The 15 LARGEST Basketball Arenas on Earth

Saitama Super Arena

Basketball season is officially underway, errr, it was supposed to be anyways. The NBA lockout has taken everything by storm. Worst of all, there is not even a hint of hope in the voices of reporters that the owners and the players are even close. There are reports emerging that things are getting worse. ESPN has come out with sources stating that 50 or more players have participated in conference calls with an antitrust lawyer to discuss possible desertification of the Players Union. All you need to know is that’s not good for things.

Up to this point I would say that this has been a pretty negative article, but that is not my intentions. To honor basketball from all over the world, both professional and amateur, I present to you the 15 largest basketball arenas on planet earth!

15. Quicken Loans Arena: 20,562­­­Quicken Loans Arena

  • Home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, 6th largest NBA arena.
  • Construction cost: $100 million in 1992 ($148 million in 2011 dollars)
  • Opened in October of 1994.
  • Also home to the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League (AHL), the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League (AFL), basketball tournaments for the Mid-American Conference, and newly the Cleveland Crush of the Lingerie Football League (LFL).

14. Rose Garden: 20,630Rose Garden

  • Home to the Portland Trail Blazers, 5th largest NBA arena.
  • Construction cost: $262 million in 1993 ($378 million in 2011 dollars)
  • Opened in October of 1995.
  • Also home to the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL), and the University of Portland men’s basketball team.
  • Renovations and changes since construction have seen the capacity of the arena as high as 21,538 seats.

13. Bank Atlantic Center: 20,737Bank Atlantic Center

  • Home to the Miami Majesty (Formerly Florida Pit Bulls) of the American Basketball Association
  • Construction cost: $185 million in 1996 ($249 million in 2011 dollars)
  • Opened in October of 1998.
  • Also home to the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Miami Caliente (LFL).

12. American Airlines Center: 21,041American Airlines Center

  • Home to the Dallas Mavericks, 4th largest NBA arena.
  • Construction cost: $420 million in 1999 ($521 million in 2011 dollars)
  • Opened in July of 2001. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, was the largest ribbon cutting ceremony ever.
  • Also home to the Dallas Stars (NHL) and the Dallas Vigilantes (AFL).

11. Wells Fargo Center: 21,600Wells Fargo Center

  • Home to the Philadelphia 76ers, 3rd largest NBA arena.
  • Construction cost: $210 million in 1994 ($294 million in 2011 dollars)
  • Opened in August of 1996.
  • Also home to the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL), Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League (NLL), Philadelphia Soul (AFL), and part-time home to the Villanova Wildcats.

10. Thompson–Boling Arena: 21,678Thompson–Boling Arena

  • Home to the University of Tennessee Volunteers basketball programs.
  • Construction cost: $37 million in 1983 ($72 million in 2011 dollars)
  • Opened in October of 1987.
  • Record seating capacity is 25,687 set in 1989 in a game vs. Kentucky.

9. United Center: 21,711United Center

  • Home to the Chicago Bulls, 2nd largest NBA arena.
  • Construction cost: $175 million in 1992 ($259 million in 2011 dollars)
  • Opened in August of 1994.
  • Also home to the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL).
  • When standing room only is sold, capacity can reach up to 23,129.

8. Dean Smith Center: 21,750Dean Smith Center

  • Home to the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.
  • Construction cost: $33.8 million in 1986
  • Opened in October of 1986 with expansions in 1992 and 2000.
  • The first game in the arena on Jan 18, 1986 featured #1 North Carolina vs. #3 Duke. The Tar Heels won 95-92.

7. Smart Araneta Coliseum: 22,000Smart Araneta Coliseum Basketball

  • Located in Quezon City, Philippines.
  • Opened in March of 1960.
  • Hosts many schools and events of the NCAA of the Philippines.
  • Home to most of the 10 teams in the Philippine Basketball Association.

6. KFC Yum! Center: 22,000KFC Yum! Center

  • Home to the University of Louisville Cardinals basketball programs.
  • Construction cost: $238 million in 2006
  • Opened in October of 2010.
  • Also home to the Louisville women’s volleyball team.
  • In its short history, the KFC Yum! Center has a single game record of 22,803 against arch-rival Kentucky on December 31, 2010

5. The Palace of Auburn Hills: 22,076The Palace of Auburn Hills

  • Home to the Detroit Pistons, the largest NBA arena.
  • Construction cost: $70 million in 1986 ($130 million in 2011 dollars)
  • Opened in August of 1988.
  • Current only hosts the Detroit Pistons but has hosted the Detroit Shock of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League (IHL), the Detroit Safari of the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL), the Detroit Rockers of the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL), and the Detroit Fury (AFL).
  • “The Malice at the Palace” occurred on November 19th, 2004 when a fight broke out between players of the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons. As the fight subsided, a fan hit Ron Artest with a cup, who then rushed the crowd and fought in the stands. It was the worst violent outbreak in an NBA game ever.

4. Saitama Super Arena: 22,500

  • Home to the Saitama Broncos of the Japan Professional Basketball League, largest arena outside the USA.
  • Opened in September of 2000.
  • Hosts various other events from concerts to hockey to MMA. Often referred to as the “Mecca of MMA
  • Features a “sliding block” that allows the capacity of an even to become 5,000-37,000
  • First sports facility in Japan equipped especially for American Football.

3. Marriott Center: 22,700

Marriott Center

  • Home to the Brigham Young University Cougars basketball programs.
  • Opened in December of 1971 and became the largest basketball specific arena on Earth.
  • Largest single game crowd: 23,106 in 1981 vs. University of Utah.
  • The Cougars are 166-16 at home in the last 12 years and boasts an all-time .793 winning percentage at home.

2. Rupp Arena: 23,500Rupp Arena

  • Home to the University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball programs.
  • Construction cost: $53 million in 1974 ($204 million in 2011 dollars)
  • Opened in November of 1976.
  • The attendance record is 24,479 when Kentucky beat Louisville on January 2, 2010.
  • The current largest basketball specific arena on earth.

1. Carrier Dome: 34,616Carrier Dome

  • Home to Syracuse University Orange basketball and football programs.
  • Construction cost: $27 million in 1979 ($72 million in 2011 dollars)
  • Opened in September of 1980.
  • Though not a true arena, the Carrier Dome morphs into the world’s largest regularly used basketball arena for all Syracuse Orange home games.

Notable mentions:
16. Target Center, Minnesota Timberwolves, 20,500
17. Verizon Center, Washington Wizards, 20,173
18. Izod Center, New Jersey Nets, 20,049
19. Energy Solutions Arena, Utah Jazz, 19,991
20. Air Canada Centre, Toronto Raptors, 19,800

 

About the author

Seattle Sounders/Seahawks/Mariners/Sonics fan.

One Comment

  1. Jon says:

    Ah what about the Greensboro Coliseum in NC that seats 23,500 and the usual home of the ACC men’s tournament, ACC women’s tournament, and the UNC at Greensboro men’s BB team. Opened in 1959 for $4.5 million ($35.9 in 2012 dollars) and since has been expanded several times to its current 23,500 total. Owned by the City of Greensboro, North Carolina. Also considered the largest arena in the south, how did you miss this?

    Reply

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