Frank Erwin Center

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Frank Erwin Center
The Drum, The Superdrum
Frank Erwin Center.png
Erwin center 2005.jpg
Full name Frank C. Erwin Jr. Special Events Center
Former names Special Events Center (1977–1980)
Address 1701 Red River Street
Location Austin, Texas
Coordinates 30°16′37″N 97°43′56″W / 30.276958°N 97.732216°W / 30.276958; -97.732216Coordinates: 30°16′37″N 97°43′56″W / 30.276958°N 97.732216°W / 30.276958; -97.732216
Owner University of Texas at Austin
Operator University of Texas at Austin
Capacity 17,900 (center stage) (concert)
16,540 (basketball, 2013-present)
7,820 (theatre)
Record attendance John Denver 17,829
Surface Terrazzo Floor/Portable basketball floor/Portable turf
Broke ground August 1974
Opened November 29, 1977
Renovated 2001
Expanded 2003
Construction cost $34 million (original)
($137 million in 2017 dollars[1])
$55 million (renovations/expansion)
Architect Wilson, Crain & Anderson

Heery International (renovations/expansion)
Structural engineer Walter P Moore[2]
General contractor H.A. Lott Inc.
Texas Longhorns (NCAA) (1977–present)
Austin Wranglers (AFL/af2) (2004–2008)

The Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center (commonly known as Frank Erwin Center or UT Erwin Center and originally Special Events Center) is a multi-purpose arena located on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas. It is also sometimes referred to as "The Drum" or "The Superdrum", owing to its round, drum-like appearance from outside (not to be confused with Big Bertha, the large bass drum used by the University of Texas marching band).

The multi-purpose facility hosts entertainment events and is the home court for the UT men's and women's basketball programs. The Erwin Center is located at the southeastern corner of the UT central campus and is bounded on the east by Interstate 35.


Frank Erwin Center during a basketball game

Built to replace Gregory Gymnasium as the men's and women's basketball teams' home arena, the Special Events Center was completed in 1977 for a total cost of $34 million. The Texas men's basketball team opened the events center on November 29, 1977 with an 83–76 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners.[3] UT undertook extensive renovations of the facility from 2001 to 2003 at a cost of $55 million, adding, among other things, new and renovated seating, new video and sound systems, new lighting, and 28 suites.[4]

The building is named for former UT Board of Regents member Frank Erwin, who as a regent was very controversial due to his hostility towards the burgeoning on-campus, political counterculture movement of the late 1960s and was directly involved in the arrest of protesting students and the purging of what he deemed as "unpatriotic" faculty.[5] Originally known as the Special Events Center, the facility was renamed in 1980 to honor Erwin, who died that same year.

A two-level layout (the lower arena and upper mezzanine) accommodates up to 16,540 spectators for basketball games and up to 17,900 spectators for concerts. The inner ring of the arena averages around 20 rows deep, while the mezzanine is slightly deeper at around 24 rows. The size of the arena's inner ring is highly dependent on the event being hosted.

Erwin Center, Set Up for A Concert, April 2016

The Dell Medical Center, a $334 million teaching hospital for the University, has identified the parking lot and Waller Creek area directly across from the Frank Erwin Center as Phase I of construction, with later phases calling for the demolition and relocation of the Frank Erwin Center,[6] preferably on the University of Texas at Austin campus. A discussed location is the parking lots south of Mike A. Myers Soccer Stadium. The plan and building partner for the new arena should be set by September 2018 plus another five years until completion.


Located adjacent to downtown Austin, Texas, The Erwin Center is generally accepted to be Austin's current premier venue for large public and private events. The center holds many events such as concerts, wrestling events, bull riding and private banquets.

The arena has hosted three UFC mixed martial events: UFC Fight Night: Marquardt vs. Palhares in 2010, UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Swanson in 2014, and UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Medeiros in 2018.

Music artists such as KISS, U2, Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, Paul McCartney, Def Leppard, Garth Brooks, Van Halen, Prince, Rod Stewart, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and many others have performed at the arena.

The Erwin Center hosted the semifinals and finals of the University Interscholastic League boys' and girls' basketball playoffs in all five classifications until 2015, when the playoffs moved to San Antonio.

See also


  1. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  2. ^ "Arenas". Walter P Moore. Archived from the original on July 8, 2000. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  3. ^ "Celebrating 35 Years". Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  4. ^ "About the Erwin Center". Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  5. ^ "Erwin, Frank Craig Jr. – Texas State Historical Association". Texas Sports. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  6. ^ "Dell Medical School Construction Plans Unveiled". University of Texas. May 8, 2013. Retrieved November 10, 2013.

External links

  • Frank Erwin Center
  • Frank C. Erwin Jr., Special Events Center –
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