|The Sports Arena|
|Former names||San Diego International Sports Center
San Diego Sports Arena
|Location||3500 Sports Arena Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92110
|Owner||Arena Group 2000|
|Operator||Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG)|
|Capacity||Arena football: 12,000
Ice hockey: 12,920
Mixed martial arts: 16,100
|Broke ground||November 18, 1965|
|Opened||November 17, 1966|
|Construction cost||US$6.4 million
($47.2 million in 2016 dollars)
|Architect||Mark L. Faddis|
|Structural engineer||Richard Bradshaw|
|General contractor||Trepte Construction Company|
|San Diego Gulls (WHL) (1966–74)
San Diego State Aztecs (NCAA) (1966–97)
San Diego Rockets (NBA) (1967–71)
Golden State Warriors (NBA) (1971–72, six games)
San Diego Conquistadors/Sails (ABA) (1972–75)
San Diego Mariners (WHA) (1974–77)
San Diego Friars (WTT) (1975–78)
San Diego Clippers (NBA) (1978–84)
San Diego Sockers (NASL/MISL I/CISL) (1980–96)
San Diego Friars/Buds (TT) (1981–85)
San Diego Gulls (IHL) (1990–1995)
San Diego Barracudas (RHI) (1993–96)
San Diego Gulls (WCHL/ECHL) (1995–2006)
San Diego Sockers II (WISL/MISL II) (2001–04)
San Diego Riptide (AF2) (2002–05)
San Diego Seduction (LFL) (2009–10)
San Diego Sockers (MASL) (2012–present)
San Diego Aviators (WTT) (2014)
San Diego Gulls (AHL) (2015–present)
NLL San Diego (NLL) (2018–19)
The arena seats 12,000 for arena football, 12,920 for ice hockey, 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 "#1" facility in the nation for venues seating 10,001 to 15,000 seats. 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.
The arena is located at 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., which is slightly southwest of the interchange of Interstate 5 and Interstate 8. This places it in the Midway neighborhood, approximately 10 minutes away from San Diego International Airport by car and about a mile away from the Old Town Transit Center by foot.
The venue's original name was the San Diego International Sports Center. The name was later renamed the "San Diego Sports Arena", which it kept until 2004. In the latter year and 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.
On April 8, 2007, Ernie Hahn II, CEO of Arena Group 2000 which holds the leasing rights to the property, announced that AG2000 has defaulted iPayOne out of the remainder of the contract for non payment. According to Hahn, iPayOne has been in and out of default in payments – mostly balloon payments – in the last year. In addition, iPayOne appears to be halting operations and is accepting no new listings. As a result, the name was changed back to the San Diego Sports Arena.
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.
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 seating capacity could seat 13,000 hockey spectators or 13,700 for basketball games.
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.
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 Pete Wilson gave San Diego the by-name of "America's Finest City", which is still the city's official moniker.
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 and San Diego 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 well as 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.
In 2015, the Anaheim Ducks relocated their American Hockey League affiliate to San Diego to become another iteration of the San Diego Gulls and using the Valley View Casino Center for their home games.
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 Steven Tsai of Alibaba has been awarded an NLL franchise to begin playing in November 2018 for the 2018-2019 season.
The Grateful Dead played a highly regarded show here on November 14, 1973, including noteworthy versions of 'Here Comes Sunshine,' 'The Other One,' and 'Wharf Rat.'
The Stone Poneys played a date here on Saturday, January 13, 1967 as 'Different Drum' was climbing the national Top 20.
ABBA played here during their 1979 world tour. The German heavy metal rock group The Scorpions performed there during their 1984 World Wide live tour. Dio performed during their Sacred Heart Tour on December 6, 1985. The show was recorded and later released as a live album, entitled Intermission.
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.
Eric Clapton performed at the venue on March 17, 2007 with special guests JJ Cale, Doyle Bramhall II, Derek Trucks and Robert Cray. Nine years later, Clapton released the audio recording of the show in honor of Cale who died in 2013 on the live album Live in San Diego.
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