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The Sports Arena
|Former names||San Diego International Sports Center (1966–70)|
San Diego Sports Arena (1970–2005; 2007–10)
iPayOne Center (2005–07)
Valley View Casino Center (2010–18)
|Address||3500 Sports Arena Blvd|
San Diego, CA 92110-4919
|Owner||City of San Diego|
Ice hockey, lacrosse: 12,920
|Broke ground||November 18, 1965|
|Opened||November 17, 1966|
|Construction cost||US$6.4 million|
($51.9 million in 2019 dollars)
|Architect||Mark L. Faddis|
|Structural engineer||Richard Bradshaw|
|General contractor||Trepte Construction Company|
San Diego State Aztecs (NCAA) (1966–97)
San Diego Friars/Buds (TT) (1981–85)
San Diego Aviators (WTT) (2014)
The arena seats 12,000 for indoor football, 12,920 for ice hockey and box lacrosse, 14,500 for basketball and tennis, 5,450 for amphitheater concerts and stage shows, 8,900–14,800 for arena concerts, 13,000 for ice shows and the circus, and 16,100 for boxing and mixed martial arts.
In 2000, Amusement Business/Billboard Magazine listed the arena as the top facility in the nation for venues seating 10,001–15,000. The same magazine ranked the arena as #2 in 2002 and as the #5 facility in 2003. In 2007, the arena was ranked as the #5 facility by Billboard Magazine. In 2013, U-T San Diego named the arena #3 on its list of the 50 most notable locations in San Diego sports history.
Location and access
The arena is located at 3500 Sports Arena Boulevard, which is slightly southwest of the interchange of Interstate 5 and Interstate 8. It is in the Midway neighborhood, approximately 10 minutes from San Diego International Airport by car and about a mile from the Old Town Transit Center by foot.
The arena was built in 1966 by Robert Breitbard, a local football hero who played for Hoover High School and San Diego State, for $6.4 million. The arena could seat 13,000 for hockey or 13,700 for basketball.
The arena opened on November 17, 1966, when more than 11,000 pro hockey fans watched the San Diego Gulls (then a member of the Western Hockey League) win their season opener, 4–1, against the Seattle Totems.
Due to the rights to name the arena being sold over time, the arena has changed names:
- San Diego International Sports Arena (November 17, 1966—1970)
- San Diego Sports Arena (1970—March 19, 2005; May 9, 2007—November 12, 2010; December 1, 2018—December 5, 2018)
- iPayOne Center (March 20, 2005—May 8, 2007)
- Valley View Casino Center (November 13, 2010—November 30, 2018)
- Pechanga Arena (December 5, 2018—present)
Naming rights deals
From 2004 until 2007, iPayOne, a real estate savings company based in Carlsbad, California, held the arena's naming rights. The deal was worth $2.5 million over five years. In April 2007 the leasing rights holder Arena Group 2000 cancelled the remainder of the contract due to non-payment by iPayOne.
Valley View Casino
On October 12, 2010, it was announced that the arena's name had been changed to the "Valley View Casino Center", under a $1.5 million, 5-year agreement between the arena operator AEG, the San Pasqual Band of Diegueno Mission Indians and the city of San Diego.
Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians
Valley View Casino's naming rights expired November 30, 2018, leaving the arena without an official name until the city council announced on December 4, 2018, that the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, owners of the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, had acquired for $400,000 per year the naming rights to the arena, officially renaming it "Pechanga Arena". The agreement runs through May 2020.
1972 Republican National Convention
In 1972, the Republican Party considered the arena for its National Convention. With little warning, however, the GOP decided to hold the convention in Miami Beach. To compensate for this blow to local prestige, then-mayor (and future California governor) Pete Wilson gave San Diego the by-name of "America's Finest City", which is still the city's official moniker.
Sports franchises and events
The most notable sporting event to take place in the arena was the 1973 Ken Norton–Muhammad Ali fight in which, by split decision, San Diego local Norton won. At the San Diego Indoor Track Meet, Irish distance runner Eamonn Coghlan broke the world record for the indoor mile in 1979 and 1981. A photo of his crossing the finish line appeared around the world including the cover of Sports Illustrated. Coghlan's time for the 1981 race is still the world record for the indoor mile.
It was the home of the San Diego Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1967 to 1971, the San Diego Conquistadors/Sails of the American Basketball Association from 1974 to 1976, the San Diego Mariners of the World Hockey Association from 1974 to 1977, the San Diego Friars of World Team Tennis (WTT) from 1975 to 1978, the San Diego Clippers of the NBA from 1978 to 1984, the San Diego State University Aztecs basketball teams, off and on, from 1966 to 1997, the San Diego Sockers indoor soccer team which won 10 titles in the arena, as did other small sports franchises. The San Diego Sockers made their return to the arena in 2012 for their fourth season in the PASL-Pro from the Del Mar Arena. The San Diego Aviators of WTT relocated from New York City prior to the 2014 season and began playing their home matches in the arena. On December 29, 2014, the Aviators announced that the team would move its home matches to the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa in nearby Carlsbad for the 2015 season.
On August 7, 2016, the arena played host to the Arena Football League's Los Angeles Kiss as they faced the Cleveland Gladiators in the first round of the AFL Playoffs. The game was moved to San Diego due to the Kiss' home arena, the Honda Center in Anaheim hosting the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus that weekend. The Kiss would lose to the Gladiators 56–52 in front of a crowd of 4,692. It was the first AFL game ever to be played at the arena and the first arena football game played there since 2005, when the af2's San Diego Riptide played their home games at the arena from 2002 to 2005.
On August 29, 2017, the National Lacrosse League announced that billionaire owner Joe Tsai of Alibaba has been awarded an NLL franchise to begin playing in November 2018 for the 2018–2019 season.
The Stone Poneys played here on January 13, 1968.
Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, and Surprise Package played here on August 10, 1969.
Elvis Presley played here on November 15, 1970, and April 24, 1976. Attendance was 14,659 in 1970 and 17,500 in 1976.
The Grateful Dead played here on November 14, 1973.
ABBA played here during their 1979 world tour.
Duran Duran played two nights here on April 16, 1984 and April 17, 1984 as part of their Sing Blue Silver World Tour. They played here again July 28, 1987 as part of their Strange Behaviour World Tour, also that night American all-female band The Bangles joined them on stage to sing their hit If She Knew What She Wants. They also played here on February 25, 2005 as part of their Astronaut World Tour when they reformed the band to its original lineup.
The German heavy metal rock group, The Scorpions, performed there during their 1984 World Wide live tour.
Van Halen played two shows on May 20 and 21 on their 1984 Tour; two shows on their 1986 5150 Tour on June 28 and 29, 1986; a show on their 1988 OU812 tour on November 19, 1988; two shows on their For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Tour on May 1 and 3, 1992; and finally on their 1995 The Balance "Ambulance" Tour on April 2, 1995.
Janet Jackson has performed six concerts at this venue. She performed a sold-out show on April 23, 1990 for her Rhythm Nation Tour. She returned to the venue on February 24, 1994 for the Janet World Tour, another sold-out show. She performed sold-out shows for her The Velvet Rope Tour and All for You Tour. She came back on September 20, 2008 for her Rock Witchu Tour. She played a date here on October 7, 2017, during her State of the World Tour.
Metallica performed two consecutive shows, during their Wherever We May Roam Tour, on January 13–14, 1992. The shows were recorded and later released on VHS/DVD, entitled Live Shit: Binge & Purge on November 23, 1993.
Britney Spears opened her 2004 Onyx Hotel Tour.
Eric Clapton performed at the venue on March 15, 2007, with special guests JJ Cale, Doyle Bramhall II, Derek Trucks, and Robert Cray. Nine years later, Clapton released audio and video/DVD recordings of the show in honor of Cale who died in 2013 on the live album Live in San Diego.
Madonna played a date here on October 29, 2015, becoming her first-ever performance in the arena, during her Rebel Heart Tour. The show sold 10,500 seats and grossed over $1.6 million with ticket prices ranging from $50–355, becoming one of the most expensive concerts.
Country-pop superstar Carrie Underwood has performed in the arena multiple times, first on October 1, 2010, during her Play On Tour; the second on October 20, 2012, during her Blown Away Tour; the third on September 16, 2016, during her Storyteller Tour: Stories in the Round; and the fourth on September 10, 2019, during her Cry Pretty Tour 360, making her one of the artists with the most performances in the arena.
The arena has hosted several WWE events, including many episodes of Raw and Smackdown, some ECW episodes, one episode of the original NXT, many House shows (live events), Vengeance (2001), which saw the unification of the WCW Championship and WWE Championship, Taboo Tuesday (2005), and One Night Stand (2008).
The arena has also been home to events of the original Roller Games league, featuring its flagship team, the Los Angeles Thunderbirds, as well as the alternating Roller Derby leagues of the time, featuring their flagship team, the San Francisco Bay Bombers.
The arena hosted Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live in 2019.
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