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Petersen Events Center
"The Pete"
Petersen Events Center 1a.jpg
Location 3719 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Broke ground June 15, 2000
Opened April 27, 2002
Owner University of Pittsburgh
Operator SMG Facility Management
Surface Hardwood Basketball Court
Construction cost $119 million
Architect Apostolou Associates
Rosser International of Atlanta
Capacity 12,508
Pittsburgh Panthers (NCAA) (2002-Present)
Pittsburgh Xplosion (CBA) (2006-2008)

Coordinates: 40°26′38″N 79°57′44″W / 40.443777°N 79.962274°W / 40.443777; -79.962274

The John M. and Gertrude E. Petersen Events Center (more commonly known as The Petersen Events Center or "The Pete") is a 12,508-seat multi-purpose arena on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It hosts the men's and women's Pitt Panthers basketball teams. The arena is named for philanthropists John Petersen and his wife Gertrude, who donated $10 million for its construction.[1] John Petersen, a Pitt alumnus, is a native of nearby Erie, Pennsylvania and is the retired President and CEO of Erie Insurance Group.



The arena opened in 2002 on part of the former site of Pitt Stadium, which housed the university's football team from 1925 - 1999. The Pitt men's and women's basketball programs make their home here, previously residing in Fitzgerald Field House. The new building, due to its larger capacity, also meant that Pitt no longer had to play certain games or hold graduation ceremonies at the Civic Arena.

The Petersen Events Center's plaza is also the site of one of the campus' Panther statues and the former site of Pitt Stadium. The University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine, Scaife Hall, and the Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower can be seen reflected in the Pete's glass facade.

Its first event was a Counting Crows concert. For concerts the Center seats 9,000 for end-stage shows, 14,763 for center-stage shows. The first official women's basketball game at the Pete was 90-51 win over Robert Morris University on November 22nd, 2002. The first official men's basketball game at the Pete was an 82-67 win over Duquesne University on November 23rd, 2002. Since its creation through the end of the 2009-10 season, the Pitt men's basketball team has compiled a record of 132-11 (.923) at the Pete, including a 7-0 record against teams ranked in the top five. Pitt broke the 100 win mark on November 22, 2008 with a 86-60 win over Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

In 2006, the Pittsburgh Xplosion, a professional basketball team in the Continental Basketball Association, played its first game at the arena. The team folded just prior to the start of the 2008-09 season.[1]


With 430,000 total square feet, the Pete seats 12,508 for basketball and 9,000 for end stage concerts. The arena features 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2) of lobby space with 90-foot (27 m) high ceilings, 18 luxury suites, including five courtside luxury suites (the only college arena with courtside suites) and a 193-seat SuperSuite.[2]

Student section

The early minutes of a game against number one ranked UConn in 2009. A portion of the Oakland Zoo can be seen at the bottom. Pitt won the nationally televised game 70-60.

The section known as the Oakland Zoo is composed of the sections across from the team benches and next to the court. The name comes from Oakland, the neighborhood where Pitt's campus resides. The students in the Zoo wear gold T-shirts with the words "Oakland Zoo" in some way, shape or form across the front. This layout and unity is a large factor in why the Pete is such a tough place to play for opposing teams. In fact, Pitt has lost only one home non-conference game since the Panthers moved into the Pete.[3]

In 2006, Sports Illustrated surveyed the Big East Conference's basketball players, and the Pete was named the "Toughest Place to Play," with specific players mentioning the Oakland Zoo and the fans' creativity. In 2007, "The Pete" hosted first and second round games of the NCAA Women's Division I Tournament.

Other uses

An inside view of the arena.

The Petersen Events Center serves as more than just the home court of the Panthers basketball teams. Located within the facility is a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) Baierl Student Recreation Center featuring four racquetball courts, two squash courts, Cybex weight machines, a free weight area, aerobics practice room, martial arts room, health assessment area, and aerobic area with treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical and Stairmaster machines and four plasma TVs.

In addition, the McCarl Panthers Hall of Champions, which pays homage to and displays memorabilia from past Pitt athletics achievements, and the official Pittsburgh Panthers Team Store are located in the main lobby of the Pete. [4]

The arena was also one of the home courts for the Pittsburgh Xplosion Continental Basketball Association team, the city's only professional basketball squad at the time, before it folded prior to the 2008-09 season.

Also, a food court is located within the Pete and is available to students and others during the weekdays in addition to when events are being hosted within the arena.[5]

The arena also features and auxiliary practice basketball facility, athletic training, office and media facilities.

The Pete also hosts the University's commencement ceremony.

Notable events


The Pete also hosts Pitt's graduation ceremonies

External links


Preceded by
Sennott Square
University of Pittsburgh Buildings
Petersen Events Center

Constructed: 2002
Succeeded by
Pennsylvania Hall
Preceded by
Fitzgerald Field House
Home of the
University of Pittsburgh Basketball
Petersen Events Center

2002 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Payne Whitney Gymnasium
Host of the Jeopardy! College Championship
Succeeded by
RBC Center


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