BYU's 18,987-seat basketball arena is truly a hoop heaven. There is no place quite like it in college basketball. Since the facility's opening game on Dec. 3, 1971, 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 and quality college basketball. The Marriott Center is named for successful Utah businessman J. Willard Marriott and has the 10th-largest capacity in college basketball.
Home Court Advantage
The BYU men's basketball team has won 80 percent of its games in the Marriott Center and boasts some of the nation's longest home victory streaks 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 raise awareness 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 at home in the history of the rivalry. In 2011, No. 9 BYU defeated No. 4 San Diego State behind Jimmer Fredette's heroic 43-point effort. On senior night in 2020, the No. 23 Cougars defeated No. 2 Gonzaga 91-78 – the highest ranked opponent BYU has defeated in the Marriott Center.
BYU has ranked in the top 25 nationally in paid attendance every year but six since the Marriott Center opened. The Cougars have led the nation in three seasons, finished second four times and been among the top-five attendance leaders 19 times since 1971. In 2010-11, BYU finished sixth in the nation in attendance and posted eight sellouts. 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.
"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 are 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 play with there.”
Facilities and Updates
The Marriott Center covers three acres and encloses eight million cubic feet. The roof, which is the size of two football fields placed side-by-side, is 10 stories high and is held together by 50,000 bolts. The four-million pound roof was constructed first at ground level, then raised 38 feet. There are seven locker rooms, a President’s room, two reception rooms, press and interview rooms, team rooms and a training room.
During the summer of 2012, the lower-bowl bench seating on the north side of the arena was replaced with prime chair seating and a new sound system was installed in the arena. The men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms were also renovated.
In 2015, the rest of the lower-bowl seating was replaced with prime chair seating and a new, state-of-the-art scoreboard was installed. Ground was also broken for the Marriott Center Annex (completed and dedicated in 2017), a practice facility for the men's and women's programs.
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 BYU’s first game in the Marriott Center. An additional floor upgrade was installed in 2007.
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 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.