Rio Rancho Events Center

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Rio Rancho Events Center
Santa Ana Star Center
Former namesRio Rancho Events Center (2006)
Location3001 Civic Center Drive
Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87144
Coordinates35°18′37.05″N 106°41′8.98″W / 35.3102917°N 106.6858278°W / 35.3102917; -106.6858278Coordinates: 35°18′37.05″N 106°41′8.98″W / 35.3102917°N 106.6858278°W / 35.3102917; -106.6858278
OwnerCity of Rio Rancho
OperatorGlobal Spectrum
CapacityIce Hockey: 6,000
Rodeos: 6,000
Concerts: 7,500
Broke groundJune 14, 2005[1]
OpenedOctober 21, 2006
Construction cost$47 million USD
($59.6 million in 2019 dollars[2])
ArchitectSink Combs Dethlefs[3]
Project managerFrew Nations Group[4]
Structural engineerMartin & Martin[3]
General contractorHunt/Bradbury Stamm[3]
New Mexico Scorpions (CHL) (2006–2009)
New Mexico Wildcats (AIFA) (2008–2009)
New Mexico Mustangs (NAHL) (2010–2012)
New Mexico Thunderbirds (NBA D-League) (2010–2011)
New Mexico Stars (IFL/LSFL/AIF) (2012–2014, 2016)
New Mexico Runners (M2) (2018–present)

Rio Rancho Events Center is a 7,000-seat multi-purpose arena in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, a city located near Albuquerque. The arena is located near the intersection of Unser Boulevard and Paseo del Volcan. It is part of a larger "City Center" 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.[1] The arena was previously known as Rio Rancho Events Center. The contract was not renewed in 2020, resulting in the arena changing its name back to Rio Rancho Events Center.

The arena was completed at a cost of $47 million USD and opened on October 21, 2006.[2] 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.[3]

In April 2009, the city of Rio Rancho awarded Global Spectrum as the management company for the Rio Rancho Event Center.

The arena 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 Stars of the Indoor Football League/Lone Star Football League, the New Mexico Wildcats of the American Indoor Football Association, New Mexico Thunderbirds, of the NBA Development League, and a venue for World Wrestling Entertainment. The arena also hosted a campaign rally for President Donald Trump on September 16, 2019.[5]

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 expected to pay $3.6 million in 2011 to keep the arena running and to pay for its bonds, nearly 7% of the city's $53.8 million budget.[6] 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."[7]


  1. ^ Olson, Sean (October 22, 2006). "A Star Is Born." Albuquerque Journal.
  2. ^ Yodice, James (October 28, 2006). "Scorpions Lose to Sundogs at New Home." Albuquerque Journal.
  3. ^ Yodice, James (July 14, 2006). "Naming Rights Go For $2.5M." Albuquerque Journal.
  1. ^
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Neal Singer (November 1, 2006). "Feature Story - November 2006 Sporting & Events Center". Southwest Construction. Retrieved November 19, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Company's Arenas Leave Cities With Big Problems". The New York Times. 2011-05-16. Retrieved 2011-05-17. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Thunderbirds To Leave NM After Being Sold". KOAT-TV. 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2011-07-08. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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