BYU's 18,987-seat basketball arena is truly a hoop heaven. There is no place quite like it in college basketball. Over the past 46 years, the Marriott Center has been home to the thrills and cheers of BYU basketball. With a history full of game-winning shots, slam dunks and some of the nation's top attendance marks, the Marriott Center's 18,987 seats have allowed BYU fans to see plenty of excitement since the facility's opening game on Dec. 3, 1971.
The Marriott Center is named for successful Utah businessman J. Willard Marriott and is the eighth-largest on-campus arena in the country behind Syracuse's Carrier Dome (33,000) and Kentucky's Rupp Arena (23,000). The building covers three acres and encloses 8 million cubic feet. There are approximately 10,100 chair seats with the balance being bleacher seats. About 40 percent of the seats are below the concourse level. The distance around the concourse level is a quarter of a mile. The roof, which is the size of two football fields placed side-by-side, is 10 stories high and has 50,000 bolts in it. The four-million pound roof was constructed first at ground level, then raised 38 feet.
"The Marriott Center is one of the top five places to play in the country, not just because of its size, but because its facilities are fantastic," said former UTEP head coach Don Haskins, the subject of the 2006 film Glory Road. "If there is a better arena, I haven't seen it."
"I don’t know how many places out east, the center of the universe, have a place like BYU," said Gonzaga coach Mark Few. "There’s 20,000 people that roll in there, and they’re as dedicated to the cause of cheering for their Cougars as any place I’ve ever been. And we’ve been fortunate enough to basically be everywhere. Unbelievable home court. Unbelievable effort they place with there. Any really, difficult team and place to play because of the way Dave Rose coaches them up.”
There are seven locker rooms, a President's room, two reception rooms, press and interview rooms, men's and women's team rooms and a training room.
Improvements to the exterior and interior took place in 2007, including glass exterior walls and new lighting. In 2006 the original suspended floor, installed in 1971, was replaced with a Connor Uniforce floor and seismic upgrades took place. Fittingly, the last game played on the original floor featured the jersey retirement of Cougar great Kresimir Cosic, who played in the first game in the Marriott Center. An additional floor upgrade was installed in 2007.
Home Court Advantage
The BYU men's basketball team has a .801 winning percentage in the Marriott Center over its 46 years. The Cougars have gone 251-32 (.887) in the Marriott Center over the past 18 years, boasting the nation's longest home victory streak from 2000 to 2003 (44 games) and from 2005 to 2008 (a program-record 53 games).
Some great games have been played in the Marriott Center, including Danny Ainge and company’s 19-point shellacking of No. 7 Utah in 1981 before the Cougars’ run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. In 2002, BYU put on an incredible run to erase a 21-point second-half deficit and defeat Utah 63-61, helping preserve a perfect 16-0 home record. The Cougars played their 500th game in the Marriott Center on Feb. 22, 2006, against league-leader San Diego State, putting together a thrilling 59-point second-half performance on the way to a 100-90 win.
In 2010 — with BYU donning pink-trimmed uniforms and pink shoes to show support in the battle against Cancer — Jimmer Fredette put on a show in front of a sellout crowd, scoring 36 points in an 82-69 victory over Utah. Fredette’s 36 points are the most scored by a Cougar against the Utes in the history of the rivalry. In 2011, No. 9 BYU defeating No. 4 San Diego State behind Jimmer Fredette's heroic 43-point effort.
The top three attendance games in the history of the Mountain West Conference have all been played in the Marriott Center. BYU has ranked in the top 25 nationally in paid attendance every year but four since the Marriott Center opened. The Cougars have led the nation three years, finished second four times and been among the top five attendance leaders 19 times over the past 46 years. In 2010-11, BYU finished sixth in the nation in attendance and posted eight sellouts. The Cougars also out-drew the regular season conference champions of 30 of the nation's 31 conferences as well as every program in the Big 10, the Big 12 and Pac 10 and all but one ACC school, all but two SEC teams and all but two Big East teams.
In 1972, 1977, 1979 and 1982, BYU hosted NCAA Regionals. The 1988 Western Athletic Conference Tournament was also held in the Marriott Center. In addition to the fans it draws for basketball, capacity crowds have filled the arena for devotionals, commencement exercises, concerts and pageants. As a sports venue, it has also accommodated BYU tennis, wrestling, volleyball and gymnastics contests as well as NBA exhibition games.
BYU's Marriott Center includes a full-service press room complete with copy machine, ethernet ports and wireless internet service. A second room adjacent to the press room serves as a work area for photographers. Postgame press conferences are held in a hosting room located across from the press room, where a portable backdrop is hung from the ceiling.
During games, media sit on Press Row, which runs along the south side of the basketball court. Home and visiting radio crews are located at floor level while all other media members are seated on an elevated second row.
Click here for men's basketball's yearly attendance
MARRIOTT CENTER ANNEX
The Marriott Center Annex was dedicated on Feb. 7, 2017. The Annex houses a basketball practice facility and associated services for the BYU men’s and women’s basketball programs.
At approximately 38,000 square feet, the annex connects to the east end of the Marriott Center and sits adjacent to the BYU Broadcasting Building. The location provides an ideal situation for both the men’s and women’s basketball programs to continue using the recently renovated team locker rooms as well as the Marriott Center floor for practice and competition.
The annex will features a replica of the Marriott Center floor with added shooting areas on both ends of the court. In addition, the facility includes a strength and conditioning center; a training room with hydrotherapy and cryotherapy; office suites for men’s and women’s basketball; meeting rooms; team lounge and study areas; and a basketball hall of honor showcasing the history and tradition of BYU basketball.
The Marriott Center Annex was funded through generous private donations and includes funding for future maintenance of the facility.