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UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena

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Title: UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 1986 NBA Playoffs, 1985 NBA Playoffs, 2015–16 Milwaukee Panthers men's basketball team, BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee Panthers
Collection: 1950 Establishments in Wisconsin, Arena Football Venues, Basketball Venues in Wisconsin, College Basketball Venues in the United States, Defunct National Basketball Association Venues, Indoor Ice Hockey Venues in the United States, Indoor Ice Hockey Venues in Wisconsin, Indoor Soccer Venues in the United States, Marquette Golden Eagles Basketball Venues, Milwaukee Bucks Venues, Milwaukee Panthers Men's Basketball, Music Venues Completed in 1950, Professional Wrestling Venues in the United States, Roller Derby Venues in the United States, Soccer Venues in Wisconsin, Sports Venues Completed in 1950, Sports Venues in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena

UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
Former names Milwaukee Arena (1950–74)
MECCA Arena (1974–95)
Wisconsin Center Arena (1995–2000)
U.S. Cellular Arena (2000–14)
Location 400 W Kilbourn Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203
United States
Owner Wisconsin Center District
Operator Wisconsin Center District
Capacity 12,700 (maximum)
10,783 (basketball)
9,500 (indoor soccer)
Surface Maple basketball floor, concrete, ice, or Astroturf
Broke ground November 3, 1948[1]
Opened April 9, 1950[2]
Renovated 1998
Construction cost $7.6 million
($74.5 million in 2016 dollars[3])
Architect Eschweiler & Eschweiler
General contractor Hunzinger Construction Co.[4]
Milwaukee Wave (MISL) (1984–1987, 2003–present)
Brewcity Bruisers (WFTDA) (2005–present)
Milwaukee Panthers (NCAA) (1992–1998, 2003–2011, 2013–present)
Green Bay Chill (LFL) (2014-Present)
Milwaukee Iron (AFL) (2010; 1 playoff game) Milwaukee Hawks (NBA) (1951–1955)
Milwaukee Bucks (NBA) (1968–1988)
Milwaukee Admirals (IHL) (1977–1988)
Marquette Warriors (NCAA) (1974–1989)
Milwaukee Bonecrushers (CIFL) (2008–2009)

UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena (originally Milwaukee Arena and formerly MECCA Arena, Wisconsin Center Arena and U.S. 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 (The Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center and Arena) from 1974 until the 1995 opening of the Midwest Express Airlines Center.


  • History 1
    • Milwaukee Panthers connection and renaming 1.1
    • Seating capacity 1.2
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


It opened in 1950 and was one of the first to accommodate the needs of broadcast television. It was folded into the MECCA complex when it opened in 1974. It is also known for its former unique basketball court painted by Robert Indiana in 1978, with large rainbow 'M's taking up both half-courts representing Milwaukee.

Since the 1960s, the Arena has held a number of concerts by high-profile performers. On September 4, 1964, the Beatles played their only Milwaukee concert, at the Arena, to a sold-out crowd of screaming fans.

It was home to the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA from 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 newer arena's opening in 1988.

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 BMO Harris Bradley Center is 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. It has also hosted professional wrestling events, including WCW SuperBrawl II in 1992, WWF King of the Ring 1996, WCW Clash of the Champions in 1997, WWF Over the Edge in 1998 and WCW Mayhem in 2000. It was at the forementioned King Of The Ring card where "Stone Cold" Steve Austin first uttered his now-famous "Austin 3:16" catchphrase.

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 the 1984 NCAA Mideast first and second round games. 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.[5]

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 from 1993 to 1998, 2003 to 2012, and 2013 to current. 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 UWM 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.[6]

U.S. Cellular's naming rights expired on May 31, 2014, and they did not renew their contract.[7] 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.[8] 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.

In August of 2015, it was revealed that the Milwaukee Admirals were possibly considering moving back to UWM Panther Arena in the next few seasons. Their current home, BMO Harris Bradley Center, is set to be replaced by the new Milwaukee Bucks Arena, and the Admirals have not expressed any interest of moving into the arena, and in fact, have said they are actually against moving into it. Logically, the move could make sense for a few reasons: more open scheduling dates, the chance to actually co-operate the arena rather than just being a tenant, and more marketing in the arena, which they are hardly able to do in Bradley Center. Moreover, Panther Arena's operators have said they would welcome the Admirals moving into the arena.

Seating capacity

The seating capacity for basketball has changed as follows:

  • 11,046 (1950-1961)[9]
  • 11,138 (1961-1968)[10]
  • 10,746 (1968-1973)[11]
  • 10,938 (1973-1980)[12]
  • 11,052 (1980-1998)[13]
  • 11,358 (1998-2004)[14]
  • 10,783 (2004–present)[15]

See also


  1. ^ Jones, Robert F. (April 10, 1960). "Arena Opening in 1950 Like Dream Come True".  
  2. ^ On This Day in Wisconsin History
  3. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  4. ^ "Arena Bonds Draw Only One Bid; Offer Rejected".  
  5. ^ Walker, Don (July 17, 2007). "Arena Football is Back in Milwaukee".  
  6. ^ Kirchen, Rich (July 15, 2015). "UWM men’s basketball returning to U.S. Cellular Arena".  
  7. ^ Michele, Michele. "Name change in the works for US Cellular Arena". Retrieved 2014-05-27. 
  8. ^ June 26, 2014Milwaukee Journal SentinelWalker, Don. "Former U.S. Cellular Arena to be named for UWM Panthers"
  9. ^ Breslin, Jimmy (February 19, 1959). "Hawks Too Big In St. Louis So Hickey Lifts Marquette".  
  10. ^ Bledsoe, Terry (December 26, 1962). "Luncheon, Clinic Are Extras For Classic Tournament Fans".  
  11. ^ Kupper, Mike (February 26, 1970). "MU to Set Record, Despite New Math".  
  12. ^ "Seating At Arena Increased To 10,938".  
  13. ^ "Arena Will Get 114 More Seats".  
  14. ^ Dabe, Christopher (January 3, 2004). "Eagles Anxious to Put Down Roots".  
  15. ^ "Panthers Open Home Slate With Upper Iowa". UW-Milwaukee Athletics. November 20, 2005. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 

External links

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

1951 – 1955
Succeeded by
Kiel Auditorium
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Milwaukee Bucks

1968 – 1988
Succeeded by
Bradley Center
Preceded by
The Spectrum
Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Omni Coliseum
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