Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Bon Secours Wellness Arena in 2016.
|Location||650 North Academy Street
Greenville, South Carolina 29601
|Owner||Greenville Arena District|
|Operator||Greenville Arena District|
Concert (Center Stage): 17,300
Concert (End Stage): 13,000 - 16,500
|Broke ground||March 7, 1996|
|Opened||September 3, 1998|
|Construction cost||$63 million
($92.6 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 (NBA D-League) (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, basketball, and hockey. The arena is currently used by the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL. 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Arena was built in 1998 at a cost of US$63 million, under its former name of Bi-Lo Center, to replace Greenville's outdated and under-repaired Greenville Memorial Auditorium, which was imploded on September 20, 1997 on a site located across the street from the new arena.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. 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.
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. One notable event in WWE was on December 18, 2000 on Raw is War when "The Texas Rattlesnake" Stone Cold Steve Austin, which the event took place on his 36th birthday, fought against William Regal in a non-title match. Austin gave Regal the Stunner, then proceeded to hit him with his title belt. At that moment, the referee called out the bell; causing Austin to lose the match by disqualification. Austin then stunned the referee before taunting Regal as he walks out of the ring.
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 played 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 under normal circumstances would have been 2019, since NCAA Tournament dates were determined at the time through 2018.
On October 5, 2016, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood announced they would be performing at the arena as part of The Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood. There originally is one concert scheduled on November 19, 2016, but previous tour stops have added more shows based on demand.
On March 17 and 19, 2017, the arena hosted the first and second-round games for the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, its first NCAA postseason basketball event since 2002. These games were originally scheduled to take place at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, North Carolina; however, in September 2016 the NCAA announced it will move all championships tournament games scheduled to take place in North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year, due to North Carolina's controversial House Bill 2. Two Final Four teams played their 1st and 2nd round games there: the South Carolina Gamecocks and the North Carolina Tar Heels.
- "Bi-Lo Center Breaking Ground Today in Downtown Greenville". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. March 7, 1996. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
- "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.
- "NCAA lifts ban on holding championships in South Carolina". 10 July 2015.
- "Greenville, Get Ready for the Garth Experience". Garth Brooks. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
- "Greenville to host 2017 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament".
- "NCAA Announces Sites for Relocated Championships". NCAA. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
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|Host of Against All Odds
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