Frank Erwin Center

The Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center (commonly known as Frank Erwin Center or UT Erwin Center and originally Special Events Center) is a 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).

Frank Erwin Center
The Drum, The Superdrum
Full nameFrank C. Erwin Jr. Special Events Center
Former namesSpecial Events Center (1977–1980)
Address1701 Red River Street
LocationAustin, Texas
Coordinates30.276958°N 97.732216°W / 30.276958; -97.732216
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
Construction cost$34 million (original)
($141 million in 2018 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–present)
Austin Wranglers (AFL/af2) (2004–2008)

The multi-purpose facility hosts entertainment events and is the home court for the UT men's and women's basketball programs. The Erwin Center is located at the southeastern corner of the UT central campus and is bounded on the east by Interstate 35.


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.

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 and relocation of the Frank Erwin Center,[6] preferably on the University of Texas at Austin campus. A discussed location is the parking lots south of Mike A. Myers Soccer Stadium.


In 2018, it was announced that Oak View Group and the University of Texas had agreed to build a new $338 million dollar arena for the Texas Longhorns basketball program to replace the Frank Erwin Center.[7][8] The new arena will be named the Moody Center after the Moody Foundation who is contributing $130 million towards the construction. Construction now underway, the groundbreaking ceremony took place just south of Mike A. Myers Soccer Stadium on December 3, 2019 with completion expected to occur in 2022.[9]


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 Ariana Grande, KISS, U2, Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, Paul McCartney, Def Leppard, Garth Brooks, Van Halen, Rush, AC/DC, Prince, Rod Stewart, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Radiohead, 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.

Basketball Attendance Record

See also


  1. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  2. "Arenas". Walter P Moore. Archived from the original on July 8, 2000. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  3. "Celebrating 35 Years". Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  4. "About the Erwin Center". 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. Editors (2019-11-11). "New University of Texas Arena to be Named Moody Center". Arena Digest. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  10. "2019-20 Texas Longhorns Men's Basketball Fact Book" (PDF). Texas Sports. pp. 121–122. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  11. "2018-19 Texas Longhorns Women's Basketball Fact Book" (PDF). Texas Sports. pp. 98–99. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
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