Convocation Center (Eastern Michigan University)
|Location||799 North Hewitt Road
Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197
|Public transit||Trinity from EMU Student Center|
|Owner||Eastern Michigan University|
|Operator||Eastern Michigan University|
|Opened||December 9, 1998|
|Construction cost||$29.6 million
($43 million in 2016 dollars)
|General contractor||Barton Malow|
|Eastern Michigan Eagles|
The Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center is a multi-purpose arena, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The facility is owned by Eastern Michigan University. The event has hosted concerts, graduation ceremonies and athletic events. The facility was built in 1997.
Construction began in the spring of 1997 and culminated with its grand opening, December 9, 1998, with a men's basketball game against the University of Michigan in front of a crowd of 7,647. Since its opening, it has served as home court for the Eagles' men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams. The EMU wrestling team has held several dual meets on the arena floor. It has also served as the site for two Mid-American Conference Championships. EMU hosted the 2000 MAC Gymnastics Championship and the 2002 MAC Wrestling Championship. It has been the host site for four first-round MAC Women's Basketball Tournament games, three first-round MAC Volleyball Tournament games and one first-round game for the men's basketball squad.
Along with their commitment to EMU Athletics, it has hosted concerts. It is also the site for EMU's spring and winter commencement ceremonies. Other events have included youth sporting competitions, high school commencements, trade shows, job fairs, conventions, charity and community awareness events and a circus.
The 204,316-square-foot (18,981.6 m2) facility features three levels (arena, concourse, and office) and three seating configurations to maximize crowd capacity and space usage. The largest seating capacity is for center-stage entertainment activities, with 9,500 seats available. The capacity for basketball games is approximately 8,800.
EMU's athletic administration is located on the office level, along with offices for the EMU football, men's and women's basketball and volleyball coaching staffs. The EMU Sports Information Office, as well as offices for the staff, are located on the office level.
The main athletic training room and office space for EMU's sports medicine staff is located on the arena level as are strength and conditioning facilities and equipment rooms.
On March 18, 2014, Eastern Michigan received national attention when a CollegeInsider.com tournament game at the Convo – EMU's first men's basketball postseason game in 16 years – drew 373 fans. Senior forward Glenn Bryant tweeted his frustration at the small crowd, which was picked up by national media. Despite a 22-win season, EMU drew an average of 901 fans per home game in 2013–14 (10.2% of capacity). In 2014-15, EMU chalked up 21 wins and another postseason berth (at the College Basketball Invitational); however, attendance was even lower, just 776 per contest. (Eastern has never come close to selling out the Convo Center in its history; even the 1998 opener against Michigan featured over a thousand empty seats.)
2008 WNBA Finals
Due to the unavailability of The Palace of Auburn Hills, the Detroit Shock moved three WNBA playoff games to the Convo Center in the fall of 2008: two games in the Eastern Conference Finals and Game 3 of the 2008 WNBA Finals, against the San Antonio Silver Stars. The Shock won game 3 and the WNBA title, 76-60; the contest was broadcast nationally on ESPN.
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