Aerial view of arena
|Former names||USF Sun Dome (1980–2018)|
|Location||12499 USF Bull Run Dr|
Tampa, FL 33617
|Owner||University of South Florida|
|Operator||Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties|
|Surface||QuickLock Portable Floor (northern hard maple)|
|Opened||November 29, 1980|
|Construction cost||$12 million|
($50.6 million in 2019 dollars)
|Architect||Barger + Dean Architects, Inc.|
|South Florida Bulls men's basketball (1980–2011, 2012-present) |
South Florida Bulls women's basketball (1980-2011, 2012-present)
South Florida Bulls volleyball (1995-present)
The Yuengling Center, formerly known as the USF Sun Dome, is a multi-purpose facility on the campus of the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, Florida. It was built, starting in 1977 and was completed on November 29, 1980. It is located in USF's Athletics District on the southeast side of campus and is home to the men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams, as well as USF's commencement ceremonies. The center hosts approximately 300 different events each year, including sporting events, concerts, home and garden shows, trade shows, religious services and conventions, ethnic festivals, rodeos, bull riding competitions, youth sports camps, professional wrestling, boxing, taekwondo tournaments, gymnastics and cheerleading competitions, commencement ceremonies, lectures and political rallies among other corporate, community and university events.
In June 2018, USF signed a 10-year naming rights deal with brewer D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc., which runs a brewery near the college campus. The Sun Dome was officially rechristened as the Yuengling Center on July 1, 2018.
Before the Yuengling Center, USF's basketball teams played at various locations on and off campus. The basketball teams first played at Curtis Hixon Hall in downtown Tampa, and later split their home schedule between Curtis Hixon Hall, the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg, Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds, and the USF Gymnasium on campus, among others.
By 1975, both the University of South Florida and the University of Florida in Gainesville had decided to build new on-campus indoor sports facilities. The two schools pooled their resources and shared the cost of a basic arena design to stretch limited state funding. The "core unit" of the Sun Dome and UF's O'Connell Center were nearly identical, and they each featured a flexible, inflatable roof made of Teflon and supported by a system of blowers. However, the O'Connell Center included facilities for other sports around the main arena while the Sun Dome as originally built did not. These were added in later expansions.
The $12 million Sun Dome broke ground in November 1977 on formerly open land on the southeast side of campus near Fowler Avenue. Construction was slowed on both the Sun Dome and the O'Connell Center when cracks appeared in precast concrete support beams. The problems were eventually fixed, and the sister facilities were completed within a few weeks of each other in late 1980 – the Sun Dome in November and the O'Connell Center in December.
The Yuengling Center has undergone several minor expansions and alterations over the years along with two major renovations:
- In 2000, the original inflatable roof was replaced with a more conventional hard dome and additional facilities for USF indoor sports programs were added around the main arena at a cost of about $8 million (about $11.9 million in 2019 dollars).
- In 2011, USF began a major renovation of the Yuengling Center at a cost of $35.6 million ($40.5 million in 2019 dollars). Among other interior improvements, this renovation reconfigured the seating area to make the facility ADA compliant and added a large center hung scoreboard, a team store, and a new concourse level with concessions and restrooms. On the outside, original exterior concrete was repaired, bricks were added to some portions of the façade, and the entrance gates were improved. This project was completed in April 2012.
In addition to USF sporting events, the Yuengling Center hosts USF commencement ceremonies along with many concerts, shows, and special events over the years. It has been the site of live events by World Wrestling Federation, such as Saturday Night's Main Event IV in December 1985 and Saturday Night's Main Event XIX December 1988, and the Royal Rumble (1995). The UFC also made their debut in the arena in February 2009 with UFC Fight Night: Lauzon vs Stephens. Bellator Fighting Championships has also held a number of events at the Yuengling Center.
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