BB&T Center (Sunrise, Florida)

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BB&T Center
BB&T Center logo.png
The BB&T Center located in Sunrise, Florida
Former names National Car Rental Center (1998–2002)
Office Depot Center (2002–2005)
Bank Atlantic Center (2005–2012)
Address 1 Panther Parkway
Location Sunrise, Florida
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
Parking 7,045 total spaces
Owner Broward County
Operator Arena Operating Company, Ltd.

Basketball: 20,737
Ice Hockey: 19,250
Arena Football: 19,779

*End stage 180°: 15,207
*End stage 270°: 19,119
*End stage 360°: 21,371
*Center stage: 22,457
*Theatre: 3,000 [1]
Field size 872,000 square feet (81,000 m2)
Broke ground November 8, 1996 (1996-11-08)
Opened October 3, 1998 (1998-10-03)
Construction cost US$185 million[2]
($289 million in 2017 dollars[3])
Architect Ellerbe Becket
Project manager Upton & Partners[4]
Structural engineer Walter P. Moore & Associates
General contractor Arena Development Company (A joint venture of Centex Rooney/Huber, Hunt & Nichols/Morse Diesel)[4]
Florida Panthers (NHL) (1998–present)
Florida ThunderCats (NPSL) (1998–99)
Florida Bobcats (AFL) (1999-2001)
Florida Pit Bulls (ABA) (2005-06)
Miami Caliente (LFL) (2009–10)

The BB&T Center (previously known as the 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 US$185 million, almost entirely publicly financed, and features 70 suites and 2,623 club seats.[2]


An overhead view of BB&T Center

In 1992, Wayne Huizenga obtained a new NHL franchise that would eventually become the Florida Panthers.[5] 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.[6] 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,[7] and Broward County approved construction in February 1996.[8] 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.[5]

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.[4] 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.[9] 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 their first home game at the new arena.[10]

As NRC's new parent company ANC Rental went bankrupt in 2002, the Panthers sought a new sponsor for the arena.[11] 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 as BB&T Center.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14]

The ADT Club located on the club level offers food and beverage. The Duffy's Sky Club at the BB&T Center encompasses approximately 8,000 square feet and caters to approximately 500 guests. The Penalty Box offers fans another 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.[citation needed]

The BB&T Center is also the home for private loge box seating.

On May 14, 2013, Broward County voted to fund a new scoreboard for the county-owned BB&T Center[15] On October 11, 2013, the scoreboard made its debut for the Panthers' 2013–14 home opener.[16]

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 2006 ABA All-Star game.


Date Artist Opening act(s) Tour / Concert name Attendance Revenue Notes
October 3, 1998 Celine Dion André-Philippe Gagnon Let's Talk About Love World Tour Arena's inaugural event
March 30, 1999 Marilyn Manson Jack Off Jill Rock Is Dead Tour Homecoming concert
December 31, 1999 Bee Gees It was to be their last full arena concert as a group
October 4, 2000 Sarah Brightman La Luna World Tour The concert was recorded and released for PBS as well as video in VHS and later on DVD, entitled La Luna: Live in Concert.
January 22–24, 2001 Backstreet Boys Myra
Krystal Harris
Black & Blue Tour
March 24 & 26, 2001 U2 The Corrs Elevation Tour 37,969 / 37,969 $3,032,028 They were the opening dates of the Elevation tour bringing fans from all over the world to South Florida.
July 20, 2001 Dave Matthews Band Junior Brown There was a power interruption during the performance; they have not returned to the venue since.[17]
August 14–15, 2001 Madonna Drowned World Tour 31,572 / 31,572 $3,603,573
July 28–29, 2004 Madonna Reinvention World Tour 28,208 / 28,208 $3,834,522
August 26, 2005 Green Day American Idiot World Tour
November 20, 2006 The Who The Who Tour 2006-2007 Recorded a live CD as part of the Encore Series
April 26, 2008 Bon Jovi Lost Highway Tour 18,307 / 18,307 $1,554,550 The concert was delayed several hours when someone called in a bomb threat, which turned out to be a hoax.[18]
August 3, 2008 George Michael 25 Live It was his first South Florida concert appearance in 20 years
November 2, 2008 Tina Turner Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour 12,769 / 12,769 $1,468,461
September 5, 2009 Depeche Mode Tour of the Universe 12,665 / 12,665 The show was recorded for the group's live albums project Recording the Universe
January 20, 2011 Linkin Park A Thousand Suns Tour 10,150 / 10,150 $550,558
May 7, 2011 Kylie Minogue Aphrodite: Les Folies Tour 4,000 / 4,441 $253,756
September 15, 2013 Depeche Mode Delta Machine Tour 10,760 / 10,760 $683,192
May 4, 2014 Lady Gaga Lady Starlight ArtRave: The Artpop Ball 12,977 / 12,977 $1,173,695 Gaga was also going to perform on March 15, 2013, for her Born This Way Ball, but the show was cancelled due to her hip injury
May 17, 2014 Cher Cyndi Lauper Dressed to Kill Tour (Cher) 12,178 / 12,178 $1,348,709
July 2, 2014 Katy Perry Capital Cities
Prismatic World Tour 12,888 / 12,888 $1,382,655
February 24, 2016 Iron Maiden The Raven Age The Book of Souls World Tour 12,478 / 12,478 $954,111
April 8, 2016 Pearl Jam Pearl Jam 2016 North America Tour
April 13, 2016 Pentatonix Us The Duo
AJ Lehrman
Pentatonix World Tour 2016 4,609 / 7,008 $250,805
July 1, 2016 Demi Lovato
Nick Jonas
Marshmello Future Now Tour 7,251 / 10,314 $400,809
July 2, 2016 Twenty One Pilots Mutemath
Emotional Roadshow World Tour 11,705 / 11,916 $393,775
April 15, 2017 Panic! at the Disco MisterWives Death of a Bachelor Tour N/A N/A
February 1, 2018 Lana Del Rey Kali Uchis LA to the Moon Tour TBA TBA
August 15, 2018 Shakira N/A El Dorado World Tour TBA TBA

Notable events[edit]


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.

Professional wrestling[edit]


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).

Other events[edit]

  • 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.
  • On February 21, 2018, the venue hosted a CNN Town Hall on gun control in response to the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting; it was attended by 7,000 people, including survivors of the shooting and relatives of the victims.[19]

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.[2]

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[2]

Food and novelty concessions[edit]

  • Plaza Level: 3 Food Courts and Pantherland Retail
  • Mezzanine Level: 3 Food Courts and two Points of Purchase Kiosks[2]


  1. ^ BankAtlantic Center
  2. ^ a b c d e "Facts and Figures". BB&T Center. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved October 22, 2007. 
  3. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c "History". BB&T Center. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Panthers History: Arenas". National Hockey League. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  6. ^ Lapointe, Joe (December 11, 1992). "N.H.L. Is Going to Disneyland, and South Florida, Too". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Sunrise Gets Serious About Arena". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. December 16, 1995. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Prospects Good For Broward Arena". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. February 1, 1996. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  9. ^ Snell, Alan; Fleshler, David (July 11, 1998). "Huizenga's National Car Rental To Be Name Gracing Hockey Arena". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  10. ^ Nolin, Robert (September 12, 1998). "Sunrise Arena Ok'd For Occupancy". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  11. ^ Talalay, Sarah (August 16, 2002). "Panthers Want Car Rental Name Taken Off Arena". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  12. ^ Richards, George (September 11, 2012). "Florida Panthers' Arena Now BB&T Center". The Miami Herald. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Panthers See Red In BankAtlantic Center Lower Bowl". National Hockey League. July 25, 2011. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  14. ^ Valverde, Miriam (January 29, 2013). "Club Red elevates experiences at BB&T Center". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  15. ^ Nolin, Robert (May 14, 2013). "County to Fund New Scoreboard for Panthers Arena". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  16. ^ Davis, Craig (October 11, 2013). "Huizenga Joins Viola to Christen New Panthers Era Before 6-3 Win". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Tour: 2001 summer". DMB Almanac. Retrieved June 11, 2009. 
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ Man, Anthony; Barszewski, Larry (February 21, 2018). "Rubio is jeered as CNN town hall meeting about Florida school shooting turns angry". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved February 21, 2018. 

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