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UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena.jpg
Us cellular arena birdseye.jpg
Exterior of venue (c.2010)
Former names Milwaukee Arena (1950–74)
MECCA Arena (1974–95)
Wisconsin Center Arena (1995–2000)
U.S. Cellular Arena (2000–14)
Address 400 W Kilbourn Ave
Location Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Owner Wisconsin Center District
Capacity 12,700 (maximum)
10,783 (basketball)
9,500 (indoor soccer)
9,652 (Hockey)
Broke ground November 3, 1948[1]
Opened April 9, 1950[4]
Renovated 1998, 2016
Construction cost US$7.6 million
($77.4 million in 2017 dollars[2])
Architect Eschweiler & Eschweiler
General contractor Hunzinger Construction Co.[3]
Milwaukee Hawks (NBA) (1951–1955)
Milwaukee Bucks (NBA) (1968–1988)
Marquette Warriors (NCAA) (1974–1988)
Milwaukee Admirals (IHL/AHL) (1977–1988, 2016–present)
Milwaukee Does (WPBL) (1978–1980)
Milwaukee Wave (MASL) (1984–1988, 2003–present)
Milwaukee Panthers (NCAA) (1992–1998, 2003–present)
Brewcity Bruisers (WFTDA) (2005–present)
Milwaukee Bonecrushers (CIFL) (2008–2009)
Green Bay Chill (LFL) (2014)

The UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena (originally the Milwaukee Arena and formerly MECCA Arena and US Cellular Arena) is an indoor arena located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The arena, which seats as many as 12,700 people and offers 41,000 feet of floor space, is part of a larger downtown campus, that includes the Milwaukee Theatre and Wisconsin Center.

The arena was part of the MECCA Complex from 1974 until the 1995 opening of the Midwest Express Center.

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Our recent design has been regionally inspired has been regionally designed and regionally constructed. So we were trying to pull from the region as much as possible and that's where the undulation on the south elevation comes from. It's the graphic representation of a topographical region in Milwaukee. The roof is another part that pulls from the name. We term it a gouged roof because it comes from the glacier movements but the butterfly is what it's called and it helps to collect water that will be in a scupper on the east elevation that will go into a harvesting pond. On the inside we took a 800 square foot footprint and tried to make it feel like the 1100 square foot house. We have a lot of operational parts which we did tag line with melt water themed names such as an island that floats out from the kitchen cabinetry and then can be deployed and used as an island and when it's not in use it can be tucked back in and open up a little extra space. We have a Murphy bed in our office space so we can double an office into a bedroom. We also have a dining room table pulling from the Murphy bed theme. It's a Murphy table that folds out of the wall. Inside the house we did as much to be as efficient as possible that you could do in your everyday new construction. What we did was we took a two by eight wall so we already beefed it up from a two by four or two by six, but then to stop thermal bridging and inefficiency we staggered the studs and filled that cavity with continuous insulation. It's a sprayed insulation so it covers all voids and that makes our wall perform at an R40 plus the efficiency of no thermal bridging. In addition to that our technologies range from our triple pane lowly glazed Argon filled windows to our frosty glass and the clear story which will allow some light to come in but no thermal gain. And on the west elevation where we have a large 12 foot expanse of folding glass windows we have metal louver system which will track the sun and cast a shadow within the space again still allowing natural light to come in but no direct solar gain on the space.



It opened in 1950 and was one of the first to accommodate the needs of broadcast television. It was folded into MECCA (The Milwaukee Exposition, Convention Center and Arena) when the complex opened in 1974. It is also known for its former, uniquely painted basketball court by Robert Indiana in 1978, with large rainbow 'M's taking up both half-courts representing Milwaukee. The Indiana floor was purchased by a fan in the early 2010s and is currently in storage at an unnamed location in the Milwaukee area.[5]

It was home to the Milwaukee Hawks (1951–55) and the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA (1968 to 1988), and hosted the 1977 NBA All-Star Game before an audience of 10,938. The venue was also home to Marquette University's men's basketball team along with the International Hockey League Milwaukee Admirals. These teams all moved to the BMO Harris Bradley Center upon the arena's opening in 1988.

On October 26, 2017, the Bucks returned to the arena for a regular season game against the Boston Celtics in honor of their 50th anniversary in the NBA. For this event, the Bucks, by agreement with Indiana, installed a newly built floor featuring a duplicate of his original MECCA court for that game only. After the game, the floor was sanded down to remove the replica of Indiana's original work and moved to Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, home to the Bucks' NBA G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd (although the team does not play on the floor used in the commemorative game).[5]

In 1994, the Wisconsin Center District (WCD), a state organization, was created in order to fund the Midwest Express Center, and, in 1995 the MECCA complex was folded into this, including the Arena (the soon-to-be-extinct BMO Harris Bradley Center and the newly opened Fiserv Forum are owned by a separate authority). Following a major overhaul in 1998, the arena is now home to the Milwaukee Wave of the Major Indoor Soccer League (including the 2006 MISL All-Star game) and is the Milwaukee venue for Disney on Ice.

The WCD added the Wisconsin Athletic Walk of Fame alongside the U.S. Cellular Arena in 2001. At the end of this public promenade is a Wisconsin Historical Marker noting the location where Christopher Sholes invented the first practical typewriter, featuring the QWERTY keyboard layout.

As the MECCA, the building hosted first- and second-round games in the Mideast Regional of the 1984 NCAA tournament. The U.S. Cellular Arena also hosted all or part of every Horizon League men's basketball conference tournament from 2003 to 2011.

In 2008 and 2009, it was home to the Milwaukee Bonecrushers of the Continental Indoor Football League.[6]

On August 7, 2010, the arena hosted an Arena Football League playoff game between the Milwaukee Mustangs and the Chicago Rush. The Iron played its 2010 regular season home games at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, but the ongoing installation of the new center court scoreboard in that venue forced the home playoff games to be played at the U.S. Cellular Arena, where the Milwaukee Mustangs would go on to win.

It is also home to the Brewcity Bruisers roller derby league.

Milwaukee Panthers connection and renaming

The arena has been the home of the Milwaukee Panthers men's basketball team at three different times—first from 1993 to 1998, then from 2003 to 2012, and since 2013. The Panthers played their 2012–2013 home games at the 3,500-seat Klotsche Center on UWM's east side campus. The move generated complaints from some Panthers fans and attendance lagged as the team limped to its worst record since the 1990s. After Amanda Braun was named UWM's athletic director in March 2013, she said she would re-examine the decision to move games from the U.S. Cellular Arena. In July 2013, UWM officials reached a 5-year contract with the arena owner, Wisconsin Center District, that runs through the 2017–2018 season.[7]

U.S. Cellular's naming rights expired on May 31, 2014, and they did not renew their contract.[8] On June 26, 2014, it was announced that the Arena would be renamed the UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena, as part of an agreement which would run at least through 2024, with UWM having an option to extend it through 2029.[9] The deal additionally makes the arena officially the major site for UWM events such as graduation ceremonies, a role it had already taken for years before.

Milwaukee Bonecrushers' Quarterback Ryan Maiuri taking a snap against the Chicago Slaughter on March 21, 2008 at U.S. Cellular Arena.
Milwaukee Bonecrushers' Quarterback Ryan Maiuri taking a snap against the Chicago Slaughter on March 21, 2008 at U.S. Cellular Arena.

In August 2015, it was revealed that the Milwaukee Admirals were considering a return to UWM Panther Arena in the next few seasons.[citation needed] Their then-current home, BMO Harris Bradley Center, was eventually replaced by the new Fiserv Forum, and the Admirals had not expressed any interest of moving into the arena, and in fact, said they were actually against moving into it.[citation needed] Logically, the move could make sense for a few reasons: more open scheduling dates, the chance to actually share in arena operations rather than just being a tenant, and more marketing in the arena, which they are hardly able to do in Bradley Center.[citation needed] Moreover, Panther Arena's operators have said they would welcome the Admirals moving into the arena.[citation needed]

On March 16, 2016, it was announced the Admirals signed a 10-year lease with a 5-year mutual extension. Also included on the deal was $2.3 million for upgrades to the arena.[citation needed]

On June 10, 2017, the Milwaukee Bucks announced, as part of celebrating the Bucks' 50th season in the NBA, the team would play one regular season game during the 2017–18 season at the Arena.[10] The game was against the Boston Celtics and took place on October 26, 2017. The Celtics beat the Bucks 96–89.

Seating capacity

The seating capacity for basketball has changed as follows:

Years Capacity
1950–1961 11,046[11]
1961–1968 11,138[12]
1968–1973 10,746[13]
1973–1980 10,938[14]
1980–1998 11,052[15]
1998–2004 11,358[16]
2004–present 10,783[17]

Other uses


Since the 1960s, the Arena has held a number of concerts by high-profile performers. Folk-rock icon Bob Dylan played a two-night stand there in mid-October as part of his Fall 1981 tour.

Professional wrestling

The arena has also hosted professional wrestling events, including WCW's SuperBrawl (1992), Clash of the Champions (1997)[18] and Mayhem (2000). They also hosted WWF's King of the Ring (1996), and Over the Edge (1998). It was at the aforementioned King of the Ring card where "Stone Cold" Steve Austin first uttered his now-famous "Austin 3:16" catchphrase.

See also


  1. ^ Jones, Robert F. (April 10, 1960). "Arena Opening in 1950 Like Dream Come True". The Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 9. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  3. ^ "Arena Bonds Draw Only One Bid; Offer Rejected". Milwaukee Journal. December 16, 1948. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  4. ^ On This Day in Wisconsin History
  5. ^ a b Nelson, James B. (October 20, 2017). "Milwaukee Bucks re-create Robert Indiana's colorful MECCA floor for one game". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  6. ^ Walker, Don (July 17, 2007). "Arena Football is Back in Milwaukee". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved July 17, 2007.
  7. ^ Kirchen, Rich (July 15, 2015). "UWM men's basketball returning to U.S. Cellular Arena". The Business Journal. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  8. ^ Michele, Michele. "Name change in the works for US Cellular Arena". Archived from the original on 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
  9. ^ Walker, Don. "Former U.S. Cellular Arena to be named for UWM Panthers" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel June 26, 2014
  10. ^ ""Return to the MECCA:" Milwaukee Bucks to play game at Panther Arena for 50th Anniversary". Fox 6 News. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  11. ^ Breslin, Jimmy (February 19, 1959). "Hawks Too Big In St. Louis So Hickey Lifts Marquette". Star-Banner. Ocala, Florida. p. 9. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  12. ^ Bledsoe, Terry (December 26, 1962). "Luncheon, Clinic Are Extras For Classic Tournament Fans". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  13. ^ Kupper, Mike (February 26, 1970). "MU to Set Record, Despite New Math". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  14. ^ "Seating At Arena Increased To 10,938". The Milwaukee Journal. August 23, 1973. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  15. ^ "Arena Will Get 114 More Seats". The Milwaukee Sentinel. September 25, 1980. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  16. ^ Dabe, Christopher (January 3, 2004). "Eagles Anxious to Put Down Roots". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  17. ^ "Facilities: Panther Arena". UW-Milwaukee Athletics. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  18. ^ "Clash of Champions Results (XXXIV)". Archived from the original on 2010-11-28.

Admirals sign 10-year lease

External links

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Wharton Field House
Home of the
Milwaukee Hawks

Succeeded by
Kiel Auditorium
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Milwaukee Bucks

Succeeded by
BMO Harris Bradley Center
Preceded by
The Spectrum
Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Omni Coliseum
This page was last edited on 25 September 2018, at 21:52
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