Erie Insurance Arena (originally known as Erie Civic Center and later, Louis J. Tullio Arena) is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the downtown area of Erie, Pennsylvania. It is home to the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League, and the Lake Erie Eagles of the National College Prospects Hockey League. It was built in 1983 as part of the Louis J. Tullio Plaza, which also includes the Warner Theatre and UPMC Park - all of which are administered by the Erie County Convention Center Authority. The arena is named for the Erie Insurance Group, which purchased the naming rights in May 2012.
Erie Insurance Arena was built for $9.3 million in 1983. It opened in June 1983 with a Beach Boys concert. Since then, it has hosted entertainers including Elton John, Rod Stewart, Cher, KISS, Barry Manilow, Alan Jackson, and Alice Cooper. Erie Insurance Arena has also featured Disney on Ice, World Wrestling Entertainment, Impact Wrestling, the Harlem Globetrotters, and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
In May 2012, the Erie County Convention Center Authority and the Erie Insurance Group announced a 10-year, $3 million naming agreement that would rename the former Louis J. Tullio Arena, "Erie Insurance Arena." This renaming coincided with the completion of the current $42 million renovation project that was completed in September 2013. The renovation, designed by Friday/Sink Combs Dethlefs Joint Venture Architects, modernized the arena and added some new sections and a landscaped park entrance. Construction on the project was carried out by the Pittsburgh-based Turner Construction Company. Improvements included additional seating and concourses. To accommodate this, its footprint expanded from the original 152,000-square-foot (14,100 m2) to 218,000-square-foot (20,300 m2). This increased the venue's capacity to 6,833 for hockey, 6,754 for basketball and about 9,000 for concerts. Erie Insurance Arena now has enlarged lobbies, more box office windows, luxury suites, administrative offices, mechanical rooms, training areas, new locker rooms, and a club level sponsored by the Erie Times-News. Funding for the renovations derived from $32 million pledged by former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, combined with $10 million paid by Erie County. The arena has hosted numerous high school and college basketball games. Two of the most notable basketball games were between Cathedral Preparatory School and McDowell and local colleges, Gannon University and Mercyhurst University. Both games featured rival schools. Both games generated the most attended high school and college basketball games in city history, both selling out at 5,500.
In September 2014, the Erie County Convention Center Authority completed a $1.4 million upgrade to the arena which had been dropped from the previous renovation due to a tightened budget. This upgrade included a closed-circuit video system, high-definition video panels on the east and west ends of the arena, and a high-definition "center ice" video scoreboard. The new scoreboard replaced the scoreboard added in 2006. The video boards replaced scoreboards from the original construction of the arena in 1983. The new scoreboard and video boards were manufactured by Daktronics.
Louis J. Tullio Arena, in conjunction with Mercyhurst College, hosted the 2011 NCAA National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Tournament, in which the Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Boston University Terriers in the championship final by a score of 4-1.
The Erie Insurance Arena, in conjunction with Gannon University, hosted the NCAA Women's Division II Basketball Championship, March 25–28.
Erie Insurance Arena offers conventional food and beverage offerings such as pizza and corn dogs, as well as some more local items such as Greek hot dogs, Greek nachos, and pepperoni balls. The venue offers a separate menu for the floor seats, which includes shrimp cocktails, spinach artichoke dips, steak burgers on a pretzel bun, chicken bacon sandwiches, Philadelphia cheesesteaks, and vegetable platters. It also features wine, beer, and mixed cocktail drinks.