BB&T Center (Sunrise, Florida)

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BB&T Center
The BB&T Center located in Sunrise, FL
Former names BankAtlantic Center (2005-12)
Office Depot Center (2002-05)
National Car Rental Center (1998-2002)
Broward County Civic Arena (1998)
Location 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise, Florida 33323
Coordinates 26°9′30″N 80°19′32″W / 26.15833°N 80.32556°W / 26.15833; -80.32556Coordinates: 26°9′30″N 80°19′32″W / 26.15833°N 80.32556°W / 26.15833; -80.32556
Broke ground November 8, 1996
Opened October 3, 1998
Owner Broward County
Operator Arena Operating Company, Ltd.
Construction cost $185 million[1]
($268 million in 2014 dollars[2])
Architect Ellerbe Becket
Project manager Upton & Partners[3]
Structural engineer Walter P. Moore & Associates
General contractor Arena Development Company (A joint venture of Centex Rooney/Huber, Hunt & Nichols/Morse Diesel)[3]

Basketball: 20,737
Ice hockey: 19,250
Concerts: 20,763

  • End-Stage Concerts: 15,207 - 21,371
  • Center-Stage Concerts: 22,457[1]
Field dimensions 872,000 square feet (81,000 m2)
Florida Panthers (NHL) (1998–present)
Florida Pit Bulls (ABA) (2005–2006)
Florida Bobcats (AFL) (1999–2001)
Florida ThunderCats (NPSL) (1998–1999)
Miami Caliente (LFL) (2009–2010)
An overhead view of BB&T Center

The BB&T Center (previously known as Broward County Civic Arena, National Car Rental Center, Office Depot Center, and BankAtlantic Center) is an indoor arena located in Sunrise, Florida. It is home to the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League. It was completed in 1998, at a cost of $185 million, almost entirely publicly financed, and features 70 suites and 2,623 club seats.[1]


The search for a new arena began in 1992, when Wayne Huizenga obtained the new franchise, the Florida Panthers Hockey Team, who initially played at the now demolished Miami Arena. Sunrise City Manager Pat Salerno made public a $167-million financing and construction plan for a civic center near the Sawgrass Expressway on December 1995, and Broward County approved construction in February 1996. The Panthers chose the site in June, and in July 1996, Alex Muxo gathered more than a dozen architects, engineers, and contractors for the first major design brainstorming session. Architects Ellerbe Becket were given 26 months to build the arena, which had to be ready by August 30, 1998, to accommodate the 1998-99 NHL season. Despite the fact that they’d never designed a facility that had taken less than 31 months from start to finish, they accepted the job. Seventy suites were completed with wet bars, closed circuited monitors, and leather upholstery. Averaging over 650 square feet, the suites are the largest in the country for this type of facility. All the activity was generated by over 50 subcontractors and 2.3 million man-hours without a single injury. Known as Broward County Civic Center during construction, the naming rights were won by National Car Rental, a company purchased by Huizenga in January 1997. A certificate of occupancy was given on September 12, 1998 and the arena opened on October 3, 1998 with a Celine Dion concert. The next day, Elton John performed, and on October 9, 1998 the Panthers had its first home game at the new arena.

It later became the Office Depot Center in the summer of 2002, and the BankAtlantic Center on September 6, 2005. As BB&T purchased BankAtlantic in July 2012, two months later the arena was rebranded BB&T Center. BB&T Center is currently the largest arena in Florida holding over 22,000 and second-largest in the Southeastern United States, behind Greensboro Coliseum.

Spectators have enjoyed Florida Panthers hockey, concert headliners like Jay-Z, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Michael Buble, Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Usher, Jimmy Buffett and Andre Rieu well as family shows like Walking with Dinosaurs, Disney on Ice, the Harlem Globtrotters and Monster Jam. In addition, the venue has played host to the 2001 NHL Entry Draft and the 2003 NHL All-Star Game, as well as acting as the annual home for the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.

The BB&T Center offers versatile programming reflective of the rich diversity of the South Florida community. Annual events at the BB&T Center include college and high school commencement ceremonies, corporate functions, charity events, youth hockey games, motivational seminars and much more.

In 2012, the BB&T Center welcomed Club RED to the arena. Club RED is a 12,000+ sq. ft exclusive lounge for all concerts, shows, and events including a center ice view for hockey games. Club RED was designed by famed Kansas City-based 360 Architecture. SSE worked exclusively with local vendors on the club’s construction including Moss Construction, who was the general contractor on the project, and other local businesses. It opened Oct. 5, 2012. Club RED offers all-inclusive superior cuisine and an all-inclusive full-service bar. Other offers include VIP valet parking, private entrance, early entry to an event and much more.

The ADT Club located on the club level offers five-star food and beverage for every event, VIP club parking, executive concierge services, private business services, lounge area and much more. The Duffy’s Sky Club at the BB&T Center encompasses approximately 8,000 square feet and caters to approximately 500 guests with a Panthers themed interior design, full-service bar, outdoor patio, specialty buffet and tremendous sidelines. The Penalty Box offers fans another luxury seating and dining option inside the BB&T Center. The Legends Lounge is a restaurant located on the Lexus Suite Level and offers sit down service.

The BB&T Center is also the home for private loge box seating. These state of the art boxes include the upscale amenities of a luxury suite with the excitement of sitting in the arena bowl. Amenities include comfortable, swivel contoured chair with seating for four or eight people, countertop dining and viewing opportunities with access to the BB&T Chairman’s Club, waiter/waitress service, concierge service and more.

On May. 14, 2013, Broward County voted to fund a new scoreboard for the county-owned BB&T Center. On Oct. 11, 2013, the scoreboard made its debut for the Panthers 2013-14 home opener.

Regular events[edit]

Inside the BB&T Center during a Florida Panthers game.

In addition to the Panthers, the arena was formerly home to the Florida Pit Bulls of the American Basketball Association, the Miami Caliente of the Lingerie Football League, and the Florida Bobcats of the AFL, along with the only season of the Florida ThunderCats. This arena also serves as the host for the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic held every December in conjunction with the namesake college football game.

The arena has also hosted the 2003 NHL All-Star Game and the 2005–2006 ABA All-Star game.

Notable events[edit]

  • Celine Dion - Let's Talk About Love World Tour - October 3, 1998 (Arena's inaugural event)
  • The Bee Gees - December 31, 1999 (It was to be their last full arena concert as a group)
  • The Florida Panthers hosted the 2001 NHL Entry Draft at the arena.
  • The Dave Matthews Band - 2001 (There was a power interruption during the performance; they have not returned to the venue since.[4])
  • The arena served as the site for the 2003 NHL All-Star Game on February 2, 2003. The Western Conference defeated the Eastern Conference, 6-5, in a shootout victory. It marked the first "official" shootout in the NHL
  • The Who - November 20, 2006 (recorded a live CD as part of the Encore Series)
  • Bon Jovi - A concert held on April 26, 2008 was delayed several hours when someone called in a bomb threat, which turned out to be a hoax.[5])
  • On May 23, 2008, Senator Barack Obama held a rally as part of his Presidential campaign.
  • On October 29, 2008, Senator Barack Obama held a rally as part of his Presidential campaign, and addressed the nation live on several television networks.
  • Depeche Mode recorded their show at the venue on September 5, 2009 for their live albums project Recording the Universe.
  • The Florida Panthers are hosting the 2015 NHL Entry Draft at the arena on June 26-27, 2015.

Boxing, mixed martial arts[edit]

The arena has held boxing and mixed martial arts events such as EliteXC: Heat featuring the main event of Seth Petruzelli and Kimbo Slice took place on October 4, 2008. On February 15, 2009, a lightweight bout between Nate Campbell and Ali Funeka took place in the arena.

Strikeforce MMA made their debut at the arena on January 30, 2010 with the Strikeforce: Miami event on Showtime.

UFC on FX 3 took place at the arena on June 8, 2012. It was the first UFC event ever held at the arena.


The Professional Bull Riders brought their Built Ford Tough Series tour to the BB&T Center in September 2005 for a bull riding event, which was won by Kody Lostroh (who ultimately became the Rookie of the Year that same year).

Arena information[edit]


  • Basketball: 20,737
  • Hockey: 19,250
  • End-Stage Concerts: 15,207 - 23,000
  • Center-Stage Concerts: 25,000
  • 17,000 square feet (1,600 m2) of arena floor space for trade shows and other events such as circuses and ice shows.[1]

Parking and loading docks[edit]

  • Total: 7,045 Spaces (Does not include production or bus/oversized vehicle parking)
  • General Parking: 4,787 Spaces
  • Suite/Club Seat Parking: 1,430 Spaces
  • Garage: 226 Spaces
  • Disabled Parking: 90 Spaces
  • Event Staff: 512 Spaces
  • Truck Doors: 5
  • Waste Removal Docks: 2[1]

Food and novelty concessions[edit]

  • Plaza Level: 3 Food Courts and Pantherland Retail
  • Mezzanine Level: 3 Food Courts and two Points of Purchase Kiosks[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Facts and Figures". BB&T Center. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved October 22, 2007. 
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "History". BB&T Center. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Tour: 2001 summer". DMB Almanac. Retrieved June 11, 2009. 
  5. ^ Haas, Brian; Gollan, Jennifer (April 27, 2008). "Cell Phone Bomb Threat Delays Bon Jovi Concert". South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale). Retrieved September 10, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Miami Arena
Home of the
Florida Panthers

1998 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Staples Center
Host of the
NHL All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Xcel Energy Center