John Paul Jones Arena
|Location||295 Massie Road|
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
|Owner||University of Virginia|
*End stage 180°: 12,467
*End stage 270°: 14,075
*End stage 360°: 15,177
*Center stage: 15,405
*Theatre: 7,352 
(11/12/06 vs. Arizona)
|Broke ground||May 30, 2003|
|Opened||August 1, 2006|
|Construction cost||$131 million|
($184 million in 2020 dollars)
|Structural engineer||Ellerbe Becket|
|General contractor||Barton Malow|
(Men's & Women's Basketball)
John Paul Jones Arena, or JPJ, is a multi-purpose arena owned by the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since November 2006, it serves as the home to the Virginia Cavaliers men's and women's basketball teams, as well as for concerts and other events. With seating for 14,593 fans (nearly twice the capacity of its predecessor, University Hall) John Paul Jones Arena is the largest indoor arena in Virginia and the biggest Atlantic Coast Conference basketball arena located outside of large metropolitan areas.[a] Sports Illustrated named John Paul Jones Arena the best new college basketball arena of the 2000s.
Virginia men's basketball is 206–46 (.817) at John Paul Jones Arena as of March 2021. The Cavaliers have fared even better, 167–30 (.848), at JPJ during the Tony Bennett era. Virginia fans in the arena are known for cheering loudly for defensive stands and for providing what Rick Pitino, who went winless in three attempts at JPJ, called "one of the best home court advantages [he's] ever seen" where Wahoo fans seem like they are "on top of you." JPJ opened for basketball on November 12, 2006 as Virginia defeated No. 10 ranked Arizona, 93–90, and handed Lute Olson a season-opening loss in his final season.
Paul Tudor Jones, who earned a B.A. in Economics from UVA in 1976, donated $35 million of his personal funds for the construction of the arena. Granted naming rights in exchange for the donation, he opted to name the arena in honor of his father, John Paul Jones, a 1948 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. The arena is sometimes incorrectly assumed to be named for either John Paul Jones, the founder of the United States Navy, or John Paul Jones, the bassist for the English rock band Led Zeppelin.
The arena plays host to not only basketball games, but a wide variety of concerts, performances and other events; for example, its opening season in 2006 included events such as the Charlottesville-originated Dave Matthews Band, as well as Cirque du Soleil, Larry the Cable Guy, The Wiggles, Disney on Ice & WWE Monday Night Raw.
The arena also houses office space for SMG staff, the UVa athletics media relations department, video services and dining services. It also features coaches' offices, practice facilities and an extensive sports medicine facility for men's and women's basketball teams.
The arena's first event was Cirque du Soleil's Delirium on Tuesday, August 1, 2006, but the official Grand Opening event was a two-night tour-ending stand by Charlottesville natives Dave Matthews Band, September 22–23, 2006. An "open house" event for the local community was conducted on July 22, 2006.
The University of Virginia opened the John Paul Jones Arena on November 12, 2006 with a pair of victories. The Virginia women's basketball team defeated Old Dominion University 92–72 in the afternoon. Later that evening in front of a capacity crowd of 15,219, the Virginia men's basketball team defeated No. 10 ranked Arizona 93–90, rallying from a 19-point first-half deficit. Both games included elaborate pre-game festivities that featured a fireworks display and the Cavalier mascot rappelling from the rafters. Michael Buffer was introduced to announce the Virginia starting lineup prior to the men's game.
On March 1, 2007, the men's basketball team defeated Virginia Tech 69–56, clinching a share of first place in the final ACC regular season standings for the 2006–2007 season. The victory marked the school-record 16th home win of the season, and the Cavaliers finished 16–1 for the season in their new arena. Furthermore, Virginia went an undefeated 8–0 in league games at home for the first time since the Hoos went 7–0 at home in 1982. Also at this game, the fans in attendance said goodbye to two fourth-year players, J. R. Reynolds and Jason Cain, both of whom had contributed to the Virginia basketball program.
On February 28, 2013, Virginia upset No. 3 Duke which led to thousands of fans rushing the court. The 2012–2013 Cavaliers set a school record with 18 regular season home wins, finishing with a home record of 18–1.
On March 1, 2014, Virginia (then ranked No. 12) beat No. 4 Syracuse at JPJ to win the ACC regular season title outright (i.e., with no ties) for the first time since the 1980–81 season. This win also set two school records: Virginia's first season with 16 conference wins, and 18 consecutive home conference wins (a streak which began in the previous season). The same day, the Virginia student section, the "Hoo Crew," won the 2014 Naismith Student Section of the Year award. It was the final home game for future NBA players Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell, as well as former walk-on player Thomas Rogers; Rogers' three-point field goal at the end of the game, and the subsequent reaction by the crowd and team, were particularly noted by media and the Cavalier fanbase.
On December 21, 2014, Virginia tied an NCAA record in JPJ by only allowing Harvard one field goal in the first half of a game; Virginia went on to win 76–27 against the Crimson, a quality team which started the season ranked AP No. 25 and which recovered to win 22 games and be a fellow participant in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
JPJ is known as harboring one of the best basketball home-court advantages and crowd noise in the Atlantic Coast Conference and nationwide. Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino of Louisville (and Kentucky) said on the eve of his first game at JPJ in 2015 that he'd heard Virginia has "one of the best arenas in the ACC" and he was "looking forward to seeing it." After his first visit, a five-point victory for No. 3 Virginia against No. 9 Louisville, Pitino lamented that at JPJ the UVA crowd is "on top of you." Pitino would later add to his praise, "[At UVA] they all stand up with 10 seconds to go [on the shot clock], cheering their team on defensively. I have not seen that in my 40 years of college basketball.”
On two occasions at JPJ, Virginia teams under Tony Bennett and Joanne Boyle defeated strong competition by the exact score of 76–27, a margin of 49 points and nearly a tripling of the opponent's scoring. On December 20, 2014, No. 6 ranked UVA defeated an NCAA Tournament bound Harvard team 76–27. Harvard, coached by Tommy Amaker, had been ranked in the AP Top 25 just one month prior. Barely two years later on January 26, 2017, the unranked UVA women's team would upset No. 19 Virginia Tech, coached by Kenny Brooks, by an identical score of 76–27. In both cases, the Cavaliers' defensive style forced their highly rated opponents to take many outside shots... of which they made very few. Harvard (7–1) shot 16% — 8 for 50 — on field goals and 18% on three-point field goals. The No. 19 Hokies (16–3) made 18% of field goals and shot 7% — 2 for 29 — on three-point field goal attempts.
On August 14, 2006, WWE presented Monday Night Raw at the arena. This was the first time WWE had presented in Charlottesville, Virginia. Before John Paul Jones Arena was built, Charlottesville was not equipped to handle the masses of WWE fans.
On October 25, 2008, Jay-Z played a concert at the arena, making him the first hip-hop act to play there.
On October 17, 2009, Metallica played their "World Magnetic" tour at the arena, supported by Lamb of God and Gojira. The arena became the site of the disappearance of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Dana Harrington from the concert. She mysteriously left the arena in search of a restroom, despite 18 female restrooms being provided inside the secured arena. A "no return on exit" policy was enforced. Harrington’s skeletonized body was found at Anchorage Farm, Albemarle County on January 26, 2010. Jesse Matthew was later charged with Harrington's (and Hannah Graham's) abduction and murder, and he pled guilty to the crimes in exchange for life in prison in March 2016.
On December 5, 2009, Phish played the final show of their 2009 Fall Tour at the arena. At the beginning of a first set "Ya Mar", an erratic fan ran on stage fully naked. He hugged guitarist Trey Anastasio and kissed him on the cheek. He made three laps around the stage before finally being run down by security. Anastasio proceeded by saying, "Let's hear it for the naked guy, pick him up, that took a lot of balls." Later on, the lyrics of "Ya Mar" stated "he was a naked pa", and "Run like an Antelope" was changed to "Run like a Naked Guy, out of control".
In September 2010, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) brought their Built Ford Tough Series tour to JPJ Arena; prior to this, the arena had hosted an event on the PBR's Enterprise Tour (which was one of the PBR's minor league tours that was eventually combined with the other minor league tours to create the Touring Pro Division in 2010).[needs update]
On June 23, 2015, Paul McCartney played a sold-out show at John Paul Jones Arena as part of his 2015 Out There tour. Two days later, the arena hosted a rally to welcome home the 2015 Virginia Cavaliers baseball team following their College World Series championship.
On April 13, 2019, John Paul Jones Arena hosted Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live.
On September 13, 2019, the Virginia Men's Basketball team got their 2019 NCAA Tournament championship rings at John Paul Jones Arena. Fans got to see the stars of the team and also got to see the raising of the 2019 NCAA Tournament National Champions banner.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Paul Jones Arena.|
- John Paul Jones Arena Official Website
- Virginia Athletics Foundation website on the project
- SMG - Private management firm that runs the arena and books events
- VMDO's Special John Paul Jones Arena Web Section
- Photo Tour of John Paul Jones Arena