Dunkin' Donuts Center

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Dunkin' Donuts Center
"The Dunk"
Dunkin' Donuts Center
Former names Providence Civic Center (1972–2001)
Location 101 Sabin Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Coordinates 41°49′25″N 71°25′6″W / 41.82361°N 71.41833°W / 41.82361; -71.41833Coordinates: 41°49′25″N 71°25′6″W / 41.82361°N 71.41833°W / 41.82361; -71.41833
Public transit Providence Station
Owner Rhode Island Convention Center Authority (2005–present)
City of Providence (1972–2005)
Operator SMG
Capacity Ice hockey: 11,075
Basketball: 12,400
Surface Multi-surface
Broke ground January 1971
Opened November 3, 1972
Renovated 2008
Construction cost $13 million
($73.5 million in 2016 dollars[1])
$80 million (renovation)
($87.9 million in 2016 dollars[1])
Architect Ellerbe Associates
General contractor Dimeo Construction Company[2]
Providence Bruins (AHL) (1992–present)
Providence Friars (NCAA) (1972–present)
Rhode Island Rams (NCAA) (1973–2002)
Providence Reds (AHL) (1972–1976)
Rhode Island Reds (AHL) (1976–1977)
New England Tea Men (NASL) (1979–1980)
New England Steamrollers (AFL) (1988)

The Dunkin' Donuts Center (originally Providence Civic Center) is an indoor arena located in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. It was built in 1972, as a home court for the emerging Providence College men's basketball program, due to the high demand for tickets to their games in Alumni Hall, as well as for a home arena for the then-Providence Reds, who played in the nearly 50-year-old Rhode Island Auditorium. Current tenants include the Providence Bruins, of the AHL and the Providence College men's basketball team.

In 2001, the arena was named the Dunkin' Donuts Center as part of a naming-rights deal with Dunkin' Donuts.[3] In December 2005, the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority purchased the building from the city of Providence and spent $80 million on an extensive renovation. Major elements of the construction included a significantly expanded lobby and concourse, an enclosed pedestrian bridge from the Rhode Island Convention Center, a new center-hung LED video display board, a new restaurant, 20 luxury suites, four new bathrooms, and all-new seats with cupholders in the arena bowl. Behind-the-scenes improvements included a new HVAC system, ice chiller, and a first-of-its-kind fire suppression system. These renovations were completed in October 2008.[4]

In 2010, the arena hosted first and second-round games of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament for the first time since 1996.[5]



Providence College men's basketball[edit]

The Providence Friars men's basketball team has been the only major tenant of the arena since its inception, having played almost all of its home basketball games at the arena since 1972. The Providence men's basketball team and their fans have made the Dunk one of the most intimidating environments in recent years for NCAA basketball. On rare occasions, the Providence women's basketball team has played "home" games in the arena, most notably for games against URI or the University of Connecticut, where demand for tickets would be enough to warrant an arena larger than the 2,620-seat Alumni Hall.

Other college sports[edit]

The arena has been the site of many collegiate tournaments, including the inaugural 1980 Big East Conference men's basketball tournament; the Division I men's basketball ECAC New England Region Tournament, organized by the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), in 1978 and 1979;[6][7][8][9] NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament first- and second-round games in 1976, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1989, 1996, and 2010; the 1978 and 1985 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament East Region finals; the inaugural 1985 Hockey East Tournament, as well as the second tournament a year later in 1986 before the tourney made Boston a permanent home; and the 1978, 1980, 1982, 1986, 1995 and 2000 NCAA Frozen Four ice hockey championships. The University of Rhode Island (URI) men's basketball team also played some home basketball games at the Providence Civic Center beginning in 1973, although this practice stopped with the opening of the Ryan Center in 2002.

Semi-professional sports[edit]

The Providence Reds (later known as the Rhode Island Reds) hockey team of the American Hockey League (AHL) played at the Providence Civic Center from 1972 to 1977. The New England Tea Men of the North American Soccer League (NASL) played their indoor soccer matches there from 1979–1980 before moving south to Jacksonville, Florida at the start of the 1980–81 indoor season.[10][11][12] The Providence Bruins of the AHL began play at the arena in 1992. The New England Steamrollers of the Arena Football League also called the arena home for their single season of existence in 1988.

A number of other professional sporting events, including Harlem Globetrotters basketball games and preseason games for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) have been held at the arena.

Other events[edit]

The arena has long been a regular stop on WWE tours. It was the site of WWF King of the Ring tournaments four times: from 1987 to 1991, before the event became a pay-per-view, and once after in 1997. In 1994, it hosted the Royal Rumble. On April 25, 1999, the arena was home to the first WWF Backlash pay-per-view event; the final edition of the event was hosted there as well on April 26, 2009.[13] In December 2005 the arena hosted WWE Armageddon. The January 13, 2014 edition of WWE Raw was filmed at the arena. WWE Smackdown filmed two shows at the arena in 2015, on April 21 and August 25.

Frank Sinatra performed 10 times at the then-Providence Civic Center. His first was to a sold-out crowd including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for his Variety Club International Tour on April 15, 1974 and the last on October 3, 1992. During many of Sinatra's performances, Rhode Island State Police would attend, searching for organized crime members in the audience. During a 1979 appearance in Providence, Mayor Buddy Cianci named Sinatra an honorary fire chief, complete with a helmet bearing the name "F. SINATRA" with nickname "Ol' Blue Eyes" beneath.

Led Zeppelin's concert at the Civic Center on July 21, 1973 preceded three nights of sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City, which concluded their 1973 tour. The New York shows were recorded for the film The Song Remains the Same and its accompanying soundtrack album, released in October 1976.

The Grateful Dead recorded half of their live album, entitled Dick's Picks Volume 12, here on June 26, 1974.

Former Beatle George Harrison held a concert here on December 11, 1974, during his "Dark Horse Tour" (so called because it occurred near the launch of Harrison's Dark Horse Records). Performers included Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Jim Keltner, and Billy Preston. At one point in the show, a girl tried to climb onstage, but was stopped and assaulted by police; Harrison stopped mid-song and shouted "Krishna! Krishna!".

Some of the songs on the Eric Clapton album E. C. Was Here were recorded live at the Civic Center, on June 25, 1975.

The arena played host to The Rolling Thunder Revue Tour on November 4, 1975, headed by Bob Dylan.

David Bowie's concert on May 5, 1978 was one of three recorded for his live album Stage.

The Kinks recorded much of their live album and video, One for the Road at the Civic Center September 23, 1979.

Heavy metal band Metallica has made four performances at The Civic Center on April 23, 1986, March 29, 1989, February 29, 1992, and April 5, 1997.[14]

Mayor Buddy Cianci cancelled a concert by the Who in 1979 due to safety concerns after a stampede by fans at the doors of the Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum resulted in 11 deaths. In February 2013, the Who returned and the since-renamed Dunkin' Donuts Center, and offered free tickets to anyone who still had their tickets to the cancelled concert 34 years earlier.

The Jacksons performed at Providence Civic Center on August 16, 1981, during their Triumph Tour.

Roger Waters opened his Radio K.A.O.S. tour at the Civic Center on August 14, 1987. Two months later, the Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour brought Waters' former band, Pink Floyd, to the Civic Center for two nights, October 16–17, 1987.

Phish recorded Live Phish Volume 20 on December 29, 1994, Live Phish 04.04.98 and Live Phish 04.05.98 on April 4–5, 1998.

On October 30–31, 2001, U2 played back to back sell-out concerts on their Elevation Tour, one month after the tragedy of September 11 attacks. On the second night, the band celebrated drummer Larry Mullen, Jr.'s 40th birthday, with the capacity crowd singing "Happy Birthday", with Bono.

Journey, along with Canadian rock band Loverboy, and Pat Benatar featuring Neil Giraldo, performed at the arena on September 29, 2012.

During a live performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on May 4, 2014, nine female performers were sent to the hospital after a high wire snapped while they were attempting a routine where they hang by their hair high above the floor. The performers fell from between 25 and 40 feet to the ground, but none suffered life-threatening injuries.[15]



  1. ^ a b Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  2. ^ "75th Anniversary Flash Timleine". Dimeo Construction. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Providence Civic Center and Dunkin' Donuts Seal a Sweet Deal" (Press release). Dunkin Donuts Incorporated. June 14, 2001. Archived from the original on March 21, 2006. Retrieved September 20, 2005. 
  4. ^ Parker, Paul Edward (August 31, 2008). "Renovations a Slam Dunk". The Providence Journal. p. F1. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ Grimaldi, Paul (March 21, 2010). "'Impressed? Yes'". The Providence Journal. p. A1. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  6. ^ "ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments". Varsity Pride. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  7. ^ "1978 ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments". Varsity Pride. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  8. ^ "1979 ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments". Varsity Pride. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ "1978-79 Independent Season Summary". Sports-Reference. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ Associated Press (November 17, 1980). "Tea Men Are Leaving N.E. for New Home in Florida". The Day (New London). p. 28. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  11. ^ "April 10, 1982 – Jacksonville Tea Men vs. New York Cosmos". Fun While It Lasted. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Attendance Project: NASL Indoor". Kenn Blog. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  13. ^ "WWE News: Backlash 2009 Location, SD Rating, Press Release". 411 Mania. May 12, 2008. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Metallica Rhode Island". setlistFM. 
  15. ^ Saffir, Doug; Burgess, Robert (May 4, 2014). "Performers Hurt in Platform Collapse at Providence Circus". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
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