|Location||3719 Terrace Street|
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
|Owner||University of Pittsburgh|
|Operator||SMG Facility Management|
End stage concerts: 9,000
|Field size||Arena Size: 430,000 total square feet|
|Surface||Hardwood Basketball Court|
|Broke ground||June 15, 2000|
|Opened||April 27, 2002|
|Construction cost||$119 million|
Rosser International of Atlanta
|Structural engineer||Walter P Moore & Associates|
|Services engineer||Brinjac, Kambic & Associates|
|General contractor||Pitt-Center Partners (joint venture between Mizerak Towers and Associates, P.J. Dick Inc. and O'Brien Construction)|
|Pittsburgh Panthers (NCAA) (2002-present)|
Pittsburgh Xplosion (CBA) (2006-2008)
The Petersen Events Center (more commonly known as "The Pete") is a 12,508-seat multi-purpose arena on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in the Oakland neighborhood. The arena is named for philanthropists John Petersen and his wife Gertrude, who donated $10 million for its construction. John Petersen, a Pitt alumnus, is a native of nearby Erie and is the retired President and CEO of Erie Insurance Group. The Petersen Events Center was winner of the 2003 Innovative Architecture & Design Honor Award from Recreation Management magazine.
The arena opened in 2002 on part of the former site of Pitt Stadium, which housed the university's football team from 1925 to 1999. The Pitt men's and women's basketball programs make their home here, previously residing in Fitzgerald Field House. The new building, due to its larger capacity, also meant that Pitt no longer had to play certain games or hold graduation ceremonies at the Civic Arena.
Its first event was a Counting Crows concert. For concerts the Center seats 9,000 for end-stage shows, 14,763 for center-stage shows. The first official women's basketball game at the Pete was a 90-51 win over Robert Morris University on November 22, 2002. The first official men's basketball game at the Pete was an 82-67 win over Duquesne University on November 23, 2002. Since its creation through the end of the 2012-13 season, the Pitt men's basketball team has compiled a record of 180-22 (.891) at the Pete, including a 9-1 record against teams ranked in the top five. Pitt broke the 100 win mark on November 22, 2008 with an 86-60 win over Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and the 200 win mark on December 30, 2014 vs Florida Gulf Coast.
In 2006, the Pittsburgh Xplosion, a professional basketball team in the Continental Basketball Association, played its first game at the arena. The team folded just prior to the start of the 2008-09 season.
Since 2010, the Petersen Events Center has been used as the primary alternative to the much larger PPG Paints Arena, which replaced Mellon Arena, and is now the Pittsburgh home of Disney on Ice, Marvel Universe Live! and the Big3, and hosted the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus in its final years.
With 430,000 total square feet, the Pete seats 12,508 for basketball and 9,000 for end stage concerts. The arena features 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2) of lobby space with 90-foot (27 m) high ceilings and 42,000 square feet (3,900 m2) of glass with a barely visible coating that allows sunlight through while controlling heat loss and gain. A video score board that had previous hung in Pitt Stadium was also installed in the lobby. The arena also features 18 luxury suites, including five courtside luxury suites (the only college arena with courtside suites) and a 193-seat SuperSuite.
The section known as the Oakland Zoo is composed of the sections across from the team benches and next to the court. The name comes from Oakland, the neighborhood where Pitt's campus resides. The students in the Zoo wear gold T-shirts with the words "Oakland Zoo" in some way, shape or form across the front. This layout and unity is a large factor in why the Pete is such a tough place to play for opposing teams. In fact, Pitt has lost only five home non-conference games out of over 120 since the Panthers moved into the Pete in 2002.
In 2006, Sports Illustrated surveyed the Big East Conference's basketball players, and the Pete was named the "Toughest Place to Play," with specific players mentioning the Oakland Zoo and the fans' creativity. In 2013, the facility was also ranked as having the second best game time environment in the nation by USA Today.
The Petersen Events Center also has received accolades for being the sixth loudest college basketball venue according to ESPN the Magazine, the eighth best overall college basketball venue according to ESPN's Jason King, and among the toughest places for opponents to play in college basketball according to multiple Bleacher Report articles. The Pitt men's basketball team has also sold out of season tickets since the venue opened.
In 2007 and 2010, "The Pete" hosted first and second-round games of the NCAA Women's Division I Tournament.
The Petersen Events Center serves as more than just the home court of the Panthers basketball teams. Located within the facility is a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) Baierl Student Recreation Center featuring four racquetball courts, two squash courts, Cybex weight machines, a free weight area, aerobics practice room, martial arts room, health assessment area, and aerobic area with treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical and Stairmaster machines and four plasma TVs.
In addition, the McCarl Panthers Hall of Champions, which pays homage to and displays memorabilia from past Pitt athletics achievements, and the official Pittsburgh Panthers Team Store are located in the main lobby of the Pete.
Also included is the Willis Center for Academics for student athletes which includes computer and writing labs, a math and science area, individual tutor rooms, and a career resource area.
Also, a food court is located within the Pete and is available to students and others during the weekdays in addition to when events are being hosted within the arena.
The arena also features and auxiliary practice basketball facility, athletic training, office and media facilities.
The Pete also hosts the University's commencement ceremony.
At a March 30, 2011 concert by the band Furthur, a 19-year-old man ran through a window at the arena and fell four stories. Police say in the moments leading up to the incident, the man got into a football stance, yelled "hike," and launched himself through the glass. The man was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital with massive head trauma. He was pronounced dead just after 12:20 a.m.
Panther outside the Pete
Inside the main lobby looking out to Scaife Hall
Men's basketball trophy display
Women's basketball trophy display
| University of Pittsburgh Buildings
Petersen Events Center
Fitzgerald Field House
| Home of the
men's & women's basketball teams
Petersen Events Center
Payne Whitney Gymnasium
| Host of the Jeopardy! College Championship