Santa Ana Star Center

Santa Ana Star Center is an 7,000-seat multi-purpose arena in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, a suburb of Albuquerque. The arena is located near the intersection of Unser Boulevard and Paseo del Volcan. It is part of a larger "City Centre" 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. The arena was previously known as Rio Rancho Events Center.

The arena was completed at a cost of $47 million USD and opened on October 21, 2006. The first sports match in the arena was a hockey match on October 27, 2006, with the New Mexico Scorpions falling to the Arizona Sundogs 3-1 in front of a sellout crowd.

It is currently home to the New Mexico Mustangs, of the NAHL. It was formerly home to the New Mexico Scorpions, of the CHL, the New Mexico Wildcats, of the AIFA and the New Mexico Thunderbirds, of the NBADL.

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 expects to pay $3.6 million in 2011 to keep the arena running and to pay for its bonds, nearly 7 percent of the city’s $53.8 million budget. 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."


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