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Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena

Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena
Spokane Arena, "The Arena"

Location 720 W. Mallon Avenue
Spokane, Washington 99201
 United States
Owner Spokane Public Facilities District (SPFD)
Operator Spokane Public Facilities District (SPFD)

End Stage concert: 12,638
Basketball: 12,210
Hockey: 10,759
Indoor football: 10,771

Expansion possibilities: 14,000+
Surface Multi-surface
Broke ground March 5, 1993
Opened September 10, 1995[1]
Construction cost $62.6 million
($96.9 million in 2016 dollars[2])
Architect ALSC Architects
Ellerbe Becket
General contractor Garco Construction
Spokane Chiefs (WHL) (1995–present)
Gonzaga Bulldogs (NCAA) (1995-2004)
Spokane Shock (AFL) (2006–2015)
Spokane IFL Team (IFL) (2016-future)

Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena (Spokane Arena) a multi-purpose arena, located in Spokane, Washington, USA.

It is home to the Spokane Chiefs, of the WHL and starting in 2016, will be the home of the Spokane IFL Team, of the IFL.


  • Facility 1
    • Construction 1.1
    • Building facts 1.2
    • 2012 Expansion/Future 1.3
  • Events 2
    • Sports 2.1
      • Basketball 2.1.1
      • Bull riding 2.1.2
      • Figure skating 2.1.3
    • WWE 2.2
    • Football 2.3
    • Ice hockey 2.4
    • Concerts at Star Theatre 2.5
    • Other events 2.6
    • Notable events hosted 2.7
  • References 3
  • External links 4



With an aging Spokane Coliseum, along with a need for a larger facility more than twice the coliseum's capacity, the Spokane City Council and Board of Spokane County Commissioners formed the Spokane Public Facilities District (SPFD) to acquire, construct, own and operate sports and entertainment facilities with contiguous parking facilities. In 1990, the SPFD board members unanimously agreed on the following recommendations made by an economic feasibility/market study. The recommendations were:

  • To build an arena opposed to a domed stadium
  • An arena that could seat 12,000 to 14,000 with expansion capabilities
  • To build the new arena on city-owned land located adjacent to the old coliseum with on-site parking for 2,000 automobiles

Voters rejected the Spokane Arena four times in six years before agreeing to build it in 1991.

In the fall of that year, two ballot measures were put out to voters, and passed:

  • One, to publicly finance the construction of the arena through a property tax bond issue worth US$38 million
  • Two, a measure to validate the SPFD. Validation was important, because it would allow the district to implement a 2% hotel tax to further fund construction

In the fall of 1991, another funding measure was put out to voters and was passed. It involved a 0.1% raise in the sales tax. The passage of all three measures completed the US$44.8 million financining needed to build the arena.

The Spokane Arena broke ground on March 5, 1993, and opened in September 1995.

Building facts

The Spokane Arena has a capacity for:

  • 12,638 for end-stage concerts
  • 12,494 for center-stage shows
  • 12,210 for basketball
  • 10,759 for ice hockey
  • 10,771 for arena football
  • 6,951 for half-house shows

The arena has a state-of-the-art audio and video system. It consists of a 15-foot (4.6 m) x 20-foot (6.1 m) Viacom Sports 12 mm LED display, which is capable of being used as two separate units. The video board has exceptional color reproduction and the best off-angle viewing available for any LED format. It can even be moved forward approximately 100 feet (30 m) and down to approximately 20 feet (6.1 m) off the arena floor. The arena also features a 350° color LED ribbon board, which is mounted on the fascia of the Spokane Arena bowl. It is capable of displaying text messages, animations, logos, scores and statistics.

Powered by Crown Amplifiers, the audio system is driven by Community RS880 speakers in the Arena bowl, Altec Lansing satellite speakers for the upper seating areas, and Bose speakers serve the concourse, dressing rooms, and backstage hallways.

Large public areas are one of the greater features of the Spokane Arena. The arena floor is 32,000 square feet (3,000 m2), and the 14-foot (4.3 m) high concourse is a spacious 35,000 square feet (3,300 m2). 16 luxury suites contain a total of 146 seats. In addition, there are six meeting rooms located at the Spokane Arena, totalling 10,050 square feet (934 m2) of meeting space.

On the Events Level, there are five truck docks with 8-foot (2.4 m) x 10-foot (3.0 m) loading doors, one 8-foot (2.4 m) x 10-foot (3.0 m) drive-in door, and one 20-foot (6.1 m) x 24-foot (7.3 m) drive-in loading door, allowing large shows to load and unload eight trucks simultaneously. Trucks can load and unload unobstructed, directly into the marshalling area at the arena floor's west end. Backstage are three star dressing rooms, two promoter offices (located in the marshalling area), and seven team dressing rooms, as well as a dressing room for officials.

2012 Expansion/Future

Incorporated into its original design was an area designated for future expansion of the arena. Expansion of the upper bowl would raise the seating capacity of the arena to over 15,000. In 2011, the Spokane Public Facilities District became concerned the NCAA may tighten its criteria and require a true minimum of 12,000, with no allowance for seats lost due to tournament infrastructure.[3] In early 2012, the Spokane Public Facilities District had "Measure 1" put on the April ballot, which was proposing to extend 1/10 of 1% sales tax and a 2% room tax to pay for a 91,000-square-foot addition to the Convention Center and other projects, including adding 750 seats to the Arena.[4]

Measure 1 was voted yes, and the 750 seats will eventually be added to the Arena.[5] However, the seats that are to be added may have sight obstruction to the video wall, as it would be on the same side facing away.[6] After this phase of new seating, full expansion of the arena including a center hung scoreboard and full seating expansion will cost roughly $3,547,000.[7]

It is unknown as to whether the PFD will max out the arena's capacity.[6]




Spokane Arena, in addition to its duties as being the host of Chiefs and Shock games, also serves as a secondary home for the men's basketball programs of Gonzaga University and Washington State University for at least one big matchup per year. Historically, the Bulldogs' annual game with local rival Eastern Washington University was played here, but the rivalry has gone dormant due to the rise of the Zags' program to major status in the early 2000s. Today, the visiting team at Spokane Arena is generally another national power, such as Memphis in 2007, 2009, and 2011.

It also hosted the Washington Class B state high school basketball tournament annually until 2006. The tournament came back to the arena in 2007, but as the Class 2B tournament. The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association had split the B classification into 1B and 2B. The Yakima SunDome in Yakima, Washington hosts the 1B tournament. The Class 1B tournament returned in 2011 when the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association changed the state tournament format.

Notably, this was the reason why the West Coast Conference Men's Basketball Tournament had never been in Spokane before 2006; the Class B and WCC tournaments clash every year, and Gonzaga's arena at that time, the Charlotte Y. Martin Centre, was too small to host the WCC tournament (it seated only 4,000 people). In 2004, Gonzaga opened a new basketball arena, the McCarthey Athletic Center, which enabled it to enter the WCC tournament rotation. The conference has since moved its tournament to Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

The arena has also hosted several NCAA Division I basketball tournament first- and second-round games for both men and women with Washington State University being the host school. In 2008 and 2011, it was a women's regional site. The 2011 regional was notable for the presence of Gonzaga, who became the lowest-seeded team ever to make a regional final in the women's tournament. It will be a regional site in 2015.[8]

Spokane landed another NCAA Men's basketball first and second round in 2010. It was the 3rd time in the same decade that the city has catered to this event (2003 and 2007 being the others). They will host again for the 2nd/3rd rounds in 2014.

Bull riding

In 1999, the PBR made a stop in Spokane Arena for a Bud Light Cup event; it was one of six wins for Cody Hart in 1999, the same year he became a PBR World Champion.

Figure skating

In January 2007, the Spokane Arena was put in the national spotlight once again. It was one of two facilities to host the 2007 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the other being the Group Health Exhibit Hall at the Spokane Center several blocks away. The arena, as well as the city received many rave reviews and also shattered the previous attendance record for the event, previously held by Los Angeles, California, by over 30,000 attendees.

On May 5, 2008, it was announced that Spokane would once again host the U.S. Figure Skating Championships leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympics. Spokane Arena was the sole venue for the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

The Spokane Arena successfully hosted the 2010 US Figure Skating Championships from January 15–24, 2010 and broke its own attendance record with 158,170 tickets sold during the 10-day event.



The Spokane Shock, of the Indoor Football League, play their home games at the arena.

Ice hockey

The Spokane Chiefs, of the WHL, also play their home games at the arena.

Concerts at Star Theatre

The Star Theatre is a 5,900-seat theater, within Spokane Arena, used for theater concerts, Broadway, family shows and other events.

Other events

Numerous other activities have taken place at the Spokane Arena including circuses, large conferences, monster truck shows, concerts and much more. And every year the arena is home to Spokane's band and strings spectacular featuring the areas band and strings groups grades 5-6 from all schools.

Notable events hosted


  1. ^ Krasnow, Bruce (September 11, 1995). "Arena Wins Applause".  
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ Kesnler, Tom (March 22, 2010). "Smaller Spokane Venue Has Sizable Advantage at NCAAs".  
  4. ^ Brunt, Jonathan (April 4, 2012). "Mailer for Measure 1 May Have Violated Law, PDC Says".  
  5. ^ Richards, Othello (April 18, 2012). "Convention Center Expansion Measure Passes, What's Next?".  
  6. ^ a b Walters, Daniel (April 21, 2010). "Chair Force". Inlander. Retrieved April 21, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena Seating Expansion Study" (PDF). Spokane Public Facilities District. August 17, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Spokane selected for regional host site for 2015 DI Women’s Basketball tourney". NCAA. Jul 30, 2014. Retrieved 1 Aug 2014. 

External links

  • Spokane Arena website
Events and tenants
Preceded by
Spokane Coliseum
Home of the
Spokane Chiefs

1995 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Home of the
Spokane Shock

2006 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
New Orleans Arena
Host of the

ArenaBowl XXIII
Succeeded by

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