Macon Coliseum – Macon Mayhem
Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
Macon Coliseum 200 Coliseum Drive Macon, GA 31217
Year Opened: 1968 Capacity: 9,000
Macon Mayhem – Southern Professional Hockey League
Montreal, Toronto, Boston, the entire state of Minnesota – these populations are often instantly associated with hockey. Macon, Georgia on the other hand, not so much. “The Heart of Georgia” has a modest, yet very passionate hockey fan base.
The Macon Mayhem are the fourth organization to play at Macon Coliseum. Hockey at the Coliseum dates back to 1973 with the Macon Whoopees, and has been the home to two other hockey organizations, the similarly named Macon Whoopee and the Macon Trax.
One thing to keep in mind – when it comes to a facility such has Macon Coliseum, the team is leasing the facility and does not have control over some aspects of the overall experience.
Food & Beverage 3
Food at Macon Coliseum is not going to be one of the more memorable parts of the visit. It’s not that it would be classified as bad; it’s just what you’d get at any stadium event you’d go to (hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, popcorn, candy, nachos, and fountain drinks). These entrees can be combined with a drink and chips for a combo meal. Prices range from $13 for chicken tenders or bratwurst, $11 for a burger, or $9 for the hot dog combo meal.
Cocktail stands are also located on the concourse; well drinks can be had for $10 while premium cocktails start at $15. Wine and 16 oz domestic beers are also available for $8. Local brewery Fall Line has a selection of their line of beers, but one of the most unique beer options is Dry County Brewing’s Macon Mayhem branded beer, Mayhem Lager.
From the outside the Coliseum has the appearance of a pyramid under construction. The main building looks similar to what it did when it was first built in 1968, but a more modern entryway was recently added, which uses a cradled M as part of the architecture.
Once inside, the soaring roofline creates a very open feel to the arena. Within this vast openness an updated video scoreboard hangs over the playing surface where a much smaller one had previously been. The larger videoboard does a much better job at filling the void created by the very high roof.
Seating is divided into rink side and an upper tier of seats. The far end of the arena provides for some group seating at ice level. The most popular seats appear to be toward the front of the second level of seating – these seats provide for a view with limited obstruction from the glass along the side boards.
During the game the in-house MC does a good job engaging the crowd following penalties or other stoppages in play. He also provides commentary on the ebbs-and-flows of the action on the ice to help keep the fans energy up.
Mac, the team mascot, is also very active throughout the game, either interacting with fans throughout the stands or riding his three-wheeler though the lobby area. While the Coliseum defiantly is not packed, there is a fun hockey atmosphere throughout the venue.
Macon Coliseum is located just across the Ocmulgee River from downtown Macon. Downtown Macon has several restaurants for many different tastes; just over a mile from the Coliseum is Cox Cafe. While the area is more industrial than a restaurant district, the food is undeniable. A bit closer to downtown is the locally renowned Rookery which is known for its burgers. Also, local brewery Fall Line Brewing Co. is just a 5-minute drive from the Coliseum.
If looking to make a stay in Macon the most convenient location is the Macon Marriott at City Center. The hotel is located directly next to the coliseum and makes for a short walk. If proximity from the venue is not a priority, either the Hilton Garden Inn or Courtyard by Marriott adjacent to the Mercer campus would be good options.
There is plenty to make a full sports experience from a visit to Macon. Mercer University is within a 10-15 minute drive, and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame is just 5 minutes away, as is Luther Williams Field, the current home of the Coastal Plain League’s Macon Bacon. History buffs may find the Harriett Tubman Museum of interest, while music enthusiasts can find museums for local artists The Allman Brothers, Otis Redding, or Little Richard.
Hockey is not typically associated with being massively popular in the southern states, and might even take a backseat to soccer. Despite the level of statewide interest in hockey, there is a very passionate fanbase for the Mayhem in Macon; many of fans come clad in game used Mayhem sweaters.
Mayhem fans defiantly make their presence felt throughout the game. Many of them come equipped with cow bells that they rattle following each save from the goalie, or each time the team kills off a penalty.
Even though the Mayhem’s attendance does rank toward the bottom of the league, it does not impact the overall excitement. While larger attendance numbers defiantly would increase the positive atmosphere, the current smaller crowd doesn’t create the feel of an arena lacking interest. Instead, the passion shown by the fanbase paired with the lower attendance numbers makes visitors feel as they are part of a special group of fans.
The coliseum is located directly off I-16, with just one turn to make within a quarter mile of the parking lot. The area is currently undergoing major construction, however, which can make navigating the highway a bit challenging.
Making your way around the venue can be a bit of a challenge at times. The walkway is a bit narrow and can be a bit confusing to navigate once the game has started, since the handicap seating area gets blocked off. The arena is set up to encourage fans making their way around the arena to use the inner concourse, but this area does not provide views of the game.
Return On Investment 4
Taking the family to a Macon Mayhem game is definitely an affordable event. Parking at $5 is comparable to what you’d pay for parking at most minor league sporting events. Most tickets range from $9 for upper-level seats to $14 for the lower level. Tickets against the glass are a bit more on the higher end at $34. Pricing is also dynamic, though, so it is all subject to change.
Where affordability is lost is with the food prices – while prices are pretty much in line with what you’d expect to pay at most sporting events, the cost for what you’re getting just doesn’t seem to match the expense. This though is not on the Mayhem, as they are not the ones setting prices.
It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what it is that makes a Macon Mayhem game such a good experience. The fans who would be considered regulars show a great deal of passion for the team and the game. Players fight tooth and nail, figuratively and literally, which goes a long way in sustaining the support and admiration from the regulars. The organization also has a great mix of entertainment to complement the game; all these factors combined create a feel for visitors that many organizations miss on.
The Mayhem have specialty nights for each home game, so every visit should have a certain theme or special event associated with it. Also, over the course of the season there are 7 jersey auctions, which is part of what creates a great connection between fans and players.
The Mayhem Lager adds a small, but special touch to the experience. While specialty branded beers have started to become more popular, there are not a lot of organizations who have their own brew like the Mayhem have with Dry County Brewing.
One thing that seemed to be missing was any acknowledgement of the teams from the past. There are no banners to recognize any of the teams who had previously played and won championships. Part of this might have to do with recent ceiling renovations the venue underwent during the summer of 2022.
It’s understandable why some would be skeptical about hockey in Central Georgia. The reality though is it’s difficult to go to a Mayhem game and not have a good time. There might be some shortcomings as it relates to the arena, but the entertainment the Mayhem provide combines with the game and fan involvement, create a fun evening of hockey for all.