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Toyota Center

Toyota Center
Exterior view of the Toyota Center
Location 1510 Polk Street[1]
Houston, Texas 77002
Public transit Main Street Square
Owner Harris County-Houston Sports Authority
Operator Clutch City Sports and Entertainment
Capacity Basketball: 18,055
Ice Hockey: 17,800
Concerts: 19,000
Broke ground July 31, 2001
Opened October 6, 2003
Construction cost $235 million
($301 million in 2016 dollars[2])
Architect Populous (then HOK Sport)[3]
Morris Architects
John Chase Architects
Structural engineer Walter P Moore[4]
Services engineer Bovay Engineers, Inc.[5]
General contractor Hunt Construction Group[6]
Houston Rockets (NBA) (2003–present)
Houston Aeros (AHL) (2003–2013)
Houston Comets (WNBA) (2003–2007)

Toyota Center is an indoor arena located in downtown Houston, Texas. It is named after the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota. The arena is home to the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association, the principal users of the building, and the former home of the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League.

Rockets owner Leslie Alexander first began to request a new arena in 1995, and attempted to release the Rockets from their lease at The Summit, which ran until 2003. However, he was denied by arena owner Chuck Watson, then-owner of the Aeros, who also wanted control of a new arena. The two sides agreed to equal control over an arena in a deal signed in 1997, but the proposal was rejected by city voters in a 1999 referendum. It was not until the city and the Rockets signed an amended agreement in 2001, excluding the Aeros, that the proposal was accepted.

Construction began in July 2001, and the new arena was officially opened in October 2003. The total costs were $235 million, with the city of Houston paying the majority, and the Rockets paying for enhancements. Toyota paid $100 million for the naming rights.


  • History 1
    • Construction 1.1
  • Arena Interior 2
    • Sponsorship 2.1
    • Seating Capacity 2.2
  • Events 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The interior of the arena during a Rockets game, prior to 2012.
Inside the Toyota Center, with the new scoreboard, 2013.

In May 1995, several Texas sports teams, including the Houston Rockets, proposed legislation that would dedicate state tax revenue to build new arenas.[7] Although the bill was failed in the Texas House of Representatives,[8][9] Rockets owner Leslie Alexander announced he would continue to study the possibility of constructing a new arena in downtown Houston,[10] saying the 20-year-old Summit arena was too outdated to be profitable.[11] Although the Summit's management said they could renovate the building for a small part of the cost of a new arena,[12] the Rockets began talks with the city of Houston on a possible location for an arena,[13] They also negotiated with Houston Aeros and Summit owner, Chuck Watson, to release them from their contract with the Summit, which ran until 2003.[14]

As the negotiations continued into 1996, a panel appointed by Houston mayor

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Compaq Center
Home of the
Houston Rockets

2003 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Compaq Center
Home of the
Houston Aeros

2003 – 2013
Succeeded by
Wells Fargo Arena
(as Iowa Wild)
Preceded by
Compaq Center
Home of the
Houston Comets

2003 – 2007
Succeeded by
Reliant Arena
Preceded by
Pepsi Center
Amway Center
Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Thomas & Mack Center
New Orleans Arena
  • Toyota Center Homepage

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ Toyota Center architect: Populous
  4. ^ - Toyota Center
  5. ^ "Houston Toyota Center". Bovay Engineers, Inc. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  6. ^ Rockets Launch a New Era At Toyota Center
  7. ^ Williams, John (May 2, 1995). "Backers Take another Run at Stadium".  
  8. ^ Williams, John (May 3, 1995). "Senate Passes Sports Subsidy".  
  9. ^ Williams, John (August 4, 1995). "Lanier Turns Down Oilers' Latest Stadium Demand".  
  10. ^ "Summary".  
  11. ^ Williams, John (April 17, 1996). "Summit Sweetens the Pot".  
  12. ^ Sefko, Eddie (September 17, 1995). "Summit to be Scene of Peace Talks".  
  13. ^ Williams, John (December 22, 1995). "Rockets, Lanier Hold Arena Talks".  
  14. ^ Williams, John (July 31, 1996). "Talks on Arena for Basketball Dribble to Stop".  
  15. ^ Williams, John (May 18, 1996). "New Stadium Put up to Bat".  
  16. ^ Fowler, Ed (November 15, 1996). "`Buyout' Isn't What It's Cracked Up to Be".  
  17. ^ Flynn, George; Mason, Julie (December 17, 1996). "Rockets Challenge Their Lease".  
  18. ^ Williams, John; Robertson, Dale (November 12, 1996). "'Let Our Rockets Go'".  
  19. ^ Williams, John; Mason, Julie (February 6, 1997). "City Sues Over Lease at Summit".  
  20. ^ Flynn, George; Mason, Julie (February 28, 1997). "Rockets Agree to Stay but Lose Lawsuit Over Summit Lease".  
  21. ^ Williams, John (April 4, 1997). "Lanier Has Arena Plans for Rockets, Aeros".  
  22. ^ Williams, John; Milling, T. J.; Hohlfeld, Neil (April 18, 1997). "Rockets Owner Agrees to Deal with City, Aeros".  
  23. ^ Milling, T. J. (July 3, 1997). "Bush Signs Stadium Bill, Clearing Last Austin Hurdle".  
  24. ^ Williams, John (July 18, 1997). "NHL Snub Halts Vote on Arena".  
  25. ^ Williams, John (January 8, 1998). "Rockets Appeal Court Ruling on Lease".  
  26. ^ Williams, John (May 22, 1998). "Rockets Owner to Drop Lawsuit Against Arena".  
  27. ^ Williams, John; Schwartz, Matt (January 20, 1999). "Mayor Plans Arena Vote for This Year".  
  28. ^ Williams, John (September 1, 1999). "Arena Deal Sets November Referendum".  
  29. ^ Schwartz, Matt (September 30, 1999). "Council Gives Symbolic Nod to Arena Deal".  
  30. ^ Williams, John (October 15, 1999). "Aeros Owner Vows Funds to Defeat Downtown Arena".  
  31. ^ Herskowitz, Mickey (October 31, 1999). "Watson Presents Case for Voting Down Referendum".  
  32. ^ a b Williams, John; Freemantle, Tony; Rodrigues, Janette (November 3, 1999). "Port Bonds Win; Arena Dunked".  
  33. ^ Blinebury, Fran (February 13, 2000). "Stern Ultimatum Hits Close to Home".  
  34. ^ Berger, Eric (February 16, 2000). "'"Rockets Meeting a `Good Start.  
  35. ^ Berger, Eric (May 13, 2000). "Louisville Woos Rockets".  
  36. ^ Berger, Eric (June 1, 2000). "Plan to Pay for Arena Revealed".  
  37. ^ Berger, Eric (July 6, 2000). "City Officials Say New Deal for Arena Affordable".  
  38. ^ Berger, Eric (July 13, 2000). "Rockets OK Arena Terms".  
  39. ^ Berger, Eric; Dean, Richard (July 26, 2000). "Negotiators Pack Up, Declare Victory on Sports Arena Deal".  
  40. ^ Berger, Eric (September 14, 2000). "City Agrees to Rockets Arena Deal".  
  41. ^ Berger, Eric (September 2, 2000). "Round 2: Arena Placed on Ballot".  
  42. ^ Berger, Eric (October 6, 2000). "Focus of Pro-Arena Ads: No New Taxes".  
  43. ^ Tedford, Deborah (October 22, 2000). "Coalition Opposes Arena Plans".  
  44. ^ Rodriguez, Lori (January 7, 2001). "Persistence Pays Off".  
  45. ^ Graves, Rachel (January 25, 2002). "Enron Chief's Departure Creates Huge Civic Void".  
  46. ^ Berger, Eric (November 9, 2000). "'"Margin of Victory for Arena Vote Called `Bizarre.  
  47. ^ Brewer, Steve (March 5, 2001). "Rockets Told to Be Judicious About Arena Changes".  
  48. ^ Graves, Rachel (January 26, 2001). "Sports Authority Starts to Condemn Arena Lots".  
  49. ^ a b Brewer, Steve (October 25, 2001). "Sports Authority Sets Up Interim Financing for Arena".  
  50. ^ Brewer, Steve (February 6, 2002). "Loan Plan for Garage Canceled".  
  51. ^ a b Warren, Audrey (July 24, 2001). "Don't Like Stairs? Come on Down! New Arena to Be Below Street Level".  
  52. ^ a b c d Manfull, Megan (October 5, 2003). "Newest Addition to East Side Has City Officials Feeling Rejuvenated".  
  53. ^ "New Arena Takes Off".  
  54. ^ a b c Lopez, John P. (September 2, 2003). "From the Ground Up, Alexander Keeps Fans' Needs in Mind".  
  55. ^ Lopez, John P. (September 2, 2003). "Rockets' Big Move a Winner".  
  56. ^ Manfull, Megan (June 11, 2003). "Seeing Rockets Will Cost More, Less in New Arena".  
  57. ^ a b c "Toyota Center Club Seating". 
  58. ^ a b c "Houston Toyota Center: About Us". 
  59. ^ "Houston Toyota Center: A to Z Guide". 
  60. ^ "Houston Toyota Center: Red & White Wine Bistro". 
  61. ^ "Levy to Manage Food at New Downtown Arena".  
  62. ^ "Toyota Center New Scoreboard". Retrieved February 6, 2013. 
  63. ^ "2013 NBA All Star Game Wi-Fi Powered by SignalShare". Retrieved April 10, 2013. 
  64. ^ Feigen, Jonathan (July 25, 2003). "Arena's Sticker Price for Toyota: $100 Million".  
  65. ^ 2012-2013 Houston Rockets Media Guide
  66. ^ Pugh, Clifford (August 11, 2003). "Toyota Center to Rev Up With Diverse Acts, Sports".  
  67. ^ Guerra, Joey (November 22, 2008). "Metallica Pulls With Magnetic Songs".  
  68. ^ Feigen, Jonathan (March 27, 2010). "Lakers Cruise to Win, Hand Rockets Fourth Straight Loss".  
  69. ^ Johnson, Mike. "COMPLETE 2015 WWE PPV SCHEDULE". Retrieved 7 January 2015. 


See also

Passion Conferences has been held in the Toyota Center in 2014, 2015, and will be held there in 2016 as well. The conference draws around 20,000 people with multiple other gatherings held in Atlanta, GA.

Many concerts have also taken place in the Toyota Center, like Prince, Duran Duran on their Astronaut tour, Janet Jackson, Madonna on her MDNA Tour, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gloria Estefan, Muse, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Bruno Mars, Christina Aguilera, P!nk, Andrea Bocelli, Roger Waters, High School Musical The Concert, Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, Coldplay, RBD, Laura Pausini, Alanis Morissette, Matchbox Twenty, Fiona Apple, Nickelback, Depeche Mode, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias, Katy Perry, Drake, Shakira, Britney Spears, Kanye West and Jay-Z with their successful Watch The Throne Tour, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, The Rolling Stones, One Direction, and Rammstein.

On August 21, 2010, it played host to Strikeforce: Houston.

The arena hosted the 9th Annual Latin Grammy Awards on November 13, 2008. It also held the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the night before WrestleMania XXV took place at NRG Stadium and, also held WWE No Mercy 2005, WWE Vengeance 2007 and WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs two times, in 2010 and 2013. On September 20, 2015, the arena hosted WWE Night of Champions.[69]

Event Date Attendance
UFC 69 Saturday, April 7, 2007 15,269
UFC 136 Saturday, October 8, 2011 16,164
UFC 166 Saturday, October 19, 2013 17,238
UFC 192 Saturday, October 3, 2015 14,622

In 2007, 2011, 2013, and 2015, it played host to a UFC event.

Miley Cyrus performed in the arena during her 2014 Bangerz Tour after previously performing in the arena during her 2007-2008 Best of Both Worlds Tour on November 11, 2007. Cyrus has performed 2 total sold-out nights in the arena since 2007.

Lady Gaga also performed at the arena for the first time on her The Monster Ball Tour. She also performed at the Toyota Center for The Born This Way Ball Tour and performed for her world tour, ArtRave: The Artpop Ball on July 16, 2014.

American singer/songwriter, P!nk performed at the arena for the first time on the 24th of September, 2009 on her Funhouse Tour. She performed at the arena again on the 21st of February on her The Truth About Love Tour.

The R&B girl group Destiny's Child performed at the Toyota Center on August 20, 2005, with the Destiny Fulfilled... and Lovin' It Tour. Beyoncé, as a solo artist, performed at the arena many times: on July 14, 2007, with The Beyoncé Experience Tour; on July 4, 2009, with the I Am... World Tour; on July 15, 2013, and once more on December 10, 2013, with The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. Beyoncé was born in Houston, on September 4, 1981.

In its first year, the total attendance for events at the arena exceeded 1.5 million. The arena was also the winner of the Allen Award for Civic Enhancement by Central Houston, the "Rookie of the Year" award by the Harlem Globetrotters, and a finalist for Pollstar Magazine’s "Best New Concert Venue" award.[58] The current attendance for a concert held at the arena was set on November 20, 2008, when Metallica played to a sold out crowd during the Death Magnetic tour.[67] The record for a basketball game is 18,583, set on March 26, 2010, when the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Rockets 109–101.[68]

The arena's first event was a Fleetwood Mac concert on October 6, 2003, and the first Rockets game at the Toyota Center was against the Denver Nuggets on October 30.[66]


  • 17,982 (2003–2007)
  • 18,043 (2007–2012)
  • 18,023 (2012–2014)
  • 18,055 (2014–present)

The seating capacity for basketball games has been as follows:[65]

Seating Capacity

In July 2003, the arena was named the Toyota Center, after Toyota agreed to pay $100 million for naming rights, the fourth-largest deal for a sports arena in the United States at the time. The logo of the company was placed on the roof of the building, as well in other prominent places inside the arena, and the company was given "a dominant presence" in commercials shown during broadcasts of games played in the arena.[64]


Another amenity new to the Toyota Center in the 2012-2013 season is Wi-Fi. Designed by SignalShare and implemented by, the Wi-Fi network is deployed throughout the arena and allows high-speed internet access during events. Its implementation was timed to be ready for the NBA All Stars Game.[57][63]

Levy Restaurants manages concession services at the arena, and offers fast food on the main concourses, while also catering a VIP restaurant for Suite and Club Seat holders.[61] Alexander personally chose colors for the restaurant to help customers feel "warm and comfortable", and Rockets president George Postolos said that the Rockets looked "for a relationship with the people that attend events in our venue".[54] Originally, a 40 feet (12 m) by 32 feet (9.8 m) centerhung video system from Daktronics, which has four main replay screens and eight other full-color displays, hung from the ceiling of the arena, and had the highest-resolution display of any North American sports facility. In 2012, the Toyota Center installed a larger, 4 panel scoreboard, similar to the one installed at AT&T Stadium, measuring 58 feet (18 m) by 25 feet (7.6 m) on the sidelines, and 25 feet (7.6 m) by 25 feet (7.6 m) on the ends, making it the largest such video board in an indoor arena. This larger scoreboard was installed by Panasonic and made its debut during the Houston Rockets 2012-13 season opener. The arena has two additional displays located at each end of the court, and a "state-of-the-art" audio system.[54][57][62]

Toyota Center also features the Red & White Wine Bistro, located on the lower suites level on the south side of the arena.[60] The restaurant features a huge dining room, private bar, two twin 1,500 bottle wine towers and views of the arena floor.

Additionally, the floor level features three separate private club lounges for access from court-side seat holders and floor seat concert goers. Lexus Lounge and Woodforest Club are on the west side of the floor level and the Platinum Lounge is located on the east side of the floor level.[59] All feature upscale amenities including multiple flat screen televisions, private bar, restrooms, and plush seating. The Lexus Lounge has its own pool tables and all three court-side lounges feature numerous private court-side suites.[58]

It has 103 luxury suites and 2,900 club seats (Sections 105-109, Rockets Club West; Sections 118-122, Rockets Club East). The Rockets East & West Clubs feature upscale concessions, extra wide seats, full private bar featuring premium wine and beverage selections and concierge service.[57] The adjacent 2,500-space Toyota Tundra garage is connected to the arena by a private skybridge that can be accessed by Suite, Court-side and Club Seat holders.[58]

The arena can seat 18,055 for basketball, 17,800 for ice hockey, and 19,300 for concerts.[49] The price for courtside seats to a Rockets game in the new arena were raised by as much as 50% compared to prices in the team's old home, while upper-deck seat prices were lowered.[56]

Arena Interior

At the request of Alexander, the arena was built 32 feet (9.8 m) below street level, so fans would not have to walk up stairs to reach their seats.[51] To sink the arena, $12 million was spent to excavate 31,500 cubic yards of dirt over four months,[52] which was the largest excavation in Houston history.[54] Concrete was poured for the foundation throughout the summer of 2002, and structural work began in October. The roof was set on in December, as work continued inside, with a peak workforce of 650. In September 2003, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to mark the official opening of the arena.[52] The total cost of construction was $235 million, with the city paying $182 million, and the Rockets adding $43 million for additions and enhancements.[55]

[52] and construction continued for 26 months.[53] A groundbreaking ceremony was held on July 31, 2001,[52] A building formerly owned by Houston Lighting and Power Company was demolished to make way for the arena, and two streets were closed for the duration of the construction.[51] was contracted to build the arena.Hunt Construction) building, and 2 Morris Architects, designed the 750,000-square-foot (70,000 m[50][49] and borrowing $30 million.bonds and paid for it by selling [48] which was near the [47] According to the agreement signed, the city of Houston bought the land for the arena and an adjoining parking garage,

Toyota Center Tundra Parking Garage
Toyota's logo is seen on the roof of the arena.
the back side of Toyota Center.


After the vote, NBA commissioner David Stern said "if there's not a new building...I think it's certain that the team will be relocated."[33] The Houston Sports Authority had not planned to meet with the Rockets until after the 1999–2000 NBA season ended, but after the Rockets began to talk to other cities about relocation, they resumed talks in February 2000.[34] Although the Rockets continued to negotiate with Louisville, Kentucky.[35] a funding plan for the arena in Houston was released in June.[36] A final agreement was proposed on July 6,[37] and both the Rockets and mayor Brown agreed to the terms.[38][39] After the city council approved the deal,[40] the proposal was placed on the November referendum ballot.[41] Leading up to the vote, the Rockets stressed that there would be "no new taxes of any kind",[42] although opponents said the new arena would raise energy consumption, and also contended that the public would pay for too much of the costs of the arena.[43] Contributions for the campaign for the arena included donations of $400,000 from Reliant Energy, and a total of $590,000 in loans and contributions from Enron and Ken Lay,[44] who the Rockets said was a "tireless" force in the campaign.[45] On November 8, the arena was approved by 66% of voters.[46]

However, after the National Hockey League decided not to consider Houston as a location for an expansion team because of the indecision over the new arena, Lanier said that he would not have a referendum in November.[24] The Rockets began an appeal in January 1998 against the court order to stay at the Summit,[25] but then dropped it in May, because they felt that a new arena would be ready by the time they finished their lease.[26] In January 1999, recently elected mayor Lee Brown guaranteed a referendum on the issue before the end of the year.[27] After several months negotiating with the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, the Rockets finalized a deal to pay half of the constructions costs, and a referendum was set for November 2.[28] The deal was approved by Brown and the Houston City Council,[29] but Watson started an opposition group against the referendum,[30] saying the arena was "not in Houston's interest".[31] On November 3, the results of the referendum were announced, and the arena proposal was rejected by 54% of voters.[32] Alexander said "we never thought we would lose" and that they were "devastated by the loss".[32]


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