West entrance in December 2011
|Full name||EagleBank Arena at
George Mason University
|Former names||Patriot Center (1985–2015)|
|Location||4500 Patriot Circle
Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.
|Owner||George Mason University|
|Operator||Monumental Sports & Entertainment|
|Opened||October 4, 1985
31 years ago
|Construction cost||$16 million
($35.2 million in 2016 dollars)
|George Mason Patriots (NCAA)
Washington Commandos (AFL) (1990)
The EagleBank Arena (originally the Patriot Center) is a 10,000-seat arena in the eastern United States, on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb southwest of Washington, D.C.
Opened 31 years ago in 1985, it is the home of Patriot men's & women's basketball, and is a venue for concerts and family shows, with 17,000 square feet (1,600 m2) of space. EagleBank Arena has attracted 9.6 million people to over 2,958 events to GMU, which has over 30,000 students.
In 2010, the Patriot Center was ranked No. 7 nationwide and No. 12 worldwide according to ticket sales for venues with capacities between 10,001 and 15,000 by trade publication Venues Today. Also in 2010, the Patriot Center was ranked No. 8 nationwide and No. 18 worldwide according to top grossing venues with a capacity between 10,001 and 15,000 by Billboard magazine.
The Patriot Center is the first university venue to be managed by a private company, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, who also owns and manages Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
The first use of the Patriot Center was GMU's graduation ceremonies in May 1985. The official opening of the arena was on October 4, 1985, when the New York Knicks played the Washington Bullets in a pre-season game, debuting the first game of future Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Patrick Ewing. Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs also made his first professional appearance.
In 1990, the NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championships were held at the Patriot Center. In 1986, the Patriot Center hosted the first men’s CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) Tournament and hosted its first women’s CAA Tournament in 2005. The Patriots have amassed an overall record of 220–92 at the Patriot Center. The Patriots are also 85–10 in the Patriot Center against Colonial Athletic Association opponents. During the 2010–2011 men's NCAA basketball season, the Patriots amassed a perfect 13–0 home record, which was the second time that occurred in three seasons.
The arena underwent a $10 million renovation, completed in 2009, that added new concession stands, hospitality area, locker rooms and bathrooms, and an improved main concourse.
From its opening, the Patriot Center was managed by Abe Pollin's Washington Sports, later renamed to Washington Sports & Entertainment. In May 1999, Pollin sold 40% of Washington Sports to a partnership led by Ted Leonsis as part of a $200 million deal that also saw Leonsis purchase the Washington Capitals hockey team. Leonsis' group increased their ownership of Washington Sports to 44% when they bought out minority owner Arnold Heft in January 2000.
Following Pollin's death in 2009, Leonsis purchased the rest of WSE from Pollin's heirs in 2010, and consolidated Washington Sports & Entertainment with his own Lincoln Holdings company to form Monumental Sports & Entertainment. Management of the Patriot Center passed to this successor company.
Renovations and recent events
On February 4, 2012, GMU men’s basketball debuted a new center court scoreboard and set an attendance record against Old Dominion University on homecoming, which then was reached again against James Madison University; both games were won by double digits. The Patriot Center also graduates many students of nearby Northern Virginia high schools.
Men's Basketball Game Attendance - 9,900 on February 4, 2012 vs Old Dominion University
Concert Attendance - Phish - 10,356
Grossing Concert - Bruce Springsteen in 2005, $573,885
Grossing Family Show - The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus in 2009, $1.86 million
- George Mason Timeline
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- Canfora, Jason La (2000-01-12). "Caps' Owners Buy Heft's WSE Stake". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
- Heath, Thomas (2010-04-28). "Ted Leonsis reaches deal to buy Washington Wizards from Pollin family". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
- El-Bashir, Tarik; Heath, Thomas (2010-06-11). "Ted Leonsis takes control of the Washington Wizards". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
- "What's New at the Patriot Center". George Mason Athletics. 2012-01-27. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
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