Pechanga Arena

The Pechanga Arena (historically known as the San Diego Sports Arena) is an indoor arena in San Diego, California.

Pechanga Arena
The Sports Arena
Former namesSan Diego International Sports Center (1966–70)
San Diego Sports Arena (1970–2005; 2007–10)
iPayOne Center (2005–07)
Valley View Casino Center (2010–18)
Address3500 Sports Arena Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110-4919
LocationMidway District
OwnerCity of San Diego
Ice hockey[2], lacrosse[3]: 12,920
Broke groundNovember 18, 1965[4]
OpenedNovember 17, 1966
Construction costUS$6.4 million
($50.9 million in 2018 dollars[5])
ArchitectMark L. Faddis[6]
Structural engineerRichard Bradshaw[6]
General contractorTrepte Construction Company[6]

San Diego State Aztecs (NCAA) (1966–97)
San Diego Rockets (NBA) (1967–71)
San Diego Conquistadors/Sails (ABA) (197475)
San Diego Clippers (NBA) (1978–84)
San Diego Wildcards (CBA) (1995–96)
San Diego Stingrays (IBL) (19992001)

Indoor Football

San Diego Riptide (AF2) (2002–05)
San Diego Seduction (LFL) (2009–10)
San Diego Strike Force (IFL) (2019–present)


San Diego Gulls (WHL) (1966–74)
San Diego Mariners (WHA) (1974–77)
San Diego Gulls (IHL) (1990–95)
San Diego Barracudas (RHI) (1993–96)
San Diego Gulls (WCHL/ECHL) (1995–2006)
San Diego Gulls (AHL) (2015–present)


San Diego Seals (NLL) (2018–present)

Indoor Soccer

San Diego Sockers (NASL/MISL I/CISL) (1980–96)
San Diego Sockers (WISL/MISL II) (2001–04)
San Diego Sockers (MASL) (2012–present)
San Diego Sockers 2 (M2) (2017–present)

San Diego Friars (WTT) (1975–78)
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.[7]

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.[8] In 2013, U-T San Diego named the arena #3 on its list of the 50 most notable locations in San Diego sports history.[9]

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[10] and about a mile from the Old Town Transit Center by foot.[11]


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.[12][13] The seating capacity could seat 13,000 hockey spectators or 13,700 for basketball games.[13]

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, 41, against the Seattle Totems.[12]

Naming history

Due to the rights to name the arena being sold over time, the arena has changed names:[14]

  • San Diego International Sports Arena (November 17, 19661970)[15]
  • San Diego Sports Arena (1970March 19, 2005; May 9, 2007November 12, 2010; December 1, 2018December 5, 2018)[16][17]
  • iPayOne Center (March 20, 2005May 8, 2007)[18]
  • Valley View Casino Center (November 13, 2010November 30, 2018)[19]
  • Pechanga Arena (December 5, 2018present)[20][21]

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.[22]

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.[23]

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,[14] 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.[24][25]

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",[26] which is still the city's official moniker.[27]

Sports franchises and events

The most notable sporting event to take place in the arena was the 1973 Ken NortonMuhammad 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.[12]

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.[28] 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.[29] 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.[30]

The venue hosted the 1971 NBA All-Star Game and the 1975 NCAA men's basketball Final Four, where UCLA was victorious in John Wooden's final game.

The Boston Bruins, whose home ice was of the same dimensions, used the San Diego Gulls as a farm team in the 1960s and 1970s.

The arena also hosted UFC on Versus 2 on August 1, 2010, with former champion Jon Jones headlining the event.[31] The UFC returned on July 15, 2015 for UFC Fight Night: Mir vs. Duffee.

In 2015, the Anaheim Ducks relocated their American Hockey League affiliate to San Diego to become another iteration of the San Diego Gulls, using the arena for their home games.[32]

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.[33] 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.[34][35]

In November 2018, the Indoor Football League announced an expansion team for the 2019 season called the San Diego Strike Force.[36]


The Stone Poneys played a date here on Saturday, January 13, 1968.

Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull and Surprise Package August 10, 1969

Jimi Hendrix recorded his 13-minute jam version of "Red House" here, on May 24, 1969. The full concert was released in 1991 as part of the Stages box set.

Elvis Presley played the International Sports arena twice: 1st on November 15, 1970 and again on April 24, 1976. The attendance was 14,659 in 1970 and 17,500 in 1976.

The Grateful Dead played a show here on November 14, 1973, including versions of "Here Comes Sunshine," "The Other One," and "Wharf Rat."

The gatefold photograph inside KISS' album, Alive II, was shot here in 1977.

Alice Cooper played here on many occasions and was the venue for his concert film 'The Strange Case of Alice Cooper' in 1979.

The Bee Gees played to a sold-out crowd on July 5, 1979 during their Spirits Having Flown Tour.

ABBA played here during their 1979 world tour.

Heart performed here on August 24, 1980. The band's Greatest Hits/Live included a medley of "I'm Down" and "Long Tall Sally" recorded at the show.

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.

Dio performed during their Sacred Heart Tour on December 6, 1985. The show was recorded and later released as a live album, entitled Intermission.

Bon Jovi played a sold-out show on January 16, 1987 on their Slippery When Wet world tour.

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.[37] She performed sold-out shows for her The Velvet Rope Tour and her All for You Tour.[38][39] She came back on September 20, 2008 for her Rock Witchu Tour.[40] She played a date here on October 7, 2017, during her State of the World Tour.[41]

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.

Nirvana performed during their In Utero tour on December 29, 1993.

Diana Ross was scheduled to perform during her Return to Love Tour on August 2, 2000, but the show was cancelled, due to low ticket sales.

Tina Turner was scheduled to perform during her Twenty Four Seven Tour on December 2, 2000, with Joe Cocker as her opening act, but the show was cancelled.

Britney Spears opened her 2004 Onyx Hotel Tour.

U2 performed at the venue for the first two shows of their Vertigo Tour on March 28 and 30, 2005.

Lady Gaga performed at the arena on December 19, 2009 during her Monster Ball Tour.

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 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 out 10.5 thousand seats and grossed over $1.6 million with ticket prices ranging from $50–355, becoming one of the most expensive concerts.

Muse played a date here on January 7, 2016, on their Drones World Tour.

Jason Aldean played a date here late in 2016, on his Six-String Nation Tour, with Kid Rock as his opening act.

Justin Bieber played a date here on March 29, 2016 as a part of his Purpose World Tour.

Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson played a date here in September 2017 as part of their Outlaw Music Festival tour.

Lana Del Rey performed at the venue on February 15, 2018 as part of her LA to the Moon Tour, with support from Kali Uchis.

Slayer kicked off their final tour here on May 10, 2018, with support from Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth and Testament.

Local radio station KHTS-FM is due to hold its annual "Summer Kickoff Concert" at the venue on May 31, 2019. It will feature Halsey, Ellie Goulding, CNCO, Bebe Rexha, NCT 127, and five other artists.[42]

Country-pop superstar Carrie Underwood has performed in the arena multiple times, the first performance being 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.

Other events

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 2011 version of Wrex the Halls was hosted here over two days with headliners Florence and the Machine and Blink-182 headlining respective nights. Both nights were sold out.

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.

In film

The exterior of the arena and its parking lot are featured in an early scene of Cameron Crowe's 2000 film, Almost Famous.


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