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Frank Erwin Special Events Center

Austin, TX

Home of the Texas Longhorns

4.0

4.1

Frank Erwin Special Events Center (map it)
1701 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78701


Texas Longhorns website

Frank Erwin Special Events Center website

Year Opened: 1977

Capacity: 16,540

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Horns Up!

The Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Special Events Center, has been the premier event center to the City of Austin and home to the University of Texas basketball teams since 1977. The building is named for former UT Board of Regents member Frank Erwin. The capacity for the Erwin Center has increased over the years to 16,540 (largest in the Big XII Conference). The Erwin Center is referred to as ‘The Drum,’ because of its exterior décor - a circular concrete building - located on the University of Texas campus less than a mile from downtown Austin and the Texas State Capitol building.

The Frank Erwin Center has hosted numerous NCAA Tournament games and annually hosts the Texas UIL high school basketball championships.

4.0

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

The Frank Erwin Center's two-level concourse serves all the usual stadium fare at the Fan Fare concession stand. A jumbo ¼ lb all beef hot dog (add peppers and onions for a dollar) and the nachos are $4.50 (adding cheese sauce and jalapenos is an extra $2). A bag of peanuts is $5 while candy or a pretzel is $4. Popcorn ranges between $4-$6.

The rest of the concessions stands seem to be commercial. There is a Quiznos, Austin Pizza (a personal pizza costs $8), Chick-fil-A (chicken sandwiches and fries), Bush's Chicken (chicken tender baskets, 5-piece basket for $10 or 3-piece basket for $7.50), Pok-E-Jo's ($9 dollars for BBQ sandwiches - sliced beef, sliced turkey and chopped beef), Amy's ice cream, and the Steer Head Grill (burgers, fries and onion rings). The Steer Head ranges from a $7.50 cheeseburger to the Texas Champions Burger Basket for $13.00 which is a 1/3 lb griddled Black Angus smash burger with beer battered onion rings, cheddar cheese, bacon strips, and a signature 1883 Burnt Orange sauce on Texas toast with a side of crinkle cut fries.

The beverage choice for soft drinks is Coca-Cola products ranging from a small size ($4.50) to the souvenir soda ($6) and bottled water ($4). The Erwin Center serves alcoholic beverages: $8 domestic beer, $9 premium beer, $8 wine, and $10 margaritas.

Austin is home to many great restaurants, however if you can't make it while in town, the Erwin Center has plenty of options to satisfy your hunger.

Atmosphere    4

Just like most college basketball, the atmosphere changes depending on the opponent and the expectations of the home team. Keep in mind, Texas isn't a basketball crazed state such as Indiana. This isn't Kansas, Duke, or other basketball schools, that once "One Shining Moment" in April has ended that the fans are counting down to the beginning of basketball season. However, the atmosphere is fun, energetic, and entertaining making the Frank Erwin Center a wonderful place to watch NCAA basketball.

The minute you walk through the doors and get your ticket scanned, the concourse feels like you're in a theatre, not the typical sports venue. Be sure to pick up your game day programs which are free and available at all entrances. As you enter the seating area, the arena becomes spacious and one of the first things you'll notice is the logo covering center court - a burnt orange Longhorn in the center of the state of Texas mapped out in white. The arena will soon fill up with the burnt orange color that separates Texas from all others school with shades of orange. The tradition of having the 'Horns Up' and singing 'The Eyes of Texas' will commence before the team's starting lineups as well as after the game has ended. There is the typical hype video of Texas basketball before the announcing of the Texas starting lineup. However, a pyrotechnics fireworks display goes on, as each player is introduced which puts a little Vegas-style entertainment into the arena. This entertainment display always seems to make for a pretty awesome environment for fans. The Jumbotron scoreboard and an LCD screen that loops around the arena keeps the crowd entertained and informed with promotions, Austin's weather, out of town scores, and any events happening in Texas Athletics.

The students sections are with the band in the seating areas behind the baskets on the baselines. The Texas cheer and pom squads along with the costumed mascot Hook'em keeps the crowd involved and entertain during timeouts. The Texas cheer/pom squads put on a halftime extravaganza during select games near the end of the season. Otherwise there is varied entertainment during halftime throughout the season.

Neighborhood    5

The Frank Erwin Center is situated on the University of Texas campus adjacent to downtown Austin. Considered part of the Texas Hill Country, Austin joins the connected region in providing a wonderful recreational area within the state of Texas.

Franklin BBQ has earned world-wide fame as one of the best BBQ joints. From celebrities stopping by, to the Food Network, and of course ESPN Game Day, people flock there to join in the BBQ celebration. Keep in mind that Franklin cooks to run out of BBQ each day, which creates long lines which form long before their 11am opening time (don't be surprised if you get in line at 8am and aren't served until nearly 2pm). Weekdays typically have shorter lines than the busy weekends.

Franklin certainly serves some amazing BBQ, but if you don't want to make a day waiting in line, check out Stubbs BBQ which is not too far away, but will satisfy the BBQ craving. On the walk from Stubbs to the Erwin Center for any pre and postgame drinking, there is the Scholz Garte. This place is really wonderful during football season. There is a huge patio where fans can mingle and it becomes a festive atmosphere. There are so many good restaurant choices from Eddie V's seafood and American cuisine, Las Manitas Avenue Cafe on Congress for Tex-Mex or The Shady Grove.

With the growing popularity of local breweries, Austin has several such as Wright Bros. Brew & Brew or Hops and Grain Brewing. If you are a food truck junkie then you'll love Austin. The food trucks serve everything Donuts, BBQ, cupcakes, Tacos, and Asian food.

Austin is certainly an interesting city with plenty to do around town. Besides being the state capital and hometown of the University of Texas, Austin could be considered the live music capital of the world. If you want to test that theory, just take a walk along on 6th Street and you'll hear someone performing. The annual South by Southwest film festival and Austin City Limits music fest are a staple of Austin music and arts scene. Nearby Lake Travis, Lake Austin or the Colorado River provide water activities like kayaking and sailing. There are trails and parks along the Colorado River that border downtown. There are numerous of caverns to visit throughout the Texas Hill Country.

With a population just short of a million and as the state capital, Austin has plenty of lodging options. The closest to the Frank Erwin Center is the Double Tree by Hilton, just on the other side of Interstate 35 and down the hill from UFCU Disch-Falk Field (home to Longhorns baseball). The Driskill is the oldest operating hotel in Austin and well-known across Texas but it might be out of most people price range, although it is an interesting place to see if you have time.

Fans    4

The UT Athletic Department is a juggernaut when it comes to revenue. The Athletic Department receives no money from student tuition, however, the university's Longhorn Network recent partnership with ESPN, gives the university a revenue worth 300 million for the next 20 years. Add the fact that, Austin is the largest city in the United States without a major professional sports team. Texas has the capability of generating Texas fans from all over the country. The basketball fans show up at Frank Ervin Center in a decent amount, averaging about 13,000 fans in a 16,000 seat arena. They are on cue at the right moment during the game. For the highlighted games on the basketball schedule, such as North Carolina, Kansas, or Oklahoma, the place will be filled to capacity. The past has shown when the Longhorns have a quality team in the national rankings, the fans can be some of the best in the country.

Access    3

Access to the Frank Erwin Center can be frustrating for fans making their first trip to Austin. The location of the Erwin Center just off the exit on Interstate 35 is a two-sided sword. The positive side of that sword is the arena is easy to find, but the negative is the traffic that goes along with a city like Austin. There is no free parking in campus lots, however by planning ahead, using the Erwin Center website, you can prepay $10 parking.

The state parking garages along San Jacinto are available for event parking on game day, however be prepared to walk. Although, many people walk this area, the terrain is not flat. Some choose to park in the residential area east of I35 near the Denny's restaurant for free, however, it is not recommended to park in that area as the Austin Police Department patrol it and issue parking tickets. Another recent hiccup in the access to Erwin Center is due to construction of the Dell Medical Center Project across the street from the arena, which closes the southbound vehicular traffic on Red River.

The ingress and egress to the Frank Erwin Center is smooth and fast since there are plenty of entrances, with access to either the terrace and mezzanines levels. The Frank Erwin Center is ADA compliant as the mobility impaired and floor guest entry is on the Red River entrance of the arena. The locations accessible by wheelchairs are reserved and are in Row 32 of selected sections on the arena level, in Row 3 of selected sections on the mezzanine level and on the arena floor for all shows at which public floor seating is available. Any questions concerning ADA ticket availability, call the Texas Box Office at (512) 477-6060.

The concourse has a feel of a theater more than a sports arena. The circular concourse can seem a little tight but there is enough glass pockets that is it isn't overwhelming.

The sections inside the Erwin Center are well marked. The lower level bowl begins with section 20 and goes around the building in order to section 49 while the upper bowl begins with section 60 and rotates around to section 95.

Return on Investment    4

Texas Basketball tickets normally range from $15-$50 but with a ceiling of $70 for marquee matchups such as North Carolina. The best way to obtain Texas Basketball tickets is to plan ahead and look at other avenues such as a third-party ticket vendor like TicketMonster.com. You just might be able to find a seat below the box office price. Texas basketball tickets are easy to get, there are games that possibly will be in high demand and sold-out, such as Kansas and Oklahoma, but other than that you'll be able to see top level college basketball at a reasonable price.

Extras    4

-The University of Texas campus being located in one of the nation's most enjoyable cities to visit.

- The playing of "The Eyes of Texas" before and after the game.

-The Longhorn statue outside the Frank Erwin Center, the Judy Conradt (Texas long-time women's basketball coach) statue flashing the Hook'em sign, and the burnt orange banners honoring the past team and players hanging from the rafters.

-The pictures of all the events that the Frank Erwin Center has hosted are on the wall around the concourse.

-The recognition of Texas athletics in other sports, this trip; the recognition was the NCAA runner- up Texas Longhorns Volleyball team.

Final Thoughts

The fact that you will be able to see NCAA basketball in a unique and wonderful city such as Austin is all you need to make the trip to Austin. So make plans to visit Austin as soon as you can and get your 'Horns Up' when visiting the Frank Erwin Center.

Parking

I enjoyed reading the write up. This might help the access part. I have never found it hard to park for Longhorns Football games, let alone the smaller basketball crowds. I have a pet-peeve about paying for parking, so I park on the other side of I-35 between 12th and 15th streets, for Free. Hook'em Horns!!

by Tejasduck | Sep 24, 2014 04:59 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Hook Em Horns

Total Score: 4.43

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Known as "The Drum" to locals, the Frank Erwin Center has been the home of Texas Longhorns basketball for over thirty years now. The arena is located deep in the heart of 50,000 University of Texas students and more than 900,000 residents in the greater Austin area. The convenient location off of IH-35 is within walking distance of downtown Austin and the Capital of Texas complex. With the capacity to seat over 16,000 people the Frank Erwin Center can definitely be quite a rowdy experience during a marquee match up.

Frank Erwin Center - University of Texas Men's Basketball

Total Score: 4.00

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

The Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Special Events Center, is the home of the University of Texas basketball teams, and a myriad of other events. One look at the exterior and it’s easy to believe that the place was built in 1977; it lacks any modernity or beauty. Often referred to as The Drum, or the Superdrum, it’s a big concrete checker piece placed onto the UT campus, less than a mile from downtown Austin and the Texas State Capitol building. There are no windows, that I could see, which gives the arena a Soviet-era charm. What the Frank Erwin Center lacks in external beauty, it more than makes up for in game experience and fan satisfaction. Good food, good game atmosphere, and generally talented teams make this venue a worthwhile stop on a trip through Texas’ capital city.

The Drum

Total Score: 4.00

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

The Frank Erwin Center nicknamed "The Drum" because of the circular exterior of the building is

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