The John M. and Gertrude E. Petersen Events Center houses a 12,508-seat multi-purpose arena that serves as home court for the men’s and women’s Panthers basketball teams and also hosts concerts and such Pitt ceremonies as the annual Commencement Convocation. Bob Dylan and then-Senator Barrack Obama (campaigning for the presidency in 2008) are among the more notable figures to have played “The Pete.”
In a Sports Illustrated survey of Big East Conference basketball players, the Petersen Events Center was named “Toughest Place to Play,” with players citing Pitt’s creatively distracting and deafeningly loud student section, the Oakland Zoo.
Besides its arena, the Pete houses the Willis Center for Academics for student athletes, the McCarl Panthers Hall of Champions, the Pittsburgh Panthers Team Store, and the 40,000-square-foot Baierl Student Recreation Center featuring racquetball and squash courts and areas for aerobics, weights, and exercise machines.
Winner of an Innovative Architecture & Design Honor Award from Recreation Management magazine, the Petersen Center opened in 2002 on the former site of Pitt Stadium, home of Pitt’s football team from 1925 to 1999.