BB&T Center (Sunrise)
|Former names||BankAtlantic Center (2005-2012)
Office Depot Center (2002-2005)
National Car Rental Center (1998-2002)
Broward Civic Arena (1998)
|Location||1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise, Florida 33323|
|Broke ground||November 8, 1996|
|Opened||October 3, 1998|
|Operator||Arena Operating Company, Ltd.|
|Construction cost||$185 million
($261 million in 2013 dollars)
|Project manager||Upton & Partners|
|Structural engineer||Walter P. Moore & Associates|
|General contractor||Arena Development Company (A joint venture of Centex Rooney/Huber, Hunt & Nichols/Morse Diesel)|
|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)
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, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale. It is home to the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League. Adjacent to the popular Sawgrass Mills Mall, the arena is directly accessible from the Sawgrass Expressway northbound at the Pat Salerno Drive exit, and in both directions at the Oakland Park Boulevard and Sunrise Boulevard exits. It was completed in 1998, at a cost of $185 million, almost entirely publicly financed, and features 70 suites and 2,623 club seats.
In 1992, Wayne Huizenga obtained a new NHL franchise that would eventually become the Florida Panthers. Until the team had an arena of their own, they initially played at the now-demolished Miami Arena, sharing the venue with the NBA's Miami Heat. Sunrise City Manager Pat Salerno made public a $167-million financing and construction plan for a civic center near the Sawgrass Expressway in December 1995, and Broward County approved construction in February 1996. In June 1996, the site was chosen by the Panthers, and in July, 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 never having 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 circuit monitors and leather upholstery. Averaging over 650 square feet (60 m2), 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 in July 1998 by National Car Rental—a company purchased by Huizenga in January 1997—leading to the venue being named the National Car Rental Center. A certificate of occupancy was given on September 12, and the arena opened on October 3 with a Celine Dion concert. The next day, Elton John performed, and on October 9 the Panthers had its first home game at the new arena.
As NRC's new parent company ANC Rental went bankrupt in 2002, the Panthers sought a new sponsor for the 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 and second-largest in the Southeastern United States, behind Greensboro Coliseum.
During the 2011 offseason, the BB&T Center replaced the original green seats in the lower bowl with new red seats, as a part of the Panthers "We See Red" campaign.
In October 2012, Sunrise Sports and Entertainment completed installation of the Club Red seating sections encompassing the center ice seats during hockey games. It is an all-inclusive nightclub experience following the trend of other sports and entertainment venues in incorporating high-end seating sections and clubs.
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.
- 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.)
- 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 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.)
- 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.
- Iron Maiden - "The Final Frontier World Tour" - April 16, 2011
- Muse - "The 2nd Law Tour" - February 22, 2013
Boxing, mixed martial arts
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.
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).
- 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.
Parking and loading docks
- 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
Food and novelty concessions
- Plaza Level: 3 Food Courts and Pantherland Retail
- Mezzanine Level: 3 Food Courts and two Points of Purchase Kiosks
- "Facts and Figures". BB&T Center. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2012. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- "History". BB&T Center. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- NHL to add teams in Miami, Anaheim Huizenga, Disney high-profile owners, The New York Times
- "Tour: 2001 summer". DMB Almanac. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
- 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.
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|Events and tenants|
|Home of the
1998 – present
|Host of the
NHL All-Star Game
Xcel Energy Center