The Sportscenter, one of Owensboro’s most historic buildings, opened in 1949. It is a multi-purpose 5,000 seat arena that hosts graduations, concerts, sporting events, trade shows, meetings, and receptions.
The Owensboro Sportscenter is home to the new North American Premier Basketball (NAPB) team, the Kentucky Thoroughbreds, the Division II Kentucky Wesleyan College Panthers Men’s and Women’s Basketball of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, and the Owensboro Catholic High School Aces Basketball.
The arena floor has over 11,000 square feet of usable space and can be modified for basketball, concerts, rodeos, expos, banquets, and a variety of other events.
The Sportscenter is managed by Spectra Venue Management.
Adolph Rupp’s “Fab Five” University of Kentucky team dedicated the building on February 5, 1949. The building opened the night before for a high school double header, but the UK game was the official grand opening.
Another memorable moment from the Wildcats came in 1952 when No. 4 Kentucky had their most convincing win ever against Ole Miss, handily defeating the Rebels 116-58 at the Owensboro Sportscenter. The Wildcats were led on offense by six players who scored in double figures, including junior Cliff Hagan’s 37 points.
Several big name artists performed at the Owensboro Sportscenter, especially in the late 1950’s and 1960’s, including Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Gene Autry, Eddie Arnold, Liberace, Merle Haggard, Bob Hope, and Roy Rogers. In the 1970’s, there were performances by such artists as Kiss and REO Speedwagon.