Yuengling Center

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Yuengling Center
"The Keg"
Former namesUSF Sun Dome (1980–2018)
Location12499 USF Bull Run Dr
Tampa, FL 33617
Coordinates28°03′33.25″N 82°24′23.30″W / 28.0592361°N 82.4064722°W / 28.0592361; -82.4064722
OwnerUniversity of South Florida
OperatorTampa Bay Entertainment Properties, LLC, a division of Vinik Sports Group, LLC
Record attendanceMen's basketball: 10,659[2]
Women's basketball: 9,574[3]
SurfaceQuickLock Portable Floor (northern hard maple)
Broke ground1977
OpenedNovember 29, 1980
  • 1993
  • 1995
  • 2000
  • 2011
Construction cost$12 million
($58 million in 2022 dollars[1])
ArchitectBarger + Dean Architects, Inc.
South Florida Bulls men's basketball (1980–present)
South Florida Bulls women's basketball (1980–present)
South Florida Bulls volleyball (1995–present)
WWE ThunderDome (pro-wrestling) (2021)
Tampa Bay Strikers (NISL) (2022–present)

Yuengling Center (formerly the USF Sun Dome) is an indoor arena on the main campus of the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, Florida. Construction began in November 1977, and it opened in November 1980. It is located in USF's Athletics District on the southeast side of campus, and is home to the South Florida Bulls men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams, as well as USF's commencement ceremonies and other school and local events. With 10,500 seats (including over 3,500 in the student section), it is the third-largest basketball arena by capacity in the American Athletic Conference.


Before the Yuengling Center, USF's basketball teams played at various locations on and off campus. The basketball teams first played at Curtis Hixon Hall in downtown Tampa, and later split their home schedule between Curtis Hixon Hall, the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg, Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds, and the USF Gymnasium on campus, among others.[4]

By 1975, both the University of South Florida and the University of Florida in Gainesville had decided to build new on-campus indoor sports facilities. The two schools pooled their resources and shared the cost of a basic arena design to stretch limited state funding. The "core unit" of the Sun Dome and UF's O'Connell Center were nearly identical, and they each featured a flexible, inflatable roof made of Teflon and supported by a system of blowers. However, the O'Connell Center included facilities for other sports (namely gymnastics, volleyball, swimming and diving) around the main arena, while the Sun Dome as originally built did not, though it later added The Corral for the women's volleyball team after a renovation in 1995.[5]

The $12 million Sun Dome broke ground in November 1977 on formerly open land on the southeast side of campus near Fowler Avenue. Construction was slowed on both the Sun Dome and the O'Connell Center when cracks appeared in precast concrete support beams.[6] The problems were eventually fixed, and the sister facilities were completed within a few weeks of each other in late 1980 – the Sun Dome in November and the O'Connell Center in December.[5]

The first two events at the new arena were a USF men's basketball game against Florida A&M and a concert by Alice Cooper.[7]

In 2000, the original inflatable roof was replaced with a more conventional hard dome and additional facilities for USF indoor sports programs were added around the main arena at a cost of about $8 million (about $13.6 million in 2022 dollars).[1]

In 2011, USF began a major renovation of the Yuengling Center at a cost of $35.6 million (about $46.3 million in 2022 dollars). Among other interior improvements, this renovation reconfigured the seating area to make the facility ADA compliant and LEED Silver certified.[8] It also added a larger center hung scoreboard, a larger team store, a new concourse level with concessions and restrooms, and a new, athletes-only dining hall. On the outside, original exterior concrete was repaired, bricks were added to some portions of the facade, and the entrance gates were improved. This project was completed in April 2012.[9][10]

In 2017, USF announced that the Sun Dome's management would be taken over by Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, via Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties, LLC.[11][12] On June 12, 2018, USF announced a 10-year naming rights deal with brewer Yuengling, effective July 1, 2018.[13][14]

In April 2021, WWE began a long-term residency at Yuengling Center, broadcasting its shows from a behind closed doors set called the WWE ThunderDome, which lasted until July 2021.

The Corral[edit]

The Corral opened in 1995 as the home to the Bulls volleyball team at a cost of $5 million (about $9.6 million in 2022 dollars). The Corral spans 11,500 square feet on the west side of the arena with a capacity of up to 1,000 fans.[15] Prior to the opening of The Corral, the volleyball team played in the USF Gymnasium, now called the Campus Recreation Center.


In addition to USF sporting events, the Yuengling Center hosts USF's commencement ceremonies along with many concerts, shows, and special events.

Concert history[edit]

Between the arena's opening in 1981 until the opening of what is now known as Amalie Arena in 1996, the Yuengling Center was the premier indoor concert venue in the Tampa Bay area and hosted many big-name artists.

The first concert held at the Yuengling Center (then the USF Sun Dome) was Alice Cooper, on November 25, 1980.[7] Grateful Dead played at the venue on October 26, 1985, as one of the stops on their 20th anniversary tour.[16] Other notable acts hosted at the Yuengling Center prior to the renovations completed in 2012 include Jimmy Buffett (1982, 1985, 1986, and 1988), The Beach Boys (1984, 1985, and 1989), Ozzy Osbourne (1984, 1988, and 1991), U2 (1985), Madonna (1985), Tom Petty (1985, 1990, and 1995), Billy Joel (1987), Frank Sinatra (1987 and 1988), Fleetwood Mac (1987 and 1990), AC/DC (1988), Bob Dylan (1988, 1993, 2006, and 2010), Bon Jovi (1995), Steely Dan (1996), Backstreet Boys (1998), Britney Spears (1998 and 1999), System of a Down (1999 and 2002), Green Day (2005), My Chemical Romance (2005), Kanye West (2005), Tool (2007), Lil Wayne (2007), Daddy Yankee (2009), and Drake (2011).[17][18][19] On September 14, 2012, Elton John performed the first concert held in the renovated building, his third concert at the arena in total.[17][20][21][22]

Since the 2012 renovation, notable concerts include Imagine Dragons (2013), Fall Out Boy (2013), Panic! at the Disco (2013 and 2014), Alan Jackson (2015), Zedd (2015), 2 Chainz (2016 and 2022), Arcade Fire (2017), Tyler, the Creator (2019 and 2022), Young Thug (2019), Illenium (2019), Portugal. The Man (2022), and Ghost (2022).[22][23]

Combat sports[edit]

WWE has hosted several professional wrestling events at the Sun Dome; it hosted Saturday Night's Main Event for the first time in 1985, and hosted the pay-per-view Royal Rumble in 1995 (which notably saw Shawn Michaels become the first person entering at number 1 to win the titular Royal Rumble match by outlasting all 29 of the other participants).[24] On March 24, 2021, WWE announced that it would move its ThunderDome residency—a bio-secure bubble used to film the company's weekly programs Raw, SmackDown, and Main Event, as well as those shows' associated pay-per-views, due to the COVID-19 pandemic—to Yuengling Center beginning with the April 12 episode of Raw, following WrestleMania 37 (which was held at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium). The ThunderDome was relocated from Tropicana Field due to the start of the Tampa Bay Rays' 2021 season; as before, programs produced at the arena were held behind closed doors with no in-person audience.[25] During their residency at the Yuengling Center, WWE held two pay-per-view events, WrestleMania Backlash and Hell in a Cell. WWE resumed live touring on July 16, thus ending the ThunderDome productions. The company finished tapings at the Yuengling Center on July 9; the final show to air featuring the ThunderDome at the Yuengling Center was the July 15 episode of Main Event.[26][27][28]

Creator Clash was hosted at the Yuengling Center in 2022.[29]

UFC hosted UFC Fight Night: Lauzon vs Stephens at the Sun Dome on February 7, 2009.[30] The Sun Dome also hosted Bellator 72 and 94 in 2012 and 2013 respectively.[31][32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  2. ^ "South Florida Defeats No. 24 Florida Atlantic To Stay in First Place". theamerican.org. 2024-02-19. Retrieved 2024-02-22.
  3. ^ "South Florida Women's Basketball Hosts Record Attendance In Win Against Charleston Southern". gousfbulls.com. 2023-11-30. Retrieved 2024-02-26.
  4. ^ "media guide 1920 FINAL (PDF)" (PDF). USF Athletics. Retrieved 2020-08-30.
  5. ^ a b Walbolt, Dan (Interviewee) and Huse, Andrew T. (Interviewer), Dan Walbolt oral history interview by Andrew Huse, July 13, 2004 (2004).Digital Collection - USF Historical Archives Oral Histories. Paper 194.
  6. ^ Keen, Larry (March 26, 1983). "State Plans Lawsuit Over O'Connell Center Defects". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  7. ^ a b "About | Yuengling Center". www.yuenglingcenter.com. Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  8. ^ "LEED Projects | USF Facilities Management". www.usf.edu. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  9. ^ "Renovated USF Sun Dome earns positive marks as concert-friendly venue". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  10. ^ "Sun Dome Reopens; Is A Campus Football Stadium in USF's Future?". WUSF Public Media. 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  11. ^ "Sun Dome no more: After years of struggle, can the new Yuengling Center find a soul?". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  12. ^ "Jeff Vinik group to manage USF Sun Dome". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  13. ^ Knight, Joey (12 June 2018). "Yuengling secures USF Sun Dome naming rights". tampabay.com. Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  14. ^ Roa, Ray (June 12, 2018). "Tampa's USF Sun Dome will change name to Yuengling Center". Creative Loafing. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  15. ^ "The Corral". USF Athletics. Retrieved 2020-08-31.
  16. ^ "Lively conversation with the Grateful Dead". The Tampa Bay Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. April 18, 1978. p. 64. Retrieved September 5, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ a b Cridlin, Jay (October 13, 2018). "Sun Dome no more: After years of struggle, can the new Yuengling Center find a soul?". The Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  18. ^ Ross, Curtis (October 13, 2005). "Kanye West as Effective Live as in the Studio". The Tampa Tribune. Tampa, Florida. p. 12. Retrieved September 5, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ Michel, Joinville (September 26, 2010). "Drake shakes USF Sun Dome". The Tampa Tribune. Tampa, Florida. p. 2. Retrieved September 5, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ Cridlin, Jay (September 15, 2012). "Review: Elton John wows Tampa's USF Sun Dome with hits, rarities". The Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  21. ^ Daly, Sean (September 17, 2012). "Elton John brings piano-thumping good time to refurbished USF Sun Dome". The Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  22. ^ a b "USF Sun Dome concert history". concertarchives.org.
  23. ^ "Yuengling Center concert history". concertarchives.org.
  24. ^ "As it courts Wrestlemania, Tampa can boast some major wrestling moments". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  25. ^ Williams, Randall (2021-03-24). "WWE Moves ThunderDome to USF's Yuengling Center". Sportico.com. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  26. ^ Otterson, Joe (May 21, 2021). "WWE to Return to Live Touring in July". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  27. ^ Currier, Joseph (May 21, 2021). "WWE RETURNING TO TOURING THIS JULY, FIRST THREE EVENTS ANNOUNCED". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  28. ^ Laboon, Jeff (May 21, 2021). "WWE returns to Live Events with 25-city tour beginning July 16". WWE. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  29. ^ "The Creator Clash". Real Good Touring.
  30. ^ "Neer, Danzig, Velasquez and Lauzon each earn $30K UFN 17 bonuses". MMAJunkie.com. February 7, 2009. Archived from the original on February 11, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  31. ^ "Bellator 72 Results, Fight Card and News - MMA Fighting". www.mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  32. ^ "Bellator 94 Results, Fight Card and News - MMA Fighting". www.mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2021-03-24.

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