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Cow Palace

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Title: Cow Palace  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Oracle Arena, SuperBrawl, Daly City, California, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 1975 NBA Finals
Collection: Agriculture in California, Arena Football Venues, Defunct National Hockey League Venues, Ice Hockey Venues in California, Indoor Ice Hockey Venues in the United States, Indoor Soccer Venues in the United States, North American Soccer League (1968–84) Indoor Venues, Professional Wrestling Venues in the United States, San Francisco Warriors Venues, San Jose Sharks Arenas, Sports Venues in San Francisco, California, Sports Venues in San Mateo County, California, Sports Venues in the San Francisco Bay Area
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Cow Palace

Cow Palace
Former names California State Livestock Pavilion (1941-44)
Location 2600 Geneva Avenue
Daly City, California 94014
Owner California Department of Food and Agriculture
Operator California Department of Food and Agriculture
Capacity Basketball: 12,953
Ice hockey: 11,089
Surface Multi-surface
Opened April 1941
San Francisco Bulls (ECHL) (2012–14)
San Jose Wolves (AIFA) (2010)
San Francisco Warriors (NBA) (1962–64, 1966–71)
San Francisco Seals (WHL) (1961–67)
San Jose Sharks (NHL) (1991–93)
San Francisco Spiders (IHL) (1995–96)
Grand National Rodeo (PRCA) (1941–present)
1960 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
San Jose Earthquakes (NASL) (1975–84)
San Francisco Fog (MISL) (1980–81)
American Idol (20042006, 08)
The X Factor (2012–13)
College National Finals Rodeo (1949–50)

Cow Palace (originally the California State Livestock Pavilion) is an indoor arena located in Daly City, California, situated on the city's border with neighboring San Francisco.


  • History 1
    • Behind the name 1.1
    • During World War II 1.2
    • Sports 1.3
  • Events 2
    • Politics 2.1
    • Concerts 2.2
    • Rodeos and livestock expositions 2.3
    • Recent developments 2.4
    • Notable commencement ceremonies 2.5
  • Location 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Completed in 1941, it hosted the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus visited the Cow Palace, joined in later years by what is now Disney on Ice; both events are now held at Oracle Arena. The arena seats 11,089 for ice hockey and 12,953 for basketball. When the Warriors played there its basketball capacity was about 14,500. It has also been the home of the annual Grand National Rodeo, Horse & Stock Show since 1941 (except for a break from 1942 to 1945 due to World War II). The venue hosted the 1960 men's NCAA basketball Final Four and the 1967 NBA All-Star Game. Sesame Street Live has been held at the Cow Palace since the early 1980s, as has Champions on Ice. In recent years the Cow Palace has been the Bay Area stop for the Cirque du Soleil.

Behind the name

The idea for the arena was originally conceived as the result of the popularity of the livestock pavilion at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Newspaper records show that the name "Cow Palace" was used as early as May 1935. One story for how the current name came about tells of a newspaper editorial that asked "Why, when people are starving, should money be spent on a "palace for cows?" Thus, the Cow Palace was born.

During World War II

The arena opened in April 1941. During World War II, though, the arena was used for processing soldiers bound for the Pacific Theater. In the following years, it hosted countless hockey and basketball games, wrestling and boxing matches, concerts, Roller derby and political events, most notably the 1956 and 1964 Republican National Conventions. The arena is still used for the Grand National Rodeo today and other events.


The San Francisco Warriors of the National Basketball Association called the Cow Palace home from 1962 to 1964 and from 1966 to 1971. The franchise then moved across the bay to the new Oakland Coliseum Arena (now Oracle Arena) and changed their name to Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors lost to the Boston Celtics in the 1964 NBA Finals. The 1967 NBA Finals between San Francisco and the Philadelphia 76ers saw three games held at the Cow Palace. The two NBA Finals games hosted by the Warriors in their 1974-75 championship season were also held at the Cow Palace because of other events at the Oakland Coliseum.

On and off between 1975 and 1984, the San Jose/Golden Bay Earthquakes of the NASL played indoor soccer at the Cow Palace, including hosting the 1975 NASL indoor championship game, which they won 8–5 over the Tampa Bay Rowdies.[1][2] The 'Quakes spent several seasons playing at the Oakland Coliseum Arena before splitting time between the two arenas for the 1983–84 NASL Indoor season.

The San Francisco Shamrocks (PHL) called the Cow Palace home from 1977 to 1979. They won the championship their first season, but ended up disbanding in January 1979 part way through their second season.

The Major Indoor Soccer League came to the Cow Palace for the 1980-81 season, when David Schoenstadt relocated his Detroit Lightning there, renaming them the San Francisco Fog. After a dismal season with an 11-29 record and less than a thousand fans per game, Schoenstadt moved the franchise again, this time to Kemper Arena, where the team flourished as the Kansas City Comets.

More recently, the NHL's San Jose Sharks played their first two seasons of existence at the Cow Palace, although the NHL had previously rejected the building in 1967 as a home for the expansion California Seals franchise. From 1991 to 1993, the Sharks sold out every game played at the building, although its capacity for hockey games was just over 11,000. It was one of the last buildings to house a smaller than NHL-standard rink.

San Jose lost their first game at the Cow Palace to the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 on October 5, 1991. Wayne Presley scored the first Sharks goal at the arena. Three nights later, San Jose won their first game in franchise history there, a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames.

The Sharks' second season in the Cow Palace was highlighted by a 17-game losing streak and a league record 71 losses. The Sharks ended their run at the Cow Palace at the conclusion of the 1992-93 season with a 3-2 loss to eventual Campbell Conference champion Los Angeles on April 10, 1993. The team moved to the new San Jose Arena (now the SAP Center at San Jose) to start 1993-94 after going 22-56-4 at their first home.

At the Cow Palace, the Sharks recorded the franchise's first win, shutout (Arturs Irbe) and hat trick (Rob Gaudreau). The team also introduced their mascot, SJ Sharkie, on the Cow Palace ice in mid-1992 when he climbed out of the front of a Zamboni. He later bungee-jumped from the rafters near the end of the first season.

In 1995, the IHL's San Francisco Spiders played their only season at the Cow Palace. Interestingly, several players who played for the Sharks during their Cow Palace years suited up for the Spiders that year. Due to poor attendance, the team ceased operations at the end of the 1995-96 season.

The Palace has also hosted wrestling events, most notably WCW's Superbrawl in 1997, 1998, and 2000 and WWE's No Way Out in 2004.[3]

From 1974 to 1989 the Cow Palace was the site of a yearly tournament on the men's professional tennis tour. Some of the biggest names in tennis played there, such as Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl.[4]

In 2010, the Cow Palace once again had a regular sports tenant when the American Indoor Football Association's San Jose Wolves kicked off. However, the next year they would move to Stockton as the independent Stockton Wolves.

On September 27, 2011 the ECHL formally announced that pro hockey would return to the Cow Palace after a 16-year hiatus with the arrival of the San Francisco Bulls the following fall. To accommodate the new team its ownership spent $2 million on renovating the team locker rooms, upgrading the concession stands, food improvements and installing new widescreen HD monitors to observe gameplay, installing a new ice system (as the old ammonia-based system that was in place for the Seals, Shamrocks, Sharks & Spiders had since become outdated and illegal) and a new custom-made wraparound LED video scoreboard with its game presentation system and ten sets of speaker arrays. The center hung video board has a 360° view for game presentation and full timekeeping and statistics. The new Colosseo Cube scoreboard – made by Colosseo USA - was custom built in order to agree with some of the weight bearing limitations for the roof. The engineers designed new structural steel beams and had them installed in the rafters to provide the additional support required.[5] The Bulls folded on January 28, 2014, 40 games into their second season.[6]



The Cow Palace twice hosted the Republican National Convention. Republicans gathered at the Cow Palace for the 1956 Republican National Convention to renominate Dwight D. Eisenhower for President and Richard Nixon for Vice President. The ticket won in a landslide.

The Republicans came back eight years later for the 1964 Republican National Convention at which Barry Goldwater was nominated for President and William Miller was nominated for Vice President. Both of them would go on to lose to Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey, respectively.


On August 19, 1964, The Beatles opened their first North American concert tour playing at the Cow Palace. They also played two shows at the arena on August 31, 1965, their 10th and final stop on their 1965 North American tour.

The Jackson 5 played their second concert at the Cow Palace, June 19, 1970.

During a November 20, 1973 concert by The Who, their drummer Keith Moon, passed out from an overdose of horse tranquilizers. A fan of the band, Scot Halpin, completed the group's set that evening.[7]

The Allman Brothers Band played there on New Year's Eve, 1973, with The Grateful Dead members sitting in. The Grateful Dead also held a double bill, with Santana, on New Year's Eve 1976 and released a live CD, titled Live at the Cow Palace. They also recorded Dick's Picks Volume 24 here on March 23, 1974.

The Rolling Stones played the Cow Palace July 15–16, 1975

Kiss and Cheap Trick played the Cow Palace on August 16, 1977. Kiss dedicated "Rock and Roll All Nite" to Elvis Presley who had died that day. Elvis himself had performed here over two consecutive nights during the previous November, towards the end of his fall tour of 1976.

On April 13, 1975 Pink Floyd performed here during their Wish You Were Here Tour. The set list included a performance of their entire The Dark Side of the Moon album.

In 1976, Paul McCartney and Wings played here. Part of the concert, in edited form, appears on the 2013 remaster of Wings Over America.

A majority of the songs on the album, Live Rust and the concert film, "Rust Never Sleeps", by Neil Young & Crazy Horse, were recorded during a concert at the Cow Palace on October 22, 1978.

On December 31, 1978, The Runaways performed their last concert ever before their break up in April.

In February 1979, Neil Diamond fell onstage and couldn't get up. Less than two days later, he underwent 14 hours of delicate surgery, to remove a nonmalignant tumor, located dangerously close to his spine.

The Jacksons performed at the Cow Palace on September 17, 1981 during their Triumph Tour.

On December 30, 1981, Ozzy Osbourne & Randy Rhoads kicked off the opening night of the North America Leg of the Diary of a Madman Tour at the Cow Palace and blew everybody & everything away with a phenomenal show.

Prince brought his Purple Rain tour to the Cow Palace for 6 sold out nights from February 27-March 5, 1985. Sheila E. was the opening act. On the tickets it said "Wear Purple."

The arena played host to Amnesty International's A Conspiracy of Hope Benefit Concert on June 4, 1986. The show was headlined by U2 and Sting and also featured Bryan Adams, Jackson Browne, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Joan Baez and The Neville Brothers.

Fleetwood Mac filmed both December 12–13, 1987 concerts at the Palace for a 1988 home video release.

Van Halen sold out 3 nights at the Cow Palace from May 9 to 11, 1984 during the 1984 Tour (the last tour with David Lee Roth until 2007) as well as 5 nights for the last 5 shows of the 1986 Tour (the 1st tour with Sammy Hagar).

Nirvana played at the Cow Palace twice. The first time was December 31, 1991, along with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. The second time was a Bosnian rape benefit show on April 9, 1993, along with several other acts such as The Breeders and L7. The 1993 concert was the first time many of their songs on their upcoming album In Utero were played live and the last time for some older songs, such as "Negative Creep." There is a full video of the concert on YouTube, along with an interview.

Rodeos and livestock expositions

California Department of Food and Agriculture, Division of Fairs and Expositions

The Cow Palace is officially the 1-A District Agricultural Association, a State agency of the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Division of Fairs and Expositions. It has extensive stable and barn facilities for animal events, which are used for the annual Grand National Rodeo and occasionally for other events.

It also used to host events on the now-defunct BRO (Bull Riders Only) tour.

Recent developments

In the spring of 2008, State Senator Leland Yee advanced legislation to allow Daly City to purchase the Cow Palace from the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Division of Fairs and Expositions in order to develop housing, basic amenities, and possibly a school for the surrounding area.[8][9] However, the legislation was opposed by groups that regularly use the venue and other California citizens outside Daly City.[9]

On September 9, 2008 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed this proposed sale of the Cow Palace overflow parking lot.[10] Following the 2008 publicity associated with Leland Yee's failed bill, the Cow Palace board of directors entered exclusive negotiations with Cypress Equities for a 60-year lease to develop the 13-acre (5.3 ha) proposed by Daly City.[11] Due to the lack of progress, this agreement was subsequently terminated and negotiations then commenced with a Marin County-based developer in early 2010.

Notable commencement ceremonies

Starting in 2015, the Academy of Art University holds its commencement ceremony at Cow Palace.[12]


The Cow Palace has a Daly City address, and except for the very northwest corner of the parking lot which is across the San Francisco border, it lies entirely within Daly City.

See also


  1. ^ The Evening Independent - Mar 17, 1975
  2. ^ The Evening Independent - Mar 19, 1976
  3. ^ Berry, Viktor (13 May 2008). "Illustrated History of Pro Wrestling in Northern California". Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Jenkins, Bruce (February 9, 2013). "Farewell SAP Open ends rich tradition". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved Jan 28, 2014. 
  5. ^ Randy, Thompson. "Bulls Unveil Multi-Million dollar improvements". Pro Hockey News. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  6. ^ Larseth, Mike. "San Francisco Bulls hockey team ceases operations". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 21, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Keith Moon Passes Out On Stage and Is Replaced by Scot Halpin". August 7, 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Carolyn Tyler (November 29, 2007). "Daly City residents demand a local supermarket". KGO-TV ABC News 7. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Jonathan Curiel (28 February 2008). "The Cow Palace may be history". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  10. ^ Bill allowing Cow Palace parking lot sale vetoed
  11. ^ Will veto benefit the Cow Palace?"
  12. ^

External links

  • Official website
  • Grand National Rodeo, Horse & Stock Show website
Events and tenants
Preceded by

Philadelphia Arena

War Memorial Gymnasium & San Francisco Civic Auditorium
Home of the
San Francisco Warriors

Succeeded by

War Memorial Gymnasium & San Francisco Civic Auditorium

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
San Jose Sharks

Succeeded by
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena
Preceded by
Freedom Hall
NCAA Men's Division I
Basketball Tournament
Finals Venue

Succeeded by
Municipal Auditorium
Preceded by
Cincinnati Gardens
Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Madison Square Garden
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