Cow Palace

Coordinates: 37°42′24″N 122°25′7″W / 37.70667°N 122.41861°W / 37.70667; -122.41861
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cow Palace
Former namesCalifornia State Livestock Pavilion (1941–44)
Address2600 Geneva Avenue
LocationDaly City, California
Coordinates37°42′24″N 122°25′7″W / 37.70667°N 122.41861°W / 37.70667; -122.41861
Public transit Sunnydale T Third Street
OwnerCalifornia Department of Food and Agriculture, 1-A District Agricultural Association
OperatorCalifornia Department of Food and Agriculture, 1-A District Agricultural Association
CapacityBasketball: 14,000
Ice hockey: 13,550
Concerts: 16,500
OpenedApril 1941
San Francisco Seals (WHL) (1961–1966)
San Francisco Saints (ABL) (1961–1962)
San Francisco Warriors (NBA) (1962–1964, 1966–1971)
San Jose Earthquakes (NASL) (1975–1984)
San Francisco Shamrocks (PHL) (1977–1978)
San Francisco Fog (MISL) (1980–1981)
San Jose Sharks (NHL) (1991–1993)
San Francisco Spiders (IHL) (1995–1996)
San Jose Wolves (AIFA) (2010)
San Francisco Bulls (ECHL) (2012–2014)
San Francisco Shock (OWL) (2020–present)

The Cow Palace (originally the California State Livestock Pavilion) is an indoor arena located in Daly City, California, situated on the city's northern border with neighboring San Francisco. Because the border passes through the property, a portion of the upper parking lot is in San Francisco.


Completed in 1941,[1][2] it hosted the San Francisco Warriors of the NBA from 1962 to 1964 and again from 1966 to 1971. The Warriors temporarily returned to the Cow Palace to host the 1975 NBA Finals as the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena was booked for an Ice Follies performance. It was the site of both the 1956 Republican National Convention and the 1964 Republican National Convention. During the 1960s and 1970s, the SF Examiner Games, a world-class indoor track and field meet, was held annually at the Cow Palace. The Cow Palace was also an important venue for professional boxing until the early 1980s, having staged regular shows, including ten world title fights and appearances of all-time greats like Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Alexis Arguello. Additionally it has hosted professional wrestling and the Bay Bombers of roller derby; the Derby's world championship playoffs were held at the Cow Palace every fall beginning from 1959 through 1973, when the organization was disbanded. From 1956 until 1999, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus visited the Cow Palace, joined in later years by what is now Disney on Ice; both events were later held at Oracle Arena, where Disney on Ice still plays since the demise of the Ringling Bros. organization.

The arena seats 11,089 for ice hockey and 12,953 for basketball. When the Warriors played there, its basketball capacity was just over 15,000. It has also been the home of the annual Grand National Rodeo, Horse & Stock Show since 1941 (except for a break from 1942 to 1945 due to World War II). The venue hosted the 1960 men's NCAA basketball Final Four and the 1967 NBA All-Star Game. Sesame Street Live has been held at the Cow Palace since the early 1980s, as has Champions on Ice. In recent years the Cow Palace has been the Bay Area stop for the Cirque du Soleil.

Behind the name[edit]

The idea for the arena was inspired by the popularity of the livestock pavilion at the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition. A local newspaper[3][4] asked, as early as May 1935, "Why, when people are starving, should money be spent on a 'palace for cows'?" A headline writer turned the phrase around, thus "Cow Palace".[5]

During World War II[edit]

The arena opened in April 1941. During World War II, however, the arena was used for processing soldiers bound for the Pacific Theater. In the following years, it hosted hockey and basketball games, wrestling and boxing matches, concerts, roller derby and political events, most notably the 1956 and 1964 Republican National Conventions. The arena is still used for the Grand National Rodeo and other events.


Professional and college basketball[edit]

The San Francisco Warriors of the National Basketball Association called the Cow Palace home from 1962 to 1964 and from 1966 to 1971. From 1964 to 1966, the Warriors played predominantly at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium. The franchise then moved across the bay to the new Oakland Coliseum Arena and changed their name to Golden State Warriors. In 2019, the Warriors moved to the Chase Center in San Francisco.

The Warriors lost to the Boston Celtics in the 1964 NBA Finals. The 1967 NBA Finals between San Francisco and the Philadelphia 76ers saw three games held at the Cow Palace. The two NBA Finals games hosted by the Warriors in their 1974–75 championship season were also held at the Cow Palace because of other events at the Oakland Coliseum.

On December 7, 1992, the California Golden Bears featuring freshman guard Jason Kidd defeated the University of San Francisco Dons 89-79. On March 8, 1997, California defeated Arizona, 79-77. Future NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez scored 20 for California.

In 2020, the Cow Palace hosted a minor sports event in its walls, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory versus its long time rival St. Ignatius College Preparatory.

Professional football[edit]

In 2010, the Cow Palace once again had a regular sports tenant when the American Indoor Football Association's San Jose Wolves kicked off. However, the next year they would move to Stockton as the independent Stockton Wolves.

Professional soccer[edit]

On and off between 1975 and 1984, the San Jose/Golden Bay Earthquakes of the NASL played indoor soccer at the Cow Palace, including hosting the 1975 NASL indoor championship game, which they won 8–5 over the Tampa Bay Rowdies.[6][7] The 'Quakes spent several seasons playing at the Oakland Coliseum Arena before splitting time between the two arenas for the 1983–84 NASL Indoor season.

The Major Indoor Soccer League came to the Cow Palace for the 1980–81 season, when David Schoenstadt relocated his Detroit Lightning there, renaming them the San Francisco Fog. After a dismal season with an 11-29 record and less than five thousand fans per game, Schoenstadt moved the franchise again, this time to Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, where the team flourished as the Kansas City Comets.

Professional ice hockey[edit]

The San Francisco Shamrocks (PHL) called the Cow Palace home from 1977 to 1979. They won the championship their first season, but ended up disbanding in January 1979 part way through their second season.

It also hosted the San Jose Sharks of the NHL from 1991 to 1993 before the completion of their new home, the San Jose Arena. From 1991 to 1993, the Sharks sold out every game played at the building. It was one of the last buildings to house a smaller than NHL-regulation rink. The NHL had previously rejected the building in 1967 as a home for the expansion California Seals franchise, who instead played home games out of the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena.

San Jose lost their first game at the Cow Palace to the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 on October 5, 1991. Wayne Presley scored the first Sharks goal at the arena. Three nights later, San Jose won their first game in franchise history there, a 4–3 win over the Calgary Flames.

The Sharks' second season in the Cow Palace was highlighted by a 17-game losing streak and a league record 71 losses. The Sharks ended their run at the Cow Palace at the conclusion of the 1992–93 season with a 3–2 loss to eventual Campbell Conference champion Los Angeles on April 10, 1993. The team moved to the new San Jose Arena (now the SAP Center) to start 1993–94 after going 22-56-4 at their first home.

At the Cow Palace, the Sharks recorded the franchise's first win, shutout (Artūrs Irbe) and hat trick (Rob Gaudreau). The team also introduced their mascot, S.J. Sharkie, on the Cow Palace ice in mid-1992 when he climbed out of the front of a Zamboni. He later bungee-jumped from the rafters near the end of the first season.

In 1995, the IHL's San Francisco Spiders played their only season at the Cow Palace. Several players who played for the Sharks during their Cow Palace years suited up for the Spiders that year. Due to poor attendance, the team ceased operations at the end of the 1995–96 season.

On September 27, 2011, the ECHL formally announced that pro hockey would return to the Cow Palace after a 16-year hiatus with the arrival of the San Francisco Bulls the following fall. To accommodate the new team its ownership spent $2 million on renovating the team locker rooms, upgrading the concession stands, food improvements and installing new widescreen HD monitors to observe gameplay, installing a new ice system (as the old ammonia-based system that was in place for the Seals, Shamrocks, Sharks & Spiders had since become outdated and illegal) and a new custom-made wraparound LED video scoreboard with its game presentation system and ten sets of Custom Piston speakers from Claire Brothers Audio formerly used by AC/DC. The center hung video board has a 360° view for game presentation and full timekeeping and statistics. The new Colosseo Cube scoreboard – made by Colosseo USA – was custom built in order to agree with some of the weight bearing limitations for the roof. The engineers designed new structural steel beams and had them installed in the rafters to provide the additional support required.[8] The Bulls folded on January 28, 2014, 40 games into their second season.[9]

Professional tennis[edit]

From 1974 to 1989, the Cow Palace was the site of the Pacific Coast Championships, a yearly tournament on the men's professional tennis tour. Some of the biggest names in tennis played there, such as Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl.[10]

Professional wrestling[edit]

The Palace has also hosted professional wrestling events under promoters, most notably Roy Shire, who ran cards there from the early 1960s to 1981, oftentimes to sold-out houses headlined by Ray Stevens, Pat Patterson and others. After Shire ended operations, other promotions such as the WWF and WCW moved in. Notable cards included WCW's SuperBrawl in 1997, 1998, and 2000 and WWE's No Way Out in 2004.[11] In 2018, the Cow Palace hosted New Japan Pro-Wrestling's G1 Special in San Francisco.[12]

On March 1 and 3, 2023, the Cow Palace hosted AEW Dynamite and AEW Rampage, leading into AEW Revolution, which was hosted at the Chase Center in San Francisco.[13]


1964 Republican National Convention


The Cow Palace twice hosted the Republican National Convention. Republicans gathered at the Cow Palace for the 1956 Republican National Convention to renominate Dwight D. Eisenhower for President and Richard Nixon for Vice President. The ticket won in a landslide.

The Republicans came back eight years later for the 1964 Republican National Convention, at which Barry Goldwater was nominated for President and William Miller was nominated for Vice President. They lost to Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey, also in a landslide.


Selected musical artists and performances at the Cow Palace
Group Date(s) Concert Notes Image
Journey November 30, 1981-December 2 1981

July 29, 1983 December 20, 21, 1986

Escape TourFrontiers TourRaised on Radio Tour All shows sold out
The Beatles August 19, 1964 First U.S. Tour Opening night
The Beatles August 31, 1965 Second U.S. Tour Two shows, final stop
The Supremes February 25, 1966 "I Hear a Symphony" Tour Though the group had played the San Francisco Bay Area before, the same-titled single was number 1 on both pop radio stations, KFRC and KYA. The same-titled album had been released the week before, on February 18, 1966.
The Rolling Stones July 26, 1966 The Rolling Stones American Tour 1966
Bee Gees August 3, 1968 The Bee Gees' concerts in 1967 and 1968 Second concert for The Bee Gees in the US
The Doors July 25, 1969 The Soft Parade Tour
The Jackson 5 June 19, 1970 The Jackson 5 First National Tour Second concert for the Jackson 5
The Who November 20, 1973 The Who Tour 1973 During the concert, drummer Keith Moon passed out from an overdose of horse tranquilizers. A fan of the band, Scot Halpin, completed the group's set that evening.[14]
The Allman Brothers Band December 31, 1973 Grateful Dead members sat in on the performance.
Grateful Dead March 23, 1974 Recorded Dick's Picks Volume 24
The Rolling Stones July 15, 1975July 16, 1975 The Rolling Stones' Tour of the Americas '75
Chicago March 27, 1975March 28, 1975 Three days after the release of their album Chicago VIII
Pink Floyd April 13, 1975 Wish You Were Here Tour The set list included a performance of their entire The Dark Side of the Moon album.
Paul McCartney and Wings June 13, 1976June 14, 1976 Wings Over the World Part of the concert, in edited form, appears on the 2013 remaster of Wings over America.
Elvis Presley November 28, 1976November 29, 1976 Fall tour of 1976
Grateful Dead December 31, 1976 Double bill for the Grateful Dead and Santana. The groups recorded a live album during this performance, released as Live at the Cow Palace.
Kiss August 16, 1977 Love Gun Tour Kiss dedicated "Rock and Roll All Nite" to Elvis Presley, who had died that day.
Cheap Trick
Neil Young & Crazy Horse October 22, 1978 Concert film Rust Never Sleeps filmed there and some of the songs on the album Live Rust were recorded there.
The Runaways December 31, 1978 Final concert for the group before their break-up in April 1979
Neil Diamond February 28, 1979March 1, 1979 North American Tour 78–79 Neil Diamond fell on stage and couldn't get up. Less than two days later, he underwent 14 hours of delicate surgery, to remove a nonmalignant tumor, located dangerously close to his spine.
Village People June 10, 1979 North American Tour 1979
Rod Stewart June 15, 1979/June 17, 1979 Blondes 'Ave More Fun Tour[15][16]
The Jacksons September 17, 1981 Triumph Tour
Ozzy Osbourne December 30, 1981 Diary of a Madman Tour Opening night for the kickoff of the North America leg
Randy Rhoads
The Cars March 6, 1982 1982 Shake It Up Tour
Pat Benatar March 19, 1983 Get Nervous World tour; all dates sold out
Van Halen May 9, 1984May 11, 1984 1984 Tour Three sold-out nights; last tour with David Lee Roth until 2007
Ronnie Lane December 1, 1983December 3, 1983 ARMS Charity Concerts Three sold out nights. Featuring Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, & Joe Cocker.
The Cars August 24, 1984 1984 Heartbeat City Tour
Sammy Hagar January 18, 1985January 19, 1985 VOA Tour
Deep Purple January 31, 1985 Perfect Strangers tour
Prince February 27, 1985March 5, 1985 Purple Rain Tour Six sold-out nights; Sheila E. was the opening act. On the tickets it said "Wear Purple".
U2 March 7, 1985March 8, 1985 The Unforgettable Fire Tour
U2 June 4, 1986 Amnesty International: A Conspiracy of Hope Benefit Concert Sponsored by Amnesty International and headlined by U2 and Sting. Other featured performers included Bryan Adams, Jackson Browne, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Joan Baez, and The Neville Brothers.
Metallica June 17, 1986 The Ultimate Sin Opening act for Ozzy Osbourne
Van Halen October 31, 1986November 3, 1986 5150 or 1986 Tour Last 5 shows of the first tour with Sammy Hagar
Bon Jovi January 24, 1987 Slippery When Wet Tour Show was over sold by 3,000 tickets. Almost shut down by fire Marshall.
U2 April 24, 1987April 25, 1987 The Joshua Tree Tour
Fleetwood Mac December 12, 1987December 13, 1987 Filmed and released on home video in 1988.
Scorpions October 14, 1988October 15, 1988 Savage Amusement Tour[17]
Metallica December 10, 1988December 11, 1988 Damaged Justice tour
Neil Young November 26, 1989 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake Relief Concert Featuring Bob Hope, Neil Young, Steve Miller Band, Eddie Money, & Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Nirvana December 31, 1991 First performance at Cow Palace for Nirvana
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Pearl Jam
Metallica May 9, 1992May 10, 1992 Wherever We May Roam tour
Megadeth December 4, 1992 Countdown To Extinction Tour
Nirvana April 9, 1993 Benefit concert for Bosnian rape victims, along with several other acts such as The Breeders and L7.[18] The 1993 concert was one of the few shows Nirvana had played that year where most of the material off their final album, In Utero, were played live and the last time for some older songs, such as "Negative Creep" and "Love Buzz." As of April 2016, a full video of the concert is on YouTube, along with an interview.
Pantera July 22, 1996 The Great Southern Trendkill Tour with White Zombie and Eyehategod
Phish November 29, 1996 First and only show at the Cow Palace for Phish
Metallica December 30, 1996 Poor Touring Me
Korn, Limp Bizkit, Orgy, Ice Cube, Rammstein October 10, 1998[19] Family Values Tour 1998
Limp Bizkit, Filter, Staind, Primus, Method Man & Redman October 19, 1999[20] Family Values Tour 1999
Red Hot Chili Peppers December 28, 1999 Californication Tour
Metallica February 27, 2004
March 8, 2004
Madly In Anger With the World tour
Metallica October 17, 2008 World Magnetic tour

U2 played again at the Cow Palace for a private concert in October 2016 for the annual Salesforce conference, "Dreamforce."

Rodeos and livestock expositions[edit]

The Cow Palace is officially the 1-A District Agricultural Association, a State agency of the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Division of Fairs and Expositions. It has extensive stable and barn facilities for animal events, which are used for the annual Grand National Rodeo and occasionally for other events. It also used to host events on the now-defunct BRO (Bull Riders Only) tour.

Holiday events[edit]

In the weeks leading up to Christmas each year, the Cow Palace generally serves as the venue for the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, an event featuring food, vendors, and entertainment inspired by Charles Dickens' novels and Victorian era holiday traditions.


In 1982, the Cow Palace stood in for the Houston Coliseum when the 1962 barbecue welcoming NASA to Houston was recreated for the movie The Right Stuff.[21] The explosion of the starship USS Reliant, used in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, was filmed in the Cow Palace auditorium. The pyrotechnic charge for the shot was suspended over the auditorium floor and the explosion was filmed from below.[22]

Recent developments[edit]

Cow Palace interior (set up for an event in 2009)

In the spring of 2008, State Senator Leland Yee advanced legislation to allow Daly City to purchase the Cow Palace from the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Division of Fairs and Expositions in order to develop housing, basic amenities, and possibly a school for the surrounding area.[23][24] However, the legislation was opposed by groups that regularly use the venue and other California citizens outside Daly City.[24]

On September 9, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed this proposed sale of the Cow Palace overflow parking lot.[25] Following the 2008 publicity associated with Leland Yee's failed bill, the Cow Palace board of directors entered exclusive negotiations with Cypress Equities for a 60-year lease to develop the 13-acre (5.3 ha) proposed by Daly City.[26] Due to the lack of progress, this agreement was subsequently terminated and negotiations then commenced with a Marin County-based developer in early 2010.

Notable commencement ceremonies[edit]

Starting in 2015, the Academy of Art University held its commencement ceremony at Cow Palace.[27]

View of Cow Palace and Visitacion Valley from San Bruno Mountain State Park


The Cow Palace has a Daly City address, and except for the very northwest corner of the parking lot, which is across the San Francisco border, it lies entirely within Daly City. It is one mile away from the Sunnydale San Francisco MUNI Light Rail Station.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Healdsburg Tribune, Enterprise and Scimitar 27 February 1941 — California Digital Newspaper Collection". Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  2. ^ Healdsburg Tribune and Enterprise, Number 43, February 27, 1941
  3. ^ California Digital Newspaper Collection > Sausalito News > July 5, 1935
  4. ^ "Sausalito News 5 July 1935 — California Digital Newspaper Collection". Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  5. ^ "History of the Cow Palace". Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  6. ^ "The Evening Independent - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  7. ^ "The Evening Independent - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Randy, Thompson. "Bulls Unveil Multi-Million dollar improvements". Pro Hockey News. Archived from the original on July 19, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  9. ^ Larseth, Mike. "San Francisco Bulls hockey team ceases operations". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on June 5, 2014. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  10. ^ Jenkins, Bruce (February 9, 2013). "Farewell SAP Open ends rich tradition". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  11. ^ Berry, Viktor (May 13, 2008). "Illustrated History of Pro Wrestling in Northern California". Archived from the original on June 25, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  12. ^ Beaston, Erik. "NJPW G1 Special 2018 Results: Winners, Grades and Reaction". Bleacher Report. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  13. ^ "All Elite Wrestling at the Cow Palace". Retrieved February 23, 2023.
  14. ^ "Keith Moon Passes Out On Stage and Is Replaced by Scot Halpin". August 7, 2011. Archived from the original on July 2, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  15. ^ "Rod Stewart Live".
  16. ^ "Blondes (Have More Fun) Tour".
  17. ^ Pimienta, Edgar (October 14, 1988). "Scorpions setlist of the concert at Cow Palace, Daly City, United States on Oct 14, 1988 from the Savage Amusement tour on Guestpectacular". Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  18. ^ Hilburn, Robert (April 12, 1993). "POP MUSIC REVIEW : Smells Like Rock's Future : In a benefit concert, Nirvana offers challenging new songs suggesting they may remain one of rock's most influential '90s bands". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  19. ^ "KoRn 1998-10-10 Cow Palace, Daly City, CA, USA".
  20. ^ "Limp Bizkit Tour Going Stale / Not much moshing going on at low-energy Family Values show".
  21. ^ "The Right Stuff (1983) - IMDb". IMDb.
  22. ^ Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - The Director's Edition DVD. Text commentary by Michael Okuda, co-author of The Star Trek Encyclopedia, Paramount Pictures, 1982
  23. ^ Carolyn Tyler (November 29, 2007). "Daly City residents demand a local supermarket". KGO-TV ABC News 7. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  24. ^ a b Jonathan Curiel (February 28, 2008). "The Cow Palace may be history". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  25. ^ "Cow Palace Sale Stopped, Daly City Continues". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  26. ^ Will veto benefit the Cow Palace?" Archived January 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "Academy of Art University Commencement Handbook for Students" (PDF). Academy of Art University. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 16, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2016.

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by Home of the
San Francisco Warriors

Succeeded by
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
San Jose Sharks

Succeeded by
Preceded by NCAA Men's Division I
Basketball Tournament
Finals Venue

Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

Succeeded by