Formerly known as Alumni Hall, Carnesecca Arena opened its doors in December 1961. St. John's won the inaugural game at Carnesecca Arena, defeating George Washington University, 79-65. Carnesecca Arena is the on-campus facility for the men's and women's basketball, volleyball and men's and women's fencing teams. In 525 games at Carnesecca Arena, St. John's men's basketball has compiled an impressive 443-83 (.842) record, giving the Red Storm a true home-court advantage.
In the fall of 2004, as part of a dedication ceremony honoring St. John's Hall of Fame coach, the University renamed the court and the building for longtime mentor Lou Carnesecca. Along with the renaming of the arena, the University approved to renovate the building.
The three year renovation plan of Carnesecca Arena ended up costing $30 million in total. The new floor plan expanded the lobby of Carnesecca Arena, which was transformed to honor past and present St. John's teams with displays of championship hardware. New ticket windows are stationed outside the front entrance for easy access for fans while creating a better traffic flow for large crowds. In addition, the arena now has a center hung scoreboard, refurbished locker rooms and administrative offices. Carnesecca Arena after its makeover was open for business in 2008.
The building is one of the homes for St. John's Athletics, featuring the newly-opened Student-Athlete Center for Excellence, a weight room for varsity athletes, a cardiovascular room, locker rooms and office and meeting space for coaches and administrators.
With a seating capacity of 5,602 Carnesecca Arena ranks as the fourth-largest indoor arena in the Metropolitan area, behind the Meadowlands, Madison Square Garden and Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In 1961, the year the facility was opened, the building was rated second only to Madison Square Garden.