up-close look at a player a bit sooner than expected as he came down to figure something, most likely the details of his family allotment, out with the ticket counter. A few minutes later, our tour guide for the day, Digital Media Coordinator Cory Palm, and a current student/intern greeted us and took us down to the media room.
The media room was pretty busy despite there still being over an hour to tip, but there was a plethora of Puccini's pizza (I chose a couple of slices of razorback) and a fridge full of Coke products. Attached to the media room is the press conference area, and we got the chance to get our picture taken sitting behind the microphones. Once everyone had their fill of pizza we headed out to tour the parts of the facility that most people don't get to see.
We got to see the wonderful in-house practice gym, Cardinal Court, and got to see Brian wandering around more than once throughout the day. The majority of the athletic offices are now housed in Mackey and we got to tour through those areas and see the Intercolliegate Athletics Hall of Fame sculpture. The athletic training facility is extremely impressive, and even though we only got to walk by it, the John Wooden Club room is super neat and worth money if you have it (I definitely do not). At the end of the tour we got to stand in the tunnel as the team had their breakdown before running out for shootaround.
We then got to go onto the court and watch the entire shootaround and even the starting lineups from on the court, before being led up to our seats right next to the Paint Crew. Overall, it was an amazing experience and something I highly recommend for any die-hard Boilermaker fan. The auctions' opening bid starts at $150, and I won't tell you how much I paid, but it was more than that, and still a very good deal for what you get to see. I've purposely left out some details so there is still a bit of mystery for anyone who gets to go in the future, remember there are two more home games left before the season ends. The Rutgers game experience is currently up for auction and with any luck the winners for that game and the Illinois game will get to see a great performance from our team like I did.