UC Santa Barbara Events Center

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Events Center
The Thunderdome
UCSB Events Center back.jpg
Full name UC Santa Barbara Events Center
Former names Campus Events Center
Location Santa Barbara, California
Coordinates 34°24′49.65″N 119°51′4.13″W / 34.4137917°N 119.8511472°W / 34.4137917; -119.8511472Coordinates: 34°24′49.65″N 119°51′4.13″W / 34.4137917°N 119.8511472°W / 34.4137917; -119.8511472
Built 1979
Owner University of California, Santa Barbara
Scoreboard Yes
Capacity 5,600 (for basketball)
5,814 (maximum)
Executive suites None
Record attendance 6,512 on December 18, 1991
for Men's Basketball vs. Ohio State
Tenants
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos men's basketball
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos women's basketball
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos women's volleyball

UC Santa Barbara Events Center, originally known as Campus Events Center and now most commonly known as The Thunderdome, is a 5,600-seat, indoor multi-purpose stadium on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, California.

History of The Thunderdome[edit]

The Thunderdome was built in 1979, originally under the name of Campus Events Center. Along with Harder Stadium, it has since become one of the most patronized venues at UC Santa Barbara. After a naming contest and vote among students and faculty (which included some tongue in cheek nominations such as "Yankee Stadium", the Jerry Brown Arena, the Corrugated Fortress), it was eventually given the generic name "Campus Events Center". Eventually, the name was unofficially shorted to the "ECen" (much like UCSB's University Center being called the "UCen").

For basketball, the stadium seats 5,600.[1] Other configurations result in differing capacities, most notably 5,814 as a maximum (for boxing or wrestling)[2] or 3,584 to 4,848 for concerts.[3][4] Currently, the 5,600 seat stadium is the fourth largest arena in the Big West Conference, behind the 10,200-seat Stan Sheriff Center at the University of Hawaii, 8,000-seat UC Davis Pavilion and the University of the Pacific's 6,150-seat Alex G. Spanos Center.

Transformation into The Thunderdome[edit]

At first, crowds were small, but with the hiring of Jerry Pimm in 1983, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos men's basketball program began to experience greater success. As the size of crowds began to increase (often exceeding the stated capacity), the Events Center became increasingly loud and hostile, creating significant problems for opposing teams.

After UCSB (led by future Laker Brian Shaw) upset Jim Valvano's North Carolina State Wolfpack team by double digits in 1987 before a sellout crowd, the raucous atmosphere had transformed "The Events Center" into "The Thunderdome". Credit has been given to the Athletic Director at that time, Stan Morrison, for having coined the nickname. Also many believe it was further reinforced from Valvano himself when he said in a postgame interview, "It was louder than thunder in there tonight."

The Tortilla Technical[edit]

In the early 1990s, it became customary for the students to toss tortillas onto the court like frisbees after the first UCSB basket of the game. The team would then be assessed a technical foul for delay of game while the tortillas were cleaned up, which became infamously known as the "Tortilla Technical."[citation needed] Despite continued pleading from the players and coaches to stop the practice, students continued the behavior.

During a game televised by ESPN, tortilla fragments got into one of ESPN's professional video cameras. The school had to purchase a replacement for the network.[citation needed] The school established a policy of searching students for tortillas as they entered the arena and eventually the novelty wore off. While the tortillas have stopped flying at The Thunderdome, raucous students have brought the practice to Harder Stadium, home of the 2006 NCAA champion UC Santa Barbara Gauchos men's soccer team where no such penalties are enforced.

Tenants[edit]

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos athletics[edit]

The Thunderdome is the home to teams of the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos athletic program. Currently, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos men's basketball and UC Santa Barbara Gauchos women's basketball teams, as well as the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos women's volleyball team all call The Thunderdome home. In 2002, 2,794 fans attended a women's volleyball match between UCSB and the USC Trojans in which the 9th ranked Gauchos upset USC 3 games to 1.

Other events[edit]

The facility also hosted and the first and second round games of the 2004 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament. In addition to sporting events, The Thunderdome has seen many concerts, boxing matches, and performances come through.

Dave Chappelle performed comedy on June 2, 2004, while The Killers played at The Thunderdome on April 6, 2007 and the Harlem Globetrotters played an exhibition game on February 15, 2007.

Basketball Camps in the summer are hosted by Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. These camps take place during the summer months. Michael Jordan's camp has happened yearly for several years and the Kobe Bryant camp has been happening since the summer of 2010.[5] [6] [7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Floor Plans: Basketball". UC Santa Barbara Events Center. Retrieved October 10, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Floor Plans: Wrestling and Boxing". UC Santa Barbara Events Center. Retrieved October 10, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Floor Plans: Concert (Alternate)". UC Santa Barbara Events Center. Retrieved October 10, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Floor Plans: Concert (Standard)". UC Santa Barbara Events Center. Retrieved October 10, 2009. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ [3]

External links[edit]