Frank Erwin Center

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Frank Erwin Center
The Drum
Frank Erwin Center.png
Erwin center 2005.jpg
Full nameFrank C. Erwin Jr. Special Events Center
Former namesSpecial Events Center
Address1701 Red River Street
LocationAustin, Texas
Coordinates30°16′37″N 97°43′56″W / 30.2770°N 97.7322°W / 30.2770; -97.7322Coordinates: 30°16′37″N 97°43′56″W / 30.2770°N 97.7322°W / 30.2770; -97.7322
OwnerUniversity of Texas at Austin
OperatorUniversity of Texas at Austin
Capacity17,900 (center stage) (concert)
16,540 (basketball, 2013-present)
7,820 (theatre)
Record attendanceJohn Denver 17,829
SurfaceTerrazzo floor/portable basketball floor/portable turf
Broke groundAugust 1974
OpenedNovember 29, 1977
ClosedMay 21, 2022
Construction cost$34 million (original)
($152 million in 2021 dollars[1])
$55 million (renovations/expansion)
ArchitectWilson, Crain & Anderson

Heery International (renovations/expansion)
Structural engineerWalter P Moore[2]
General contractorH.A. Lott Inc.
Texas Longhorns (NCAA) (1977–2022)
Austin Wranglers (AFL/af2) (2004–2008)

The Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center (commonly known as Frank Erwin Center or UT Erwin Center and originally Special Events Center) is an inactive multi-purpose arena located on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas. It is also sometimes referred to as "The Drum" or "The Superdrum", owing to its round, drum-like appearance from outside (not to be confused with Big Bertha, the large bass drum used by the University of Texas marching band).

The multi-purpose facility hosted entertainment events and was the home court for the Texas Longhorns men's and women's basketball programs until 2022, when it was replaced by the Moody Center. The Erwin Center is located at the southeastern corner of the UT central campus and is bounded on the east by Interstate 35.


Frank Erwin Center during a basketball game

Built to replace Gregory Gymnasium as the men's and women's basketball teams' home arena, the Special Events Center was completed in 1977 for a total cost of $34 million. The Texas men's basketball team opened the events center on November 29, 1977, with an 83–76 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners.[3] UT undertook extensive renovations of the facility from 2001 to 2003 at a cost of $55 million, adding, among other things, new and renovated seating, new video and sound systems, new lighting, and 28 suites.[4]

The building is named for former UT Board of Regents member Frank Erwin, who as a regent was very controversial due to his hostility towards the burgeoning on-campus, political counterculture movement of the late 1960s and was directly involved in the arrest of protesting students and the purging of what he deemed as "unpatriotic" faculty.[5] Originally known as the Special Events Center, the facility was renamed in 1980 to honor Erwin, who died that same year.

A two-level layout (the lower arena and upper mezzanine) accommodates up to 16,540 spectators for basketball games and up to 17,900 spectators for concerts. The inner ring of the arena averages around 20 rows deep, while the mezzanine is slightly deeper at around 24 rows. The size of the arena's inner ring is highly dependent on the event being hosted.

Erwin Center, Set Up for A Concert, April 2016


The Dell Medical Center, a $334 million teaching hospital for the university, has identified the parking lot and Waller Creek area directly across from the Frank Erwin Center as Phase I of construction, with later phases calling for the demolition of the Frank Erwin Center.[6]

In 2018, it was announced that Oak View Group and the University of Texas had agreed to build a new $338 million arena for the Texas Longhorns basketball programs to replace the Frank Erwin Center.[7][8] The new arena is named the Moody Center after the Moody Foundation, who donated $130 million to Texas Athletics. A groundbreaking ceremony took place just south of Mike A. Myers Soccer Stadium on December 3, 2019, and completed in 2022.[9] Moody Center opened on April 20, 2022, with plans to close the Frank Erwin Center in May 2022.[10][11] UT's final graduation ceremonies at the Erwin Center took place on May 20–21, 2022 and was the last scheduled event to be held there.[12]


Located adjacent to downtown Austin, The Erwin Center is generally accepted to be Austin's current premier venue for large public and private events. The center holds many events such as concerts, professional wrestling events, bull riding and private banquets.

The arena has hosted three UFC mixed martial events: UFC Fight Night: Marquardt vs. Palhares in 2010, UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Swanson in 2014, and UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Medeiros in 2018.

Music artists such as Taylor Swift, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Lana Del Rey, Ariana Grande, KISS, U2, Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, Paul McCartney, Def Leppard, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Van Halen, Rush, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Prince, Guns N' Roses, Rod Stewart, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Radiohead, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and many others have performed at the arena.

The Erwin Center hosted the semifinals and finals of the University Interscholastic League boys' and girls' basketball playoffs in all five classifications until 2015, when the playoffs moved to San Antonio.

The arena also hosts both UT commencement ceremonies and various local high school graduations.[13]

Basketball attendance record[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  2. ^ "Arenas". Walter P Moore. Archived from the original on July 8, 2000. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  3. ^ "Celebrating 35 Years". Archived from the original on May 5, 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  4. ^ "About the Erwin Center". Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  5. ^ "Erwin, Frank Craig Jr. – Texas State Historical Association". Texas Sports. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  6. ^ "Dell Medical School Construction Plans Unveiled". University of Texas. May 8, 2013. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  7. ^ Daniel, Cody (December 20, 2018). "The University of Texas, Oak View Group agree to build 'world-class' on-campus arena". Burnt Orange Nation. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  8. ^ Maas, Jimmy (December 20, 2018). "UT Regents Approve Arena Proposal To Replace Frank Erwin Center". KUT. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  9. ^ "New University of Texas Arena to be Named Moody Center". Arena Digest. November 11, 2019. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  10. ^ Gates, Billy (April 4, 2022). "Moody Center set for its grand opening, ribbon-cutting ceremony". KXAN. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  11. ^ "The history and favorite memories: The Frank Erwin Center to close in May after 45 years". Austin-American Statesman. March 8, 2022. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  12. ^ "2022 Commencement Schedule". University of Texas. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  13. ^ Munoz, Gabrielle. "Graduation 2019: Ceremony schedule for Austin-area schools and UT". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 2022-05-20.
  14. ^ "2019-20 Texas Longhorns Men's Basketball Fact Book" (PDF). Texas Sports. pp. 121–122. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  15. ^ "2018-19 Texas Longhorns Women's Basketball Fact Book" (PDF). Texas Sports. pp. 98–99. Retrieved December 5, 2019.

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