Santa Ana Star Center
|Former names||Rio Rancho Events Center|
|Location||3001 Civic Centre Drive
Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87144
|Broke ground||June 14, 2005|
|Opened||October 21, 2006|
|Construction cost||$47 million USD
($55 million in 2015 dollars)
|Architect||Sink Combs Dethlefs|
|Project manager||Frew Nations Group|
|Structural engineer||Martin & Martin|
|General contractor||Hunt/Bradbury Stamm|
|New Mexico Mustangs (NAHL) (2010-2012)
New Mexico Stars (IFL) (2012-present)
New Mexico Scorpions (CHL) (2006-2009)
New Mexico Wildcats (AIFA) (2008-2009)
New Mexico Thunderbirds (D-League) (2010-2011)
Santa Ana Star Center is a 7,000-seat multi-purpose arena in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, a suburb of Albuquerque. The arena is located near the intersection of Unser Boulevard and Paseo del Volcan. It is part of a larger "City Centre" project, which also includes a new city hall.
Santa Ana Star Casino purchased the naming rights to the arena in a five-year, $2.5 million deal signed in July 2006. The arena was previously known as Rio Rancho Events Center.
The arena was completed at a cost of $47 million USD and opened on October 21, 2006. The first sports event in the arena was a hockey game on October 27, 2006, with the New Mexico Scorpions falling to the Arizona Sundogs 3-1 in front of a sellout crowd.
In April of 2009, the city of Rio Rancho awarded Global Spectrum as the management company for the Santa Ana Star Center.
It is currently home to the New Mexico Stars of the Indoor Football League. It was formerly home to the New Mexico Mustangs of the North American Hockey League, the New Mexico Scorpions of the Central Hockey League, the New Mexico Wildcats of the American Indoor Football Association, and the New Mexico Thunderbirds, of the NBA Development League.
The arena has been controversial since its construction, given its light attendance and its failure to turn a profit, despite the claims of Global Entertainment, the company hired to build and manage the arena, prior to the arena's development. As of 2011, the City of Rio Rancho expects to pay $3.6 million in 2011 to keep the arena running and to pay for its bonds, nearly 7 percent of the city’s $53.8 million budget. Sam Bregman, owner of the former New Mexico Thunderbirds, stated that he believed the venue was not a good fit for his team, saying "The Rio Rancho arena is beautiful, but it’s a long way out."
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- Neal Singer (November 1, 2006). "Feature Story - November 2006 Sporting & Events Center". Southwest Construction. Retrieved November 19, 2011.
- "Company’s Arenas Leave Cities With Big Problems". The New York Times. 2011-05-16. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
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