UCSB’s Campus Events Center was built in 1979. The Thunderdome was born in eight years later.
As Gaucho basketball evolved into a Big West power, the building in which it made its mark also evolved, emerging as one of the nation’s most feared venues. Few arenas inspire fear. The Thunderdome is one of them.
Christened The Thunderdome, with a nod to the Mel Gibson film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, because of sheer volume of noise it produces, the home to UCSB basketball became a nightmare to visitors. Opponents not only had to deal with great Gaucho teams, but they also had to handle a level of noise beyond what their imaginations could muster.
It’s humble exterior belies the Thunderdome’s inner beauty and power. It has become more than an arena, it’s become legend.