The top 10 largest college basketball arenas in the United States

The top 10 largest college basketball arenas in the United States

Grace Waruguru
updated at April 21, 2023 at 8:17 AM

College basketball is one of the most popular sports in America. Which are the largest college basketball arenas in the country? These venues accommodate thousands of fans at every game as they support their favourite teams. Keep reading to discover these massive venues, their locations, and their capacity.

top 10 largest college basketball arenas
A match between the San Diego State Aztecs and the Creighton Bluejays held at KFC YUM! Center on March 26, 2023, in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Joe Robbins
Source: Getty Images

Did you know that it is mandatory for every basketballer to play college basketball for one year before becoming a professional? The sport is widely appreciated in America, which has led to the construction of state-of-the-art courts in various colleges. So, which are the largest college basketball arenas?

Largest college basketball arenas

Basketball fans have asked, ''What are the largest college basketball arenas?'' Besides basketball, these venues have hosted multiple events, including concerts, government, and religious events. Most have undergone continuous renovation and improvement to stay at the top. Here is a list of the largest college basketball arenas:

1. Carrier Dome, Syracuse University

largest college basketball arenas
A general view of the Carrier Dome on March 4, 2023, in Syracuse, New York. Photo: Isaiah Vazquez
Source: Getty Images

You might wonder, ''what is the largest college basketball arena in the US?'' Syracuse University has the largest college basketball arena in the US, with 34,616 seats. The stadium was opened in 1980 and can accommodate up to 49,262 fans during competitions.

The home of the Syracuse University Orange team is located on Irvin Avenue, New York. Carrier Dome is a multi-purpose facility that has hosted other events like music concerts. Some renowned players, including Dwayne "Pearl" Washington and Billy Owens, have graced the pitch.

2. Rupp Arena, University of Kentucky

Kentucky's Chris Livingston
Kentucky's Chris Livingston going for the dunk against Texas A&M University at the Rupp Arena on January 21st, 2023
Source: Getty Images

The Rupp Arena is home to the University of Kentucky's Wildcats. Rupp Arena's capacity is over 23,000, ranking it among the largest college basketball arenas by capacity. The venue was established in 1976 and is named after former head coach Adolph Rupp who coached the college team between 1930 and 1972.

3. KFC Yum! Centre, University of Louisville

biggest college basketball arenas
A match between Creighton Bluejays and the San Diego State Aztecs at KFC YUM! Center on March 26, 2023, in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Andy Lyons
Source: Getty Images

Lousville's KFC Yum! Centre is among the top 10 largest college basketball arenas. The space seats 22,090 fans and is shared by the university's women's basketball and volleyball teams. Additionally, the centre is a favourite spot for live entertainment in Kentucky and has hosted numerous concerts and comedy shows.

The overall square footage of the centre is 721,762 square feet, equivalent to 13 football fields. The venue has hosted major events, including the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship in 2011 and the NCAA Men's Basketball South Regionals in 2019.

4. Dean Smith Centre, University of North Carolina

largest NCAA basketball arenas
An aerial view of the Dean E. Smith Center during a game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils on March 04, 2023, at the Dean Smith Center. Photo: Peyton Williams
Source: Getty Images

The Dean Smith Centre, located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is one of the biggest college basketball arenas. Established in 1896, the sports venue seats 21,750 individuals during basketball games and 20,380 for concerts. The venue attracts many North Carolina Tar Heels fans, seeing the team remain among the top in national attendance.

5. Thompson-Boling Arena, University of Tennessee

largest college basketball arenas in the US
Jonas Aidoo of the Tennessee Volunteers dunks before the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Thompson-Boling Arena on February 15, 2023. Photo: Eakin Howard
Source: Getty Images

The Tennessee Vols facility is undoubtedly one of the biggest college basketball arenas in America. The venue is located in Knoxville, Tennessee, and has 21,678 seats. Thompson-Boiling was opened in 1967 and hosts the Tennessee Women's basketball and volleyball teams.

Additionally, the Thompson-Boiling Arena hosts other events, including concerts and conferences. Since its establishment, the venue has undergone several renovations, setting it apart as one of the top basketball venues in the country.

6. Capital One Arena, Georgetown University

biggest college basketball arenas in America
Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets drives to the basket against the Washington Wizards on April 9, 2023, at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. Photo: Stephen Gosling
Source: Getty Images

Formerly known as the Verizon Centre, Capital One ranks among the largest D1 basketball arenas in America. (Division 1). The venue is home to several teams, including the NBA Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and NCAA’s Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team.

The facility's video scoreboard and walls are a significant attraction. Located in Washington, D.C., Capital One seats 20,356 fans and has a part-time home court. Besides sports, the indoor site has hosted events by Beyonce, Elton John, and Lady Gaga.

7. Madison Square Garden, St. John's University

what are the largest college basketball arenas
Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks addresses the crowd at Madison Square Garden before the game against the Indiana Pacers on April 9, 2023. Photo: David Dow
Source: Getty Images

Madison Square Garden, New York, prides itself as the world's most famous arena. The venue is one of the largest NCAA basketball arenas, with a seating capacity of 19,812. The St. John's University home facility hosts NCAA tournament games and various concerts and is also the home court for the New York Knicks and The Rangers (National Hockey League).

Since its opening in 1879, Madison Square has hosted numerous events, including four Democratic National Conventions, one Republican National Convention, and two visits by the Roman Catholic Pope (1979 and 2015).

8. PNC Arena, North Carolina State University

largest D1 basketball arenas
A general view of the PNC Arena on April 04, 2023, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photo: Jaylynn Nash
Source: Getty Images

PNC Arena is located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is home to the Carolina Hurricanes and North Caroline State University Men’s Basketball. The venue was opened in 1999 and can seat 19,722 fans. The multi-purpose facility has hosted several events and concerts and is one of the largest sports centres in South East America.

9. The Schottenstein Center, Ohio State University

largest college basketball arenas by capacity
Jamia Hazell of the James Madison Dukes shoots the ball during the match against the Ohio State Buckeyes held at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on March 18, 2023. Photo: Jay LaPrete
Source: Getty Images

The Schottenstein Center was opened in 1998 and has a sitting capacity of 19,500 but can accommodate up to 20,000 when rearranged. The venue is home to Ohio State University's men's and women's basketball teams and men's ice hockey.

Schottenstein has hosted notable events, including the Frozen Fur, Arena Football, wrestling championships, and presidential events. The venue pays tribute to the late Jerome Schottenstein, a Columbus businessman, philanthropist, and founder of Schottenstein Stores Corp. He was also an ardent supporter of Ohio State University.

10. Bud Walton Arena, University of Arkansas

largest college basketball arenas
An aerial view of Bud Walton Arena of the Arkansas Razorbacks during a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bud Walton Arena on February 11, 2023. Photo: Wesley Hitt
Source: Getty Images

Bud Walton Arena was opened in 1993 and is named after James "Bud" Walton, Walmart's co-founder, who donated significant funds to build the arena. The space seats approximately 19,368 fans.

One of the unique features of the indoor stadium is a deluxe museum on the ground level that has a tribute to Arkansas’ 1994 NCAA Men’s Championship and multiple Final Four appearances and the history of Razorback basketball, track and field, tennis, golf, and baseball.

The largest college basketball arenas serve as status symbols for the host institutions and communities around them. They are also a brilliant income channel as they host diverse events to entertain fans worldwide.

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Grace Waruguru photo
Grace Waruguru
Grace has over 4 years of experience in article writing and digital media content creation for various local and global brands. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication (Public Relations) from Daystar University, Kenya.
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