Valley View Casino Center (formerly San Diego Sports Arena and iPayOne Center) is an indoor arena, located on Sports Arena Blvd, in Point Loma, San Diego, California, off of Interstate 8.
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 wrestling.
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.
Location and access
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, while Hahn seeks a new naming rights sponsor.
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 dollar, 5 year agreement between the city of San Diego, the arena operator AEG, Valley View Casino and the city of San Diego.
Between 1995 and 2006, the arena was the home venue to the San Diego Gulls of the ECHL and the San Diego Riptide of the AF2, but both franchises folded. The Gulls franchise majority owner was Arena Group 2000 LP, a private company which is also the current arena leaseholder. When the team was disbanded - and not sold - there was local speculation regarding the company's closely-held secret intentions for the property. Many outsiders suspected implosion of the Arena and redevelopment of the property, as redevelopment of this chunk of real estate had supposedly been a prime motivation for Ron Hahn (of the Hahn Company) when he first took an interest in this property in 1991. Future development will depend on the City of San Diego and the vision that both they and AEG have for sports and entertainment in San Diego.
The venue continues to host 20–25 concerts each year and in 2007 hosted 35 concerts ranging from Justin Timberlake to Eric Clapton. Other San Diego venues, like Cricket Amphitheater (formerly Coors Amphitheater), an outdoor concert venue of the typical amphitheater/lawn configuration located south of downtown San Diego, just north of Mexico in Chula Vista, Viejas Arena (formerly Cox Arena) at San Diego State University (on the eastern edge of the city), Soma (which is a modest nightclub that brings in quality acts despite being smaller than the midsized venues of Fourth and B, The House of Blues, Humphries, or Anthology, and worth mentioning because of its location in the same Loma Portal/Midway neighborhood as the arena), and the myriad Casinos that pepper the outskirts of San Diego County are becoming exceedingly popular destinations for musical events as well. The San Diego Sports Arena remains the only ice arena facility in San Diego County, and hosts annual skating events such as Stars on Ice and Disney on Ice with Feld Entertainment twice each year. The facility is the only arena in San Diego that has a group sales department and for this reason hosts almost all of the major family shows to come to San Diego like the Harlem Globetrotters, Sesame Street Live and Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus each year. The arena also serves as a home court for the L.A. Lakers in a preseason NBA game each fall. The property continues to derive income from the Kobey's Swap Meet, held every weekend in the west end of the parking lot which attracts over one million people annually.
The arena was built in 1966 by Robert Breitbard, a local football hero who played for Hoover High School and San Diego State, for "a modest" $6.4 million dollars.
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.
1972 GOP 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 Pete Wilson gave San Diego the by-name of "America's Finest City", which is still the city's official moniker.
Sports franchises and events
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. 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. Coghlin'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 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 such as World Team Tennis.
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.
Music and entertainment
Jimi Hendrix recorded his 13 minute jam version of "Red House" here, on May 25, 1969.
Metallica's 1992 show is included on their live album, Live Shit: Binge & Purge.
Diana Ross was scheduled to perform during her Return to Love Tour on August 2, 2000, but the show was cancelled.
Tina Turner was scheduled to perform during her Twenty Four Seven Tour on December 2, 2000, but the show was cancelled.
KISS performed during their Kiss Alive/35 World Tour on November 27, 2009. The gatefold photograph inside their album, Alive II, was shot here in 1977.
The arena has hosted many WWE pay-per-views including One Night Stand 2008, Taboo Tuesday 2005, and Vengeance 2001 as well as one of very few Casket Matches between The Undertaker and Chavo Guerrero. WWE has then hosted the 600th episode of WWE SmackDown that took place on February 15, 2011. It will then host the Monday Night Raw after SummerSlam.
The exterior of the arena and its parking lot are featured in an early scene of Cameron Crowe's 2000 film, Almost Famous.