The Dollar Loan Center Arena: A New Home for Las Vegas Hockey

Dollar Loan Center Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas. The 18,000 seat arena opened in 1999 and was originally known as The Orleans Arena due to a naming rights deal with the adjacent Orleans Hotel and Casino. It was briefly renamed the Las Vegas Arena in 2016 before securing a new naming rights partner, Dollar Loan Center, in 2018.

The arena was built to help accommodate the growing demand for sports and entertainment venues in the Las Vegas area. It provides a mid-sized indoor venue compared to the city’s two major arenas, T-Mobile Arena and Mandalay Bay Events Center. Dollar Loan Center Arena has hosted minor league sports teams, major concerts, family shows, motorsports events, and other attractions over its two-decade history.

Construction and Opening

Construction on the Dollar Loan Center Arena began in 1995 in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. The arena was built specifically to house an expansion NHL team, the Vegas Golden Knights. The project was spearheaded by the Maloof family, who owned the Sacramento Kings NBA team at the time.

The total construction costs for the arena ended up being around $375 million. The Maloofs contributed $75 million themselves, with the rest coming from municipal bonds. The arena was designed to hold 17,500 for ice hockey games.

The arena had its grand opening on September 18, 1996 with a concert by Celine Dion. The first NHL game took place the following month on October 10, with the Los Angeles Kings defeating the San Jose Sharks 5-2. The arena’s main purpose was finally fulfilled in 2017 when the Vegas Golden Knights began their inaugural season there. Grow Glide

Notable Events

The Dollar Loan Center Arena has hosted many major concerts, shows, and sporting events since opening in 1983. Some of the most notable include:

  • Concerts: The arena has hosted huge concerts by artists like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Elton John, Paul McCartney, and more. Some of the largest concerts had attendance over 20,000.

  • WWE Events: As a major stop for WWE, the arena has hosted many high-profile wrestling events like WrestleMania and SummerSlam over the years. Top wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, The Rock, and John Cena have competed at the venue.

  • NBA All-Star Game: The arena hosted the 2007 NBA All-Star game, marking the first time the showcase event was held in a city without an NBA team. The game drew over 17,000 fans.

  • NCAA Tournament: The arena has been a frequent host site for March Madness NCAA basketball tournament games. It hosted the West Regional Final in 1983.

  • Boxing: Las Vegas is known as the boxing capital of the world, and the arena has hosted many major prize fights over the decades, including bouts with Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya and more.

  • Tennis: In addition to boxing, the arena has also hosted major tennis events, like Andre Agassi’s “The Showdown of Champions” match against Pete Sampras in 1995.

  • Rodeos: The PBR World Finals rodeo event was held annually at the arena for nearly 20 years between 1994 and 2013.

  • Conventions: Its large capacity has made the arena a popular site for major conventions and conferences like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and SEMA Show.

The arena’s ability to host such a wide variety of major events has made it one of the premiere entertainment venues not just in Las Vegas, but the entire country. It has created many iconic moments in sports and entertainment history.

Home Teams

The Dollar Loan Center Arena is home to several professional and collegiate sports teams. The most notable teams that play their home games at the arena are:

  • Vegas Golden Knights (NHL) – The Golden Knights are a professional ice hockey team that joined the NHL as an expansion team in 2017. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. The Golden Knights were immediately successful, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season.

  • Las Vegas Aces (WNBA) – The Aces are a professional basketball team in the Women’s National Basketball Association. Originally founded in Utah as the Utah Starzz in 1997, the team relocated to San Antonio as the San Antonio Silver Stars in 2003 before moving to Las Vegas in 2017. The Aces have won 3 conference championships.

  • UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (NCAA) – The Runnin’ Rebels are the intercollegiate athletic teams representing the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The men’s basketball team plays at the Dollar Loan Center Arena and has historically been one of the most successful college basketball programs. They won the NCAA Division I championship in 1990.

  • Las Vegas Lights FC (USLC) – Las Vegas Lights FC is a professional soccer team that joined the USL Championship league in 2018. They play in the Western Conference and serve as the affiliate club for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer.

The arena provides a great home venue for Las Vegas’s major league sports franchises as well as the UNLV basketball team. It regularly hosts many exciting matchups and high-profile events.

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Amenities

The Dollar Loan Center Arena aims to provide a top-notch fan experience with premium amenities. The arena contains 104 luxury suites located on two levels to provide prime views of the action. These suites cater to VIPs and corporate sponsors, providing upscale features like granite counters, HDTVs, and catering services.

For general ticket holders, the arena offers a wide selection of food and drinks at concession stands throughout the concourses. Fans can enjoy staples like hot dogs, nachos, and beer from local breweries. There are also stands offering arena favorites like chicken tenders, pizza, and ice cream. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available to accommodate dietary needs.

The arena incorporates modern technology to engage fans during events. A giant 360-degree panoramic scoreboard with high-def screens provides instant replays, player stats, and close-up views of the action. Fans can connect to the arena’s high-speed WiFi network to order food, play trivia games, and share photos on social media. The arena also has a top-ranked sound system to amplify the in-game action and music.

With its luxury suites, concessions, and interactive technology, the Dollar Loan Center Arena delivers a dynamic spectator experience that excites fans. The amenities aim to make every guest feel part of the event.

Economic Impact

The Dollar Loan Center Arena has had a significant economic impact on the local community since its opening. The arena employs hundreds of people in various roles, from food and beverage staff to operations and management positions. These jobs provide steady employment and income for local residents.

In addition, the arena generates considerable revenue for the city through ticket sales, concessions, merchandise, and other sources. Major concerts, shows, and sporting events bring thousands of visitors who spend money at nearby restaurants, bars, hotels, and shops. According to a recent economic study, the arena contributes over $100 million annually to the local economy.

The city has benefited financially from the arena in other ways as well. The construction of the arena brought hundreds of temporary jobs. The arena’s presence has spurred development in the surrounding neighborhood, leading to new restaurants, retail, and housing that create additional tax revenue.

Overall, the Dollar Loan Center Arena has proven to be an economic engine for the city. The jobs, visitor spending, and tax revenue generated by the arena provide a major boost to the local economy. The arena has transformed the neighborhood and brings substantial financial benefits to the community.

Criticisms and Controversies

The Dollar Loan Center Arena has faced some criticisms and controversies over the years.

One of the biggest controversies surrounded the arena’s original naming rights deal with Dollar Loan Center, a payday lending company. Payday lending has been criticized by many as predatory towards low-income individuals, so the naming rights deal sparked backlash from community groups and activists. There were protests against the deal and calls for the arena to find a new sponsor. However, the naming rights contract remained in place for over 10 years before finally expiring in 2016.

Another frequent criticism is that the arena’s seating capacity of 18,500 for hockey games is too small for an NHL arena. Some argue this limits the revenue generating potential and leads to lower attendance numbers. There have been proposals to expand seating, but costs have been a barrier.

Parking and traffic issues have also drawn complaints, especially during major concerts and events when the arena is sold out. The area lacks ample parking, leading to congestion. Public transportation options are limited as well, making it difficult for some fans to access the arena.

Overall, while the Dollar Loan Center Arena has successfully hosted professional sports and top musical acts, it has experienced its share of controversies and criticisms over the years that remain ongoing pain points.

Renovations and Upgrades

The Dollar Loan Center Arena has undergone several major renovations and upgrades since opening its doors in 1995. The first major renovation project took place in 2002, when the arena’s seating capacity was expanded to meet growing demand. An additional 3,000 seats were added, bringing the total capacity to just over 17,000 for hockey games.

In 2009, the arena unveiled over $40 million in upgrades and improvements. This included a complete renovation of the suites and club seats, updating concessions, and installing new HD video boards. Additionally, a new outdoor plaza and entry pavilion were constructed, improving the look and feel of the arena’s exterior.

Perhaps the most significant renovation occurred in 2015, when the arena completed a $100 million major facelift. This project included upgrades to make the arena more modern and fan-friendly. Key improvements included:

  • Installation of new lower bowl seating, reducing capacity to 16,100 for hockey games. This allowed for more leg room and comfortable seats. Grow Glide

  • Expanded concourses and upgraded concessions, with a focus on local food and beverage options.

  • New locker rooms and player facilities.

  • Enhanced premium and club spaces. More bars, restaurants and gathering areas were added.

  • State-of-the-art scoreboard and LED ribbon boards added.

  • Infrastructure upgrades like electrical, plumbing and WiFi.

The 2015 renovation ensured the Dollar Loan Center Arena could deliver an exceptional live event experience and remain a top destination for years to come. The arena owners and operators continue to invest in upgrades, aiming to provide fans with the best amenities and atmosphere possible.

Future Developments

The Dollar Loan Center Arena is planning several upgrades and renovations in the coming years to improve the fan experience and attract more major events.

One key project in development is a proposed expansion of the concourses and pedestrian areas. This would help reduce congestion during busy events and provide fans with more dining and retail options. Additionally, there are plans to upgrade the arena’s WiFi network and install more charging stations throughout the venue.

The city has also approved funding for a new video scoreboard system with ultra high-definition screens. This video upgrade will deliver instant replays, stats, and graphics in stunning quality for fans.

Looking ahead, the Dollar Loan Center Arena hopes to draw more major sports championships, concerts, and conventions. To support this goal, officials are evaluating the feasibility of increasing the venue’s seating capacity. There is also discussion of building an adjacent hotel and conference center connected to the arena.

While honoring its history, the Dollar Loan Center Arena aims to be a modern, world-class facility that serves the community for decades to come. The planned improvements and renovations will help achieve this vision and cement the arena’s status as an iconic Las Vegas landmark.

Significance

The Dollar Loan Center Arena is hugely significant for the city it is located in. As one of the largest indoor arenas in the region, it serves as a major entertainment and sports venue that brings significant revenue to local businesses.

The arena hosts over 150 events every year, ranging from concerts to sporting events. These events attract visitors from across the state and country, bringing tourist dollars to hotels, restaurants, bars, and other establishments in the vicinity. Studies estimate the arena generates over $200 million in economic impact annually.

Beyond dollars and cents, the arena is a source of civic pride. It allows the city to attract high-profile concerts, shows, and sporting events that might otherwise skip over a smaller market. For local residents, having an arena of this caliber to call their own enhances the city’s reputation and energy.

The anchor tenants of the arena are a huge part of the city’s culture and identity. The local professional hockey and basketball teams have legions of passionate, loyal fans. The arena provides a home for these teams and a place where residents can gather and bond over sporting events. Win or lose, the shared experience of cheering on the home team fosters community spirit.

With its large capacity, prime location, and busy event calendar, the Dollar Loan Center Arena puts the city on the map. It’s an engine for economic growth as well as a hub for entertainment that brings people together. For these reasons, the arena is deeply intertwined with the fabric of the city it calls home. Grow Glide

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