|Former names||Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena (2003–19)|
|Address||300 A Philip Randolph Blvd|
Jacksonville, FL 32202-2218
|Public transit|| Jacksonville Skyway|
at James Weldon Johnson Park
|Owner||City of Jacksonville|
Ice Hockey: 13,141
Arena Football: 13,011
|Broke ground||November 27, 2001|
|Opened||November 28, 2003|
|Construction cost||$130 million|
($190 million in 2020 dollars)
|Structural engineer||Bliss & Nyitray, Inc.|
|Jacksonville Dolphins (NCAA) (2003–15)|
Jacksonville Barracudas (WHA2/SPHL) (2003–07)
Jacksonville Giants (ABA) (2010-present)
Jacksonville Sharks (AFL/NAL) (2010-present)
Jacksonville Bullies (PLL) (2012)
Jacksonville Breeze (LFL) (2013-14)
Jacksonville Icemen (ECHL) (2017–present)
VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena (originally Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena) is a multi-purpose arena located in Jacksonville, Florida. It currently serves as the home arena of the Jacksonville Icemen of the ECHL, the Jacksonville Giants of the American Basketball Association, and the Jacksonville Sharks of the National Arena League.
The arena was built in 2003 as part of the Better Jacksonville Plan to replace the Jacksonville Coliseum.
On March 12, 2019, a 19–0 vote led to VyStar Credit Union becoming a sponsor for the arena. The 15-year agreement includes an annual contribution to the veterans trust fund along with upkeep of the arena. It is corporately sponsored despite a city ordinance that on its face prohibits the arena from having such a name. The ordinance does not cover any other venues, which allows for two other venues in Duval County to have corporate sponsors, most notably TIAA Bank Field.
The arena was designed, using state-of-the-art techniques, to have the acoustical characteristics necessary for concerts. The first artist to hold a concert in the Arena was Elton John in November 2003. Since that time, dozens of groups, including country, rap, rock, and others, have performed at the arena.
The arena was home to the Jacksonville Barracudas ice hockey team from 2003 to 2007 until they relocated to a smaller hockey arena in the area.
Sporting events hosted include the 2004 USA Men's Olympic basketball team in their only game played in the United States, as well as some early round games of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 2006, 2010, 2015, and 2019.
On October 17, 2006 an episode of ECW on Sci-Fi was held in the arena. In 2007, WWE held the Pay-Pay view event One Night Stand (2007) in the arena and as of 2017 it has been their first and only major event to be held in the arena. However, a WWE Raw episode was held on August 6, 2018. The Arena will also host an episode of WWE Smackdown on September 3, 2021.
The arena found huge success when the arena became the home of the Jacksonville Sharks in 2010 when they were introduced as an expansion team of the Arena Football League. The team was founded by former Orlando Predators executive Jeff Bouchy, who is also the brother of former Orlando Predators owner Brett Bouchy. The Sharks generally have maintained the highest attendance among the arena's regular tenants.
The arena hosted the 2011 ABA All-Star Game, which took place on February 26, 2011.
In 2012, the arena was home to the Jacksonville Bullies of the Professional Lacrosse League.
In 2013 and 2014, it was home to the Jacksonville Breeze of the Legends Football League.
The arena was the host for the Davis Cup first round tie between the US and Brazil on the weekend of February 1–3, 2013. It has hosted PBR Built Ford Tough Series events in the past.
In 2016, Rihanna opened her Anti World Tour at the arena, which attracted an audience of 11,000 people.
On December 1, 2019 Ariana Grande held a concert at the arena, which was part of her Sweetener World Tour.
The arena held UFC 249, UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Teixeira, and UFC on ESPN: Overeem vs. Harris, three consecutive Ultimate Fighting Championship events in May 2020, the first major sporting events to be held in the country after restrictions to slow the COVID-19 pandemic had begun in March. It hosted UFC 261 in April 2021 in front of a full crowd after Florida lifted their restrictions. It was the largest crowd for an indoor sport in more than a year.
The arena was scheduled to host days 2-4 of the 2020 Republican National Convention from August 25 to August 27, originally to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina. However, these plans were ultimately cancelled to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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