Skip to content
Concert Xfest
Concert Crowd
sportscenter floor

Celebrating 75 Years!

The Sportscenter, one of Owensboro’s most historic buildings, is celebrating 75 years next month! It’s fair to say that virtually everyone in Owensboro has a memory connected to the venue, be it a game, concert, graduation, or other event.

Adolph Rupp’s “Fab Five” University of Kentucky basketball 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 venue’s official Grand Opening. An adjoining outdoor public pool in the shape of a football followed the next year in 1950. It was later closed due to structural issues.

Throughout the years, the venue has hosted such legendary acts as Bob Hope, Gene Autry, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Liberace, Nat King Cole, Guy Lombardo, Fleetwood Mac, and of course KISS – with their performance on August 27, 1975 where the pyrotechnics allegedly caught the roof on fire. Tickets for that concert were only $5 in advance and $6 at the door.

Concerts throughout the 2000’s have seen performances by Kenny Rogers, REO Speedwagon, Kansas, Three Dog Night, Tracy Lawrence, Clay Walker, Justin Moore, Puddle of Mudd, Travis Tritt, Gary Allan, Jake Owen, and most recently in 2023, for King & Country and the sold-out Jack Harlow No Place Like Home – The Kentucky Tour.

The venue has also hosted a variety of other events throughout the years, offering entertainment to audiences of all ages, including circuses, gun and knife shows, wrestling including WWE NXT, the Harlem Globetrotters, cheerleading competitions, Monsters on the Ohio, and more.  Last year saw two firsts for the venue hosting LFA 160, a mixed martial arts event with two championship matchups on the card and the first rodeo that was part of the PBR Challenger Series with Bulls and Ghouls.

In addition, thousands of high school and college graduates have received their diplomas at commencement ceremonies at the Owensboro Sportscenter throughout the years. The venue is still the site of many graduation ceremonies today!

Of course, many local residents would argue the Sportscenter’s true heartbeat is basketball – from the UK dedication game in 1949 all the way through to today. The venue is home to the 8-time NCAA Division II Champion Kentucky Wesleyan College Panthers and has repeatedly hosted marquee matchups such as the KHSAA 3rd Region Tournament, the Kentucky 2A State Basketball Tournament, and the oldest continuing high school all-star game in the United States, the Kentucky Indiana All-Star Game. 
The venue was recognized as a Glory Road site by the Kentucky Hight School Basketball Hall of Fame on February 11, 2022.  The sites celebrate high school basketball rivalries across the state of Kentucky and are selected on the basis of contributions to communities and high school basketball.
OVG 360 (previously Spectra) took over management of the venue in 2016. Since that time, renovations have been made to the concessions area, restrooms, roof, parking lot, basketball court, new LED lights, new LED videoboards, and more all in an effort to provide a better experience for guests attending events at the venue.  A new venue website and social channels were also launched in 2016 which had previously not existed. These have been vital additions to keeping guests informed about the venue and upcoming events.
OVG 360 is excited to celebrate the venue’s diamond anniversary and will be offering 75 cent popcorn the weekend leading into the anniversary during the OCHS vs. Daviess Co. games on Friday, February 2 and the Ruoff Mortgage 2nd vs. 3rd Region Classic on Saturday, February 3.

Fans attending the February 2 game also have a chance to get their hands on a Sportscenter 75th Anniversary Rally Towel!  Those will be given out to the first 275 guests through the doors.  And in keeping with the 75 theme, attendees at that game 18 years and older can also register for a chance to win a 75 inch TV!  Must be present to win.  Winner will be drawn during halftime of the Aces/Panthers game.