Bon Secours Wellness Arena
|Location||650 North Academy Street
Greenville, SC 29601
|Owner||Greenville Arena District|
|Operator||Greenville Arena District|
Concert (Center Stage): 15,951
Concert (End Stage): 11,000-14,000
|Broke ground||March 7, 1996|
|Opened||September 3, 1998|
|Construction cost||$63 million
($91.5 million in 2016 dollars)
|Project manager||International Facilities Group, LLC.|
|Structural engineer||Geiger Engineers PC|
|General contractor||Fluor Daniel|
|Greenville Road Warriors/Swamp Rabbits (ECHL) (2010–present)
Greenville Force (SIFL) (2009–2010)
Greenville Grrrowl (ECHL) (1998–2006)
Carolina Rhinos (AF2) (2000–2002)
Greenville Groove (NBDL) (2001–2003)
Clemson Tigers men's basketball (NCAA) (2015–2016)
The Bon Secours Wellness Arena (formerly the Bi-Lo Center) is an arena located in downtown Greenville, South Carolina that is used for concerts, football, and hockey. The arena is currently used by the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL and the Clemson University men's basketball team. Due to the length of the official name, the arena is popularly known as "The Well".
The Bon Secours Wellness Arena was built in 1998 at a cost of US$63 million, under its former name of Bi-Lo Center, to replace Greenville's outdated and under-repaired Greenville Memorial Auditorium, which was imploded on September 20, 1997 on a site located across the street from the new arena. The arena naming rights were purchased by Dutch grocer Ahold, then-owner of BI-LO, which had been founded in nearby Mauldin and was still based there at the time. When it was built, it passed Columbia's Carolina Coliseum as the largest arena in the state of South Carolina, a distinction it held until 2002, when the Colonial Center was built in Columbia.
As a concert venue, the Bon Secours Wellness Arena can seat between 11,000 and 15,951 spectators, depending on the positioning of the stage. The arena features 30 luxury suites and 840 club seats.
The arena floor measures 113 feet (34 m) wide by 229 feet (70 m) long. There are 7,472 seats in the upper bowl and 4,809 permanent seats and 1,290 retractable seats in the lower bowl.
The Bon Secours Wellness Arena hosted the Southern Conference men's basketball tournament in 2000 and 2001, as well as first and second round games during the 2002 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. However, the NCAA then implemented a policy to not hold tournament games in either South Carolina or Mississippi, following a recommendation from the NAACP that was intended to call attention to the Confederate flag on display next to a monument on the grounds of the South Carolina State House. As a result, the Bon Secours Wellness Arena has not hosted an NCAA Tournament game since 2002. College basketball made its return to Greenville in 2005, when the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament was played at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, due to an emergency situation. The Philips Arena in Atlanta was the scheduled site for the tournament, but it backed out in the summer of 2004 because of logistics, following plans for the 54th NHL All-Star Game which was to be held just six weeks before the 2005 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament. Once the plans were announced, the SEC had moved that tournament to Greenville, again garnering considerable protest from the NAACP. Even with the 2004–05 NHL lockout, the SEC kept the tournament in Greenville, which is 140 miles (230 km) northeast of Atlanta.
The arena has also served as the home for the Greenville Groove (2001–2003), one of the original members of the NBA Development League, as well as the Carolina Rhinos football team (2000–2002), one of the inaugural members of AF2, the Arena Football League's minor league. It has also hosted both versions of Greenville's team in the ECHL: the first, the Grrrowl (1998–2006), hosted the 2002 Kelly Cup finals, and the second, the Greenville Road Warriors/Swamp Rabbits.
Currently, the Bon Secours Wellness Arena also regularly hosts a wide variety of events such as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, professional wrestling, monster truck rallies, motocross racing, professional ice skating, such as the Champions on Ice, ice dancing shows and competitions, dog shows, and concerts spanning many different musical genres.
Normally, the South Carolina High School League Upper State basketball finals would be held in the arena, but it was moved to Littlejohn Coliseum at Clemson University because of the 2008 Bassmaster Classic weigh-in ceremonies, and therefore was held at the former Bi-Lo Center.
The arena hosted Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's pay-per-view Against All Odds on February 10, 2008. On April 21, 2008 it hosted the King of the Ring edition of WWE Raw. On December 8, 2014 it hosted the 2014 WWE Slammy Awards.
On February 14, 2010, Johnstown Chiefs, of the ECHL, announced that the team would be moving to Greenville, SC, from Johnstown, PA for the 2010-2011 season, and had signed a five-year deal to play at the Bi-Lo Center. This ended a five-year hockey drought in Greenville, after the Grrowl of the ECHL folded. Greenville has a rich minor league hockey history, with the Grrowl having won the Kelley Cup in 2002.
On September 18, 2013, the Bi-Lo Center was officially renamed the Bon Secours Wellness Arena after the Bon Secours Health System, owner of St. Francis Health System in Greenville, had bought the naming rights.
Due to the significant renovation planned for Clemson University's Littlejohn Coliseum, the Clemson Tigers men's and women's basketball teams will play their home games for the 2015–2016 season at BSWA.
In 2015, as a result of the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State Capitol, Bon Secours Wellness Arena is now eligible to host NCAA postseason events. For basketball, the earliest this could occur would be 2019, since NCAA Tournament dates have already been determined through 2018.
In February 2011, a woman attending a circus performance at the Bi-Lo Center abandoned a baby she delivered herself in an arena toilet. Jessica Blackham was arrested and charged with two counts of felony child abuse and one count of child neglect. The infant was given a positive prognosis.
- "Bi-Lo Center Breaking Ground Today in Downtown Greenville". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. March 7, 1996. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
- "Bi-Lo Center". International Facilities Group. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
- Findlay, Prentiss (September 3, 1998). "On the Town". The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). Retrieved September 23, 2011.
- Associated Press (September 21, 1997). "Greenville Memorial Auditorium Is History". The State (Greenville, SC). Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- "Chiefs Seeking Relocation for 2010-11". Johnstown Chiefs. February 14, 2010. Archived from the original on January 27, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
- Byrum, John (January 25, 2012). "Jason Aldean's Bi-Lo Center Gig Sets Record". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
- Robinson, Mandrallius (April 17, 2015). "The Well gives Clemson a home away from home". The Greenville News. Archived from the original on July 12, 2015. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
- Associated Press (February 10, 2011). "Mom: Woman Who Left Baby In Toilet Can't Remember". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- Shackleford, Lynne P. (February 8, 2011). "Condition of Newborn Found in Toilet at Bi-Lo Center Improves". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
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|Host of Against All Odds
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