The University of Texas and “a group led by the Oak View Group” have reached an innovated deal to construct a world-class arena on campus as a replacement for the 41-year-old Frank Erwin Center, the school announced on Thursday.
“UT’s historic agreement with this highly regarded company will result in a modern arena on campus for our students, alumni, supporters and the Austin community,” said UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves. “The arena will provide for an unforgettable UT basketball experience and represent the best of our university.”
Expected to be completed in 2021, the state-of-the-art, $338 million venue, which will come at no cost to the school or the public as part of a 35-year agreement, will serve as the new home for men’s and women’s basketball games, in addition to hosting graduations, concerts, and other events, the school announced.
“What a great day for the future of Texas Basketball! Everyone in our program is extremely excited to see things move forward with today’s announcement,” Texas men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “I want to thank President Fenves and Chris Del Conte for their leadership and vision on this project. We all want to give our players a true home court advantage for every home game. For our students and fans, this new arena will create a completely new and improved game day experience. This is a major step forward for our program.”
‘We are thrilled that our Women’s Basketball program soon will have a new home,” said Karen Aston, Texas head women’s basketball coach. “We all will feel an enormous amount of excitement playing in an arena that is closer to the center of campus and our students and faculty. I want to thank President Fenves and Chris Del Conte for their leadership. We have all the trust in our administration in forming a plan that we know will put the student-athletes and fans first. I appreciate all those who are making this possible.”
In hopes of providing a more intimate fan experience, the new arena will be designed to seat 10,000 during basketball games and can expand to 15,000 seats for events such as concerts and shows. Students will now have seating around the floor instead of only behind the baskets.
“This is a truly wonderful opportunity for The University of Texas, our basketball programs and the City of Austin,” said UT Vice President and Athletics Director Chris Del Conte. “We’re building one of the nation’s finest arenas that will provide an awesome home court advantage for our men’s and women’s basketball programs. The 10,000-seat facility will bring our fans and students close to the action and provide an exciting and engaging game day experience. On top of that, it will have the capacity to expand to 15,000 when needed and be a big-time concert venue that draws premier performers to our great city.”
The arena will be located on campus adjacent from Darrell K Royal—Texas Memorial Stadium south of Mike A. Myers Stadium between Red River Street and Robert Dedman Drive.
“It’s time to raise the bar. It’s time to excel, on the court and in the stands,” said 1993 University of Texas graduate and Academy Award winner Matthrew McConaughey, who will act as the “Minester of Culture” at the venue, per Texas. “It’s time for an authentic home court advantage for our Longhorn basketball teams. It’s time for a choice experience for our fans. It’s time to be a preferred venue for headliners from across the globe. It’s time for quality, success, and victories for the Longhorns and for Austin. It’s time for the big show. It’s time. Hook ’em.”