Araneta Coliseum

The Smart Araneta Coliseum, known as The Big Dome is an indoor multi-purpose sports arena located in the Cubao area of Quezon City, Philippines. It is the largest coliseum and indoor facility in Asia, and with one of the largest clear span domes in the world.

Its basketball league tenants include the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, and the Philippine Basketball Association.


In 1952, J. Amado Araneta purchased a 35-hectare property in Cubao that is now the Araneta Center from Radio Corporation of America (RCA). The property, which includes the Araneta family home, is bound by Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue, Aurora Boulevard, P. Tuazon and 15th Avenue.

Construction of the Araneta Coliseum was started in 1957 and finished in late 1959. From 1960 to 1963, the Coliseum received international recognition and was recognized as the largest covered coliseum in the world. Today, it remains one of the largest clear span domes in the world and the largest indoor facility in Asia with a dome diameter of 108 meters. It occupies a total land area of almost 40,000 square meters and has a floor area of 23,000 square metres.

The coliseum opened on March 16, 1960, with Gabriel "Flash" Elorde boxing for the World Junior Lightweight crown from American Harold Gomes. General admission then was 80 centavos and the reserve section was five pesos.

Among the notable events to take place at the arena were the 11th and 34th FAMAS Awards, the 1975 "Thrilla in Manila" boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, and the annual Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant. The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has played about a thousand games at the Araneta Coliseum as of 2008. Other basketball events hosted by the arena were the 1978 FIBA World Championship, a game between the 1978 NBA champions Washington Bullets and a PBA selection in 1979, and the 1982 Asian Youth Basketball Championship where the Philippines defeated China in the final.

In the third quarter of 1998, the Aranetas and Pilipinas Shell (local arm of Royal Dutch Shell) started negotiations for a naming rights deal that would have lasted until 2008. The Aranetas, who wanted to retain their name at the arena rejected proposed name "Shell Coliseum at the Araneta Center". Instead, the parties agreed on signage contract where Shell's name and logo will be painted at the arena's basketball court, a move that was almost shelved due to objections from other PBA teams (Shell owned the Shell Turbo Chargers team then in the PBA).

In July 1999, the coliseum underwent its first major renovation at the cost of P200 million. The coliseum was reopened on November 20, the same year. The major changes made to the coliseum is the renovation of the lower box area, replacement of seats for the patron and lower box sections, and installation of a four-sided center hung scoreboard. In 2003, a LED display was added on the scoreboard.

From 2001 to 2008, the highest grossing event at the arena is the boxing fight between Manny Pacquiao and Oscar Larios, earning 96.2 million pesos. A concert by Westlife was attended by 17,887 people and earned 18.5 million pesos, while a Cliff Richard concert earned 17.2 million despite being watched by 5,647 spectators.

On December 2010, the coliseum management installed a giant LED screen nicknamed the "Big Cube" to replace their old scoreboard system that was installed during the 1999 renovation. This screen is much bigger than the former LED scoreboard with a size of 22.22 square-meters. During sporting events, the Big Cube will project everything from stat-video splits, full scoring mode, or full video mode. It can likewise display ticket information from RSS feeds via an internet source. It was used for basketball for the first time during the semifinal round of the 2010-11 PBA Philippine Cup on January 5, 2011.

Prior to the Ultimate All-Star Weekend in July 2011, it was announced that the Aranetas entered into a naming rights deal with Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, renaming the arena into "Smart Araneta Coliseum". The deal was for five years and includes improvements the arena such as the installation of escalators to improve access in the upper box and general admission areas, and the construction of a parking lot that can accommodate up to 2,000 cars.

Sports Usage

The arena is primarily the home arena for the Philippine Basketball Association and the UAAP basketball leagues. The facility has also hosted the 1975 Thrilla in Manila, 1978 FIBA World Championship the 2007 Philippines World Pool Championship.

It annually hosts every PBA Basketball Championship, NCAA Basketball Championship as well as UAAP Basketball Championship.

The coliseum is one of the two arenas as the main home of the PBA, the other being the Cuneta Astrodome.

Also the colisum is one of the two arenas as the main home of the UAAP, the other being the PhilSports Arena, when it use the coliseum by PBA and other events.

Other events

It also hosts many non-sporting events, such as concerts, shows, graduations, seminars, Disney on Ice, the circus, and beauty pageants.Some notable international performers include country singers Taylor Swift as part of her Speak Now Tour, Kylie Minogue as part of her Aphrodite World Tour on July 5, 2011, Kelly Clarkson as part of her All I Ever Wanted World Tour on May 1, 2010, Avril Lavigne, Akon, Michael Bublé and Lady Gaga. The coliseum also houses Korean artists like Super Junior's Super Show-the first Korean to perform in the arena, 2NE1 and Beast.K-Pop group U-KISS also had their concert at the big dome and later released into a concert DVD dubbed as U-KISS 1st Kiss Tour in Manila DVD. It was the first time that an international artist released a concert DVD featuring the coliseum.

Local artists also graces the coliseum including the biggest concert of an Asian artist for the past 25 years and a two-night sold-out concert of Asia's Songbird, Regine Velasquez entitled R2K The Concert in April 2000. It also houses Martin Nievera, Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, APO Hiking Society, Sarah Geronimo, Nina, Vice Ganda and a lot more.

The Big dome is also the venues of different talent search finales, like Pilipinas Got Talent, Pinoy Idol, Starstruck and Star Circle Quest.

Attendance records

On August 20, 2008, 22,902 people jam packed the coliseum to watch the seventh and final game of the 2008 PBA Fiesta Conference Finals series between Air21 Express and Barangay Ginebra Kings. This record currently stands as the game with the largest attendance after the Crispa-Toyota rivalry period. The 2008 UAAP Samsung Cheerdance Competition attracted a record breaking crowd of 23,448 people.

Notable events at the Araneta Coliseum
Sports events
  • 1960 Gabriel Elorde vs. Harold Gomes
  • 1975 Thrilla in Manila
  • 1978 World Basketball Championship
  • 2007 Philippines World Pool Championship
  • 2011 Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend
  • PBA Basketball: elimination round (selected games), Playoffs (selected games), PBA Finals
  • UAAP Basketball: Opening Ceremonies, Regular Season (selected games), UAAP Cheerdance Competition, Final Four and UAAP Finals
  • NCAA Basketball: Opening Ceremonies, NCAA Semi-Finals and NCAA Finals
  • Binibining Pilipinas (annually)
Entertainment events
  • FAMAS Awards of the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences:
    • The 11th FAMAS Awards on April 14, 1963
    • The 34th FAMAS Awards on May 18, 1986

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