Thomas & Mack Center Article

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Thomas & Mack Center
The Shark Tank
Thomas & Mack Center logo.svg
Thomas & Mack Center by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Address4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Location Paradise, Nevada
Coordinates 36°6′18″N 115°8′39″W / 36.10500°N 115.14417°W / 36.10500; -115.14417
THOMAS & MACK CENTER Latitude and Longitude:

36°6′18″N 115°8′39″W / 36.10500°N 115.14417°W / 36.10500; -115.14417
Owner University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Operator University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Capacity Basketball: 17,923
Boxing: 18,645
Arena football: 16,606
*End stage 180°: 14,729
*End stage 270°: 15,736
*End stage 360°: 18,069
*Center stage: 18,574
*Theatre: 9,413 [1]
Broke groundOctober 21, 1981; 37 years ago (1981-10-21) [2]
OpenedDecember 16, 1983; 34 years ago (1983-12-16)
Construction cost$30 million
ArchitectW2C Architects, John Carl Warneeke and Associates and
Cambeiro & Cambeiro Ltd. (Artturo Cambeiro, AIA and Domingo Cambeiro)
Ellerbe Becket (renovation) [3]
Structural engineerJohn A. Martin & Associates [4]
General contractor Perini Building Company [5]
UNLV Runnin' Rebels ( NCAA) (1983–present)
UNLV Lady Rebels ( NCAA) (1983–2001)
Las Vegas Americans ( MISL) (1984–1985)
Las Vegas Silver Streaks ( WBL) (1988–1990)
Las Vegas Thunder ( IHL) (1993–1999)
Las Vegas Flash ( RHI) (1994)
Las Vegas Dustdevils ( CISL) (1995)
Las Vegas Sting ( AFL) (1995)
Las Vegas Silver Bandits ( IBL) (1999–2000)
Las Vegas Gladiators ( AFL) (2003–2006)
Las Vegas Sin ( LFL) (2014)
Las Vegas Outlaws ( AFL) (2015)

Thomas & Mack Center is an arena located on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Paradise, Nevada. It is home of the UNLV Runnin' Rebels basketball team of the Mountain West Conference.


The facility was first opened in the summer of 1983. The gala grand opening was held on December 16, 1983, featuring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Diana Ross. [6] The facility hosts numerous events, such as concerts, music festivals, conventions and boxing cards. For ring events, the capacity is 19,522; for basketball, the capacity is 18,000. [6]

The indoor stadium has been hosting basketball matches of the UNLV Rebels since 1983 and it underwent a major interior and exterior renovation in 1999. 2008 saw the installation of all new visual equipment, which included a 4-sided new center-hung LED widescreen scoreboard, which includes four LED advertising/scoring boards above it and a LED advertising ring below it to replace the one installed in 1995, a partial LED ring beam display covering 80% of the balcony's rim, a new 50' LED scorer's table display, a new shot clock system for the backboards, six wall-mounted locker room game clocks, two new custom scoreboards with fixed digital scoring and complete player stats and a new outdoor marquee LED video billboard.

The facility is named after two prominent Nevada bankers, E. Parry Thomas and Jerome D. Mack, who donated the original funds for the feasibility and land studies. In 2001, a smaller arena, Cox Pavilion, was added to the complex; the two arenas are directly connected. Cox Pavilion is used for smaller events; its main tenants are the UNLV women's basketball and volleyball programs.

The Center's primary tenant is the UNLV men's basketball team. The arena was nicknamed "the Shark Tank" after Jerry Tarkanian, whose nickname was Tark the Shark. Tarkanian, who was the UNLV coach when it opened, won a national championship in 1990 and took the team to three additional Final Fours (four Final Fours overall). [7] The facility also hosted the Las Vegas Thunder of the now defunct International Hockey League. It was also host of the Los Angeles Lakers pre-season games annually in October through 2013. In 2014 and 2015 their games were played at MGM Grand, and from 2016 onward at T-Mobile Arena.

The arena ranked 4th highest in college basketball attendance during the 2012-2013 season.

Arena Football

It was the former home of the Arena Football League's Las Vegas Sting, Las Vegas Gladiators, and Las Vegas Outlaws. In 2005 and 2006, the arena hosted the Arena Football League's ArenaBowl.

ArenaBowl XIX and ArenaBowl XX were the first two ArenaBowls to be held at a neutral site arena. In the past, the games had been played at the site of the highest seed in the playoffs.

In ArenaBowl XIX in 2005, the Colorado Crush, owned by John Elway defeated the Georgia Force on a field goal on the final play of the game. The game was ranked as one of the AFL's 20 best games ever in league history. The following year, 2006, the Chicago Rush, owned by Mike Ditka defeated the Orlando Predators 69-61 for the Rush's first championship in franchise history.


The venue hosted the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, marking the first time that this game was held in a city without a National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise. For the first time in NBA history, an on-campus college sports arena served as venue of an NBA All-Star Game. However, the arena had previously hosted home games for two NBA teams, the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers.

The Utah Jazz used the arena in the mid-1980s, and it was where Kareem Abdul-Jabbar broke Wilt Chamberlain's record for points in a career in 1984. The Lakers used the arena in 1992 for Game 4 of their first round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers, which Portland won 102–76. The NBA moved the game as a result of the Los Angeles riots.

The 1994-95 Big West Conference, 1997–99 Western Athletic Conference and 2000-03 Mountain West Conference men's basketball tournaments were held there as well. The Mountain West Conference basketball tournament returned in 2007 and stayed until 2013. [8]

In late 2007, CBS filmed part of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode, "Bull", at the Thomas & Mack Center, which was hosting the PBR World Finals.

The FIBA Americas Championship 2007 was held at Thomas & Mack Center from August 22 to September 2.


The Thomas & Mack Center hosts the National Finals Rodeo annually each December. It also hosted the PBR World Finals from 1999 to 2015 before the event moved to the new T-Mobile Arena from the 2016 season onward; starting in 2018, it will serve as the home to the PBR's annual "Last Cowboy Standing" event. [9] As a surprise during the 2018 PBR Finals in November, CEO Sean Gleason announced that the PBR Last Cowboy Standing event will be hosted at Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming starting in 2019. This move to the world's largest outdoor rodeo expands on a growing partnership. [10] [11]

Other sports events

On March 30, 1984, the USA Olympic volleyball team competed in the international competition at Thomas & Mack Center.

On September 12, 1992, Mexican boxing legend Julio César Chávez faced Hector "Macho" Camacho, and on September 15, 2012, his son Julio César Chávez, Jr. fought against Sergio Gabriel Martínez for the WBC Middleweight Belt.

The venue has hosted mixed martial arts events such as UFC 43 and Pride Fighting Championships 32 & 33.

Other events

The facility also hosts numerous other events, such as concerts, music festivals and conventions.

The gala grand opening was held on December 16, 1983, featuring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Diana Ross.

Rock band Mötley Crüe performed on March 16, 1984.

Sir Elton John's first performance at the arena was on August 24, 1984.

Other bands such as AC/DC, Van Halen, Metallica, Kiss, and Aerosmith performed in 1986.

On November 14, 1987, comedian Eddie Murphy performed at the arena.

On January 25, 1992, Guns N' Roses performed at the arena during their Use Your Illusion Tour. It was the largest attendance single performance concert with 17,590 fans in attendance. Later, the record was broken by U2 on November 18, 2001 when U2 sold 17,771 tickets. [12]

Pearl Jam performed at the arena on July 11, 1998.

Rock band Phish performed at the arena 10 times. The first time on November 13, 1997 as their Fall tour opener. They also played on October 30 and 31, 1998. During the Halloween Night performance, the band covered The Velvet Underground's "Loaded" album in its entirety during the second set. This performance is available on the band's official live release Live Phish Volume 16. The band returned to the arena for two shows in September 2000 on the 29th and 30th and again for two more shows in February 2003 on the 15th and 16th. They also played three shows in 2004 on April 15, 16 and 17th.

On September 11, 2003, Thomas & Mack Center celebrated its 20th anniversary, hosting R.E.M. in concert.

In September 2004, the World Music Awards was held at the arena, broadcast live on ABC.

On January 28, 2007, High School Musical: The Concert performed with over 10,000 people attending.

The arena has hosted lectures by Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev as part of various UNLV-affiliated lecture series.

On October 19, 2016, the arena hosted the final Presidential Debate for the 2016 presidential election. [13]


See also


  1. ^ "Thomas & Mack Center" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Timelines - University Building Completions". Archived from the original on 2013-04-09.
  3. ^ "University of Nevada - Las Vegas, Sports Renovations & Improvements". Ellerbe Becket. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Richard Rizzo Vice Chairman of Perini Building Co". Las Vegas Sun. June 28, 2007. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  6. ^ a b "UNLVREBELS.COM - University of Nevada Las Vegas Official Athletic Site".
  7. ^ Rhoden, William C. (1991-07-01). "Built on Big-Time Basketball, U.N.L.V. Tries to Scrub Its Image". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  8. ^ "Las Vegas awarded Mountain West tourney through 2013". 2 June 2009.
  9. ^ "PBR and WCRA join forces to produce major rodeos". Professional Bull Riders.
  10. ^ "PBR Last Cowboy Standing to be held at Cheyenne Frontier Days in 2019". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  11. ^ "PBR Last Cowboy Standing - Cheyenne Frontier Days". Cheyenne Frontier Days. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  12. ^ Center, Thomas & Mack. "Thomas & Mack Center" (PDF).
  13. ^ "2016 Presidential Debate Home - 2016 Presidential Debate - University of Nevada, Las Vegas".

External links

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Izod Center
Home of the
Las Vegas Gladiators

Succeeded by
Orleans Arena
Preceded by
Toyota Center
Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

Succeeded by
New Orleans Arena