The five-year contract begins this season and runs through the 2017-18 campaign. The tentative 2013-14 schedule has Milwaukee hosting DePaul Nov. 19 in its first regular season game back downtown. Facility availability for the full 2013-14 slate is still being finalized.
The new agreement returns the Panthers to the Cell after the team played its 2012-13 season at the on-campus Klotsche Center.
"It is exciting to be moving our men's basketball games back to the U.S. Cellular Arena," Milwaukee director of athletics Amanda Braun said. "We've had great discussions with officials from the Wisconsin Center District over the last few months about our partnership, and we've constructed an agreement that is extremely positive for everyone. We are seeking the best opportunities for all of our programs to be successful, and the Cell makes sense as the home for our men's basketball program."
"This is the right thing for our program," Milwaukee men's basketball coach Rob Jeter said. "We've always felt comfortable at the Cell and we feel very good about calling that our home. Our fans enjoy watching games there and our players enjoy playing there. We have created a lot of great memories at the Cell and we look forward to creating even more in the future."
"Downtown Milwaukee serves as a hub for Panthers' fans and we are excited to be partnering once again with UWM and the Panthers' basketball team," Wisconsin Center District board chairman Franklyn Gimbel said. "The location, as well as the intimate atmosphere, positions the U.S. Cellular Arena as a first-class college basketball venue."
"We look forward to welcoming the team back to downtown and joining with students and fans to cheer the Panthers on to victory," Wisconsin Center District president and CEO Richard Geyer said.
"Playing downtown allows us to increase our outreach in the community while still engaging our student population," Braun said. "The Wisconsin Center District was very much on-board with considering ways to assist us in making our games more accessible to all. Lower ticket fees and increased promotional opportunities will have a tangible positive impact for us."
UWM students will continue to receive free admission to games, and the free transportation from campus to the Cell on gamedays will also return.
"We all agree student involvement and engagement is a big part of college basketball," Braun said. "The WCD is going to do their part by assisting us in some areas. Internally, we're forming student focus groups and reaching out to other groups to make sure we do everything we can to make going to games downtown a must-do for students."