Frank Erwin Center

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Frank Erwin Center
The Drum, The Superdrum
Frank Erwin Center.png
Erwin center 2005.jpg
Full name Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Special Events Center
Former names Special Events Center (1977-1980)
Location 1701 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78701-1438
Coordinates 30°16′37″N 97°43′56″W / 30.276958°N 97.732216°W / 30.276958; -97.732216Coordinates: 30°16′37″N 97°43′56″W / 30.276958°N 97.732216°W / 30.276958; -97.732216
Owner University of Texas at Austin
Operator University of Texas at Austin
Capacity 17,900 (center stage) (concert)
16,540 (basketball, 2013-present)
16,734 (basketball, 2009-2013)
16,755 (basketball, 2004-2009)
16,837 (basketball, 2003-2004)
16,079 (basketball, 2002-2003)
16,175 (basketball, 1995-2002)
16,231 (basketball, 1977-1995)
7,820 (theatre)
Record attendance John Denver 17,829
Surface Terrazzo Floor/Portable basketball floor/Portable turf
Broke ground August 1974
Opened November 29, 1977
Renovated 2001
Expanded 2003
Construction cost $34 million (original)
($132 million in 2014 dollars[1])
$55 million (renovations/expansion)
Architect Wilson, Crain & Anderson

Heery International (renovations/expansion)
Structural engineer Walter P Moore[2]
General contractor H.A. Lott Inc.
Texas Longhorns (NCAA) (1977–present)
Austin Wranglers (AFL)/(af2) (2004–2008)

The Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Special Events Center, commonly known as Frank Erwin Center or UT Erwin Center, is a multipurpose arena on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. 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). The multipurpose facility hosts entertainment events and is the home court for the UT men's and women's basketball programs.


The center, intended to replace Gregory Gymnasium, cost $34 million to build in 1977. The first event to play at the Center was a UT basketball game which occurred on November 29, 1977.[3] UT began renovations of the center in 2001 and finished in 2003. Renovations included: Life safety upgrades, new concession stands and restrooms, elevator modernizations, addition of 28 suites, new scoreboard and indoor electronic video signs, addition of outdoor electronic video signs, and Lone Star Room (reception hall) renovations.

The building is named for former UT Board of Regents member Frank Erwin,[4] who attended the University of Texas and was a member of the same fraternity, Kappa Sigma, as several other prominent alumni who have had buildings at the University named after them (such as Beauford Jester, Denton Cooley, William Hogg, and Harry Huntt Ransom). Originally known as the Special Events Center, the facility was renamed in 1980 to honor Erwin, who had died that same year.


A two-level layout (the lower arena and upper mezzanine) accommodates up to 16,755 spectators. The outer 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.

Current use[edit]

Located right next to downtown Austin, Texas, The Erwin Center is generally accepted to be Austin's current premier venue for large public and private events. The center holds many diverse events ranging from concerts to wrestling events and private banquets. The Erwin Center also hosts the semifinals and finals of the University Interscholastic League boys' and girls' basketball playoffs in all five classifications. The Erwin Center hosted the United States vs. Spain quarterfinal matches for the 2011 Davis Cup World Group. The Dell Medical Center, a $334 million proposed 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.[5]

Frank Erwin Center during a basketball game

Former Uses[edit]

On Wednesday September 15, 2010, it played host to UFC Fight Night: Marquardt vs. Palhares.

On Thursday May 24 and Friday May 25 of 2012, it played host to the Austin audition stages in the second season of the Fox singer search programme The X Factor.

Paul McCartney played there for two nights on 22 May 2013 and on 23 May 2013 as part of his Out There! Tour.


  1. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  2. ^ "Arenas". Walter P Moore. Archived from the original on July 8, 2000. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ "About the Erwin Center". University of Texas. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ "University of Texas Facilities". Texas Sports. Retrieved November 10, 2006. 
  5. ^ "Dell Medical School Construction Plans Unveiled". University of Texas. May 8, 2013. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 

External links[edit]