New UT Arena To Be Named Moody Center After $130M Gift From Foundation

Nov 10, 2019

The new basketball and events arena at the University of Texas will be named the Moody Center, after a $130 million gift to the school from the Moody Foundation. It will replace the 42-year-old Frank Erwin Center.

"There is no more fitting Texas name for a world-class arena in the heart of our campus than 'Moody,'" UT President Gregory Fenves said in a statement released by the school. "This will be a state-of-the-art events center that will serve Texas' student-athletes and benefit the entire Austin community. I am grateful to the Moodys for their generosity."

Drawing of the to-be-built Moody Center south of Texas' soccer and football stadiums.
Credit Oak View Group/UT Austin

UT Austin says the Moody Foundation has now given it more than $200 million and more than a quarter of a billion dollars to the UT System. The school of communications, home of KUT, also carries the Moody name.

Texas basketball coaches call the gift a game changer.

"Our entire program is tremendously grateful," men's basketball coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. "We are very much looking forward to seeing the Moody Center become a reality over the next few years."

Women's coach Karen Aston shared the sentiment.

"The Moody Center will be transformative for not only our student-athletes, but for our student body and our fans," she said.

Artist concept of the interior of the Moody Center. Ground-breaking is scheduled for next month.
Credit Oak View Group/UT Austin

It has been 11 months since the university introduced a pair of novel concepts in modern college athletics. The first was Matthew McConaughey being officially tapped as "Minister of Culture." But the second was perhaps more innovative. The university partnered with Oak View Group to build a 10,000-seat basketball arena without costing the school any money.

Under the original announced deal, Oak View would recoup costs on ticket and concession proceeds for concerts and other non-UT athletics events for 10 years and then a profit sharing arrangement after.

The gift from the Moody Foundation casts some ambiguity as to the specifics of how that money fits into the deal. But it is theoretically still on track to be built without cost to the school or state.

The Board of Regents approved a new practice facility Nov. 6 to be built adjacent to the Moody Center. It will replace the Cooley Pavillion, the current basketball practice gym next to the Erwin Center. Once both new projects are complete, the old facilities will be razed for expansion of the Dell Medical School.

The Frank Erwin Center opened in 1977. It is set to be torn down to make way for the expansion of the UT medical center.
Credit Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT