As the basketball lights turned on at the BankUnited Center (BUC) on Friday, Jan. 18, staff prepared for the 368th basketball game to be played at the venue since it opened on Jan. 4, 2003.
However, this game would be different from all others — this would be the first high school basketball game to be played at the Global Spectrum-managed arena on the campus of the University of Miami.
With the Belen Jesuit Wolverines squaring off against the Christopher Columbus Explorers, these rival schools would make history as the BankUnited Center celebrates 10 years of sports and entertainment in the city of Coral Gables.
Prior to the start of the game, the achievement of bringing this match to the venue was recognized as Global Spectrum’s Lorenzo Muniz, general manager of the BankUnited Center, was given the Seal of the City alongside others by Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason, Coral Gables City Commissioner Frank Quesada and Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez.
To bookend this great game performed by Miami’s very own high school athletes and witnessed by a crowd of more 3,400, a three-point buzzer beater shot was made to win the game for the Explorers and create another memorable moment to add to the BUC’s 10-year history.
When the BankUnited Center first opened its doors in January 2003 with the Miami Hurricanes defeating the University of North Carolina Tarheels in an overtime win, the event marked the first time a mid-size venue had opened south of Downtown Miami in Miami-Dade County. Currently, the BUC still remains the largest facility of its kind south of Downtown Miami and continues to live up to its tagline “The Best Mid-Size Venue in the World.”
Throughout the past 10 years, the BUC has hosted hundreds of memorable events and sold-out shows, opening with Coldplay and continuing on with concerts such as Green Day, John Mayer, Drake, The Fray, and Barry Manilow, as well as being the setting for televised events and award shows such as the 2004 Presidential Debates, Univision’s 2012 Meet the Candidates, Unplugged featuring Ricky Martin and Thalia, Premio Lo Nuestro, Premios Juventud, Billboard’s Latin Music Awards, and the first Season of Fox’s The X Factor.
The venue also has welcomed worldrenowned figures and politicians, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, former President Bill Clinton, current President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Sen. John McCain, Gov. Mitt Romney, and recently Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Throughout the rest of the year, the BankUnited Center will continue to celebrate the past decade by bringing entertaining shows to the residents of Coral Gables and all of South Florida.
A brief ceremony also will take place to commemorate the anniversary where it all started as the Miami Hurricanes battle the UNC Tarheels once again on Feb. 9 at 2 p.m.
Between basketball games, awards shows, concerts and political speeches, the BankUnited Center continues to make its mark on the University of Miami campus and looks forward to enlarging its footprint on the national stage for another decade.
The Bank United Center, an 8,000-seat multipurpose entertainment facility located at 1245 Dauer Dr. on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus, hosts concerts, family shows, trade shows, lecture series, sporting events and the University of Miami men’s and women’s basketball teams.
For more information call 305-284- 8686 or visit online at www.BankUnitedCenter.com