World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

McNichols Sports Arena

McNichols Sports Arena
The arena in 1994
Location 1635 Bryant Street
Denver, Colorado 80204
Owner City of Denver
Operator Feyline
Capacity Basketball: 16,700 (1975-1977), 17,387 (1977-1981), 17,251 (1981-1986), 17,022 (1986-1993), 17,171 (1993-1999)
Ice hockey: 15,900 (1975-1977), 16,399 (1977-1981), 16,384 (1981-1986), 16,061 (1986-1999)
Broke ground August 8, 1973[1]
Opened August 22, 1975[2]
Renovated 1986
Closed September 29, 1999
Demolished January 24, 2000[3]
Construction cost $16 million
($70.1 million in 2016 dollars[4])
Architect Charles S. Sink & Associates[5]
Structural engineer Ketchum, Konkel, Ryan, & Fleming
Denver Spurs (WHA) (1975–1976)
Colorado Rockies (NHL) (1976–1982)
Colorado Flames (CHL) (1982–1984)
Denver Nuggets (NBA) (1975–1999)
Colorado Avalanche (NHL) (1995–1999)
Denver Grizzlies (IHL) (1994–1995)
Denver Dynamite (AFL) (1987–1991)
Denver Avalanche (MISL) (1980–1982)
Colorado Xplosion (ABL) (1996-1998)

McNichols Sports Arena was an indoor arena located in Denver, Colorado. Located adjacent to Mile High Stadium and completed in 1975, at a cost of $16 million, it seated 16,061 for hockey games, 17,171 for basketball games and contained 27 luxury suites, which were installed as part of a 1986 renovation. It was named after Denver mayor William H. McNichols, Jr., who served from 1968 to 1983. A small-scale scandal surrounded the naming, because McNichols was in office at the time. The 1986 renovations also saw the original Stewart-Warner end-zone scoreboards, which each had color matrix screens, upgraded by White Way Sign with new digits and to include new color video screens (which replaced the matrix screens).

The arena was largely shuttered after the Nuggets and Avalanche moved to Pepsi Center and was razed in 2000 to make space for a parking lot surrounding Sports Authority Field at Mile High.


  • Sports connections 1
  • Notable events 2
  • Final years 3
  • References 4

Sports connections

"Big Mac" was the home of the Denver Spurs of the WHA from 1975 to 1976, the Colorado Rockies of the NHL from 1976 to 1982, the Colorado Flames of the CHL from 1982 to 1984, the Denver Nuggets of the ABA and NBA from 1975 to 1999, the Denver Avalanche of the MISL from 1981 to 1982, the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL from 1995 to 1999, and the Denver Grizzlies of the International Hockey League from 1994 to 1995.

McNichols hosted the NCAA Final Four in 1990, won by UNLV over Duke University and the West Regional Semifinal in 1996. It was also host to the 1976 ABA All-Star Game, in which the host Nuggets defeated the ABA All-Stars, games 1, 2, and 5 of the 1976 ABA finals, and the 1984 NBA All-Star Game. It also hosted games one and two of the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996, where the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Florida Panthers in four games to bring the Mile High City its first major sports championship.

The arena was the site of the largest crowd ever to see an NCAA college ice hockey game in the State of Colorado, as the University of Denver defeated Colorado College, 3–2, for the Denver Cup championship in 1995, with over 16,000 fans in attendance. However that mark was surpassed on April 12, 2008 when 18,632 people attended the championship game of the 2008 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament championship game at Pepsi Center.

Another notable event at McNichols took place on December 13, 1983, when the Nuggets hosted the Detroit Pistons in a regular season contest. Nugget players Kiki Vandeweghe and Alex English scored 51 and 47 points respectively, while Piston Isiah Thomas also scored 47 points, with teammate John Long scoring 41 in a 186-184 triple-overtime Detroit win over the Nuggets. The game, still to date, is the highest-scoring game in NBA history, and also holds the record for the most players to score 40 or more points in a single game. However, the game was not televised in the Denver area (instead being shown back to the Detroit market, via WKBD-TV) and was attended by just over 9,300 people. This game has since been broadcast on NBA TV and ESPN Classic.

On October 9, 1987 the US HOT ROD Mud Bog & Battle of the Monster Trucks show was hosted. It was the only monster truck event held at McNichols.

Notable events

Depeche Mode played 2 concerts there: Singles Tour (Nov. 29, 1998), Devotional Tour (Nov. 2, 1993).

American rock band The Grateful Dead played 13 concerts there, with shows in 1977, 1979, 1981, 1990, 1992, and 1994.

REO Speedwagon's concert from 1981 was performed here, as MTV's first ever live concert.

The Jacksons performed at McNichols Arena on September 3, 1981 during their Triumph Tour.[6]

The arena played host to Amnesty International's A Conspiracy of Hope Benefit Concert on June 8, 1986. The show was headlined by U2 and Sting and also featured Bryan Adams, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Joan Baez and The Neville Brothers.

Parts of U2's half-live rockumentary Rattle and Hum, came from one concert filmed in the arena, on the third leg of the band's 1987 Joshua Tree Tour, including Bono's famous "Fuck the revolution!" speech during "Sunday Bloody Sunday".[7]

Def Leppard recorded one of their shows here in February 1988 and released it as Live: In the Round, in Your Face.

Elvis Presley performed at McNichols Arena on April 24, 1976 to a sellout crowd of 19,000.

Michael Jackson performed three consecutive sold–out shows at McNichols Sports Arena, during his Bad World Tour on March 24–26, 1988.

The bonus tracks on Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble’s album In Step, including “The House is Rockin’” (Live), “Let Me Love You Baby” (Live), “Texas Flood” (Live), and “Life Without You” (Live) were recorded on November 29, 1989 at McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, CO. In this recording of “Life Without You”, Vaughan delivers his poignant monologue on his troubles, with substances abuse and his newly found sobriety. He asks those in the audience to take care of themselves so they can "be there for the ones who love you and need you the most."

UFC 1 the first event of the Ultimate Fighting Championship was held there in 1993.[8] The announcer of the first ever UFC was Bill Wallace. Wallace made a number of errors during the introduction of the show. Firstly he introduced the show as the “Ultimate Fighting Challenge”, and secondly he belched as he said “McNichols Arena” making it sound like he said “Mcniqoolz Areda”. Wallace immediately apologized for the blunder but unfortunately was unable to make up for the error and subsequently lost his position on the show following that night.[9]

Phish performed and recorded their show, on November 17, 1997, which was later released as a live album, entitled Live Phish Volume 11.

ZZ Top performed at the venue's final concert on September 12, 1999. They were the first rock band to play the arena on August 27, 1975.[10]

Final years

The Colorado Avalanche played their final game on June 1, 1999 during the playoffs versus the Dallas Stars and the NBA's Denver Nuggets played their last game on May 5, 1999 against the Houston Rockets. Though the arena was only 24 years old when it was demolished, like most arenas of the 1970s, it was narrow and dark in the concourse level corridors. In addition, the locker rooms and shower facilities were not updated to NBA and NHL standards. Also, the arena lacked enough luxury suites (27 compared to some newer arenas' 200 or more) and had no club seating. Combined, these factors effectively made McNichols Sports Arena obsolete.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Big Mac Attack: Remembering McNichols Sports Arena
  4. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  5. ^ Rinaldi, Ray Mark (May 2, 2013). "Architect Charles Sink Left a Legacy of Modernism in Denver".  
  6. ^ Triumph Tour
  7. ^ Rattle & Hum, The Movie, 1988
  8. ^ Fight Finder - UFC 1 The Beginning Mixed Martial Arts Statistics
  9. ^
  10. ^
Events and tenants
Preceded by
Denver Arena Auditorium
Home of the
Denver Nuggets

Succeeded by
Pepsi Center
Preceded by
Quebec Coliseum (as Quebec Nordiques)
Home of the
Colorado Avalanche

Succeeded by
Pepsi Center
Preceded by
The Forum
Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Hoosier Dome
Preceded by
NCAA Men's Division I
Basketball Tournament
Finals Venue

Succeeded by
Hoosier Dome
Preceded by
Kemper Arena
Home of the
Colorado Rockies

Succeeded by
Brendan Byrne Arena
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Denver Grizzlies

Succeeded by
E Center
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Denver Spurs

Succeeded by
last arena
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Colorado Flames

Succeeded by
last arena
Preceded by
First event
Ultimate Fighting Championship

Succeeded by
Mammoth Gardens
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.