Van Andel Arena
"The Freezer on Fulton"
Location 130 West Fulton Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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Broke ground February 8, 1995[1]
Opened October 8, 1996
Owner Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority
Operator SMG
Construction cost $77 million
($108 million in 2018 dollars[2])
Architect Rossetti Architects[3]
Structural engineer McClurg & Associates, Inc.[3]
Services engineer URS Greiner, Inc./Henderson[3]
General Contractor Hunt/Erhardt Joint Venture[3]
Tenants Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) (1996–present)
Grand Rapids Hoops (CBA) (1996–2001)
Grand Rapids Rampage (AFL) (1998–2008)
Capacity Ice Hockey: 11,000
Arena Football: 10,618
Basketball: 11,500
Concerts: 13,184

Van Andel Arena is a 11,005-seat multi-purpose arena, situated in the Heartside district of Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States. After a $75 million construction effort, the arena opened on October 8, 1996, and since has attracted over five million patrons. It is home to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, the top minor league affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. It was also the home court of the now defunct Grand Rapids Hoops of the Continental Basketball Association from 1996 to 2001 and the Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena Football League from 1998 to 2008.

As a concert venue, the Van Andel Arena seats 12,858 for end-stage shows, and 13,184 for center-stage shows. The arena floor measures Script error and features 9,886 permanent seats, of which 1,800 are club seats and 44 luxury suites, with the 16 luxury suites in the upper bowl seating 20 each, and the lower 24 bowls seating 15, and the others at 18. In addition, there are 1,300 retractable seats.


The original estimated cost to build the arena was at $75 million.

The 12,000-seat arena is managed by SMG Property Management. It was named in recognition of the largest benefactors, Jay and Betty Van Andel.

It has been hosts to acts such as Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Phish, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Eagles, Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Aerosmith, Ariana Grande, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, Roger Waters, The Who, Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Avenged Sevenfold, Rush, TLC, Marilyn Manson, Kenny Chesney, OneRepublic, Katy Perry, P!nk, The Harlem Globetrotters, World Wrestling Entertainment, Disney on Ice, NCAA Hockey Regional Championships, the AFL ArenaBowl XV game, and basketball exhibition games for the Detroit Pistons, Michigan State University Basketball & Grand Valley State University.

It is the sixth-largest arena in Michigan, as well as West Michigan's largest. Only The Palace of Auburn Hills, Joe Louis Arena, and Little Caesars Arena, all in Metro Detroit, the Jack Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing, and the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are larger.

Significant eventsEdit

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According to the Grand Rapids Press, Van Andel Arena hosted an estimated 12,000 people "in what may have been the biggest free-admission event ever held in the arena," when Barack Obama held a campaign event there on May 14, 2008.[1] At the rally, John Edwards publicly endorsed Obama's campaign for the first time.[2]

The first musical acts to perform in the arena was Neil Diamond on October 10, 1996, followed by Rush on October 23, 1996 during their Test for Echo tour.

Hair Metal band Mötley Crüe recorded a live DVD in the arena, during their Carnival of Sins tour. The band would return to Van Andel for their farewell tour in 2014.

System of a Down featured the arena in their music video for the song "Hypnotize", as the video was filmed during the concert.

R&B singing group Boyz II Men performed there in 1998.

The Professional Bull Riders hosted their premier bull riding tour, the Built Ford Tough Series (known as the Bud Light Cup until 2002), each year from 2000 until 2008; its inaugural event in 2000 was noteworthy for being the first ever BFTS tour event where all 15 bull riders were bucked off in the short-go round. The tour returned in 2013, where the event was won by J.B. Mauney, who scored an impressive 93.25 in the final round.

The arena was named #2 top grossing mid-sized venue for the decade in 2009 by Billboard Magazine. It ranked as a top venue in 2010 worldwide mid-year charts in popular industry publications Venues Today (#4 highest grossing mid-sized venue), Billboard (#9 highest grossing mid-sized venue) and Pollstar (#43 highest attendance for venues of all sizes). It was named Hall of Headliners Runner Up for Facility Concession Skills in 2009 by Venues Today. Voted Top Live Performance Venue in 2010 and Best Event Facility in 2009 and 2008 by The Grand Rapids Press and readers. It received On-the-Town magazine Silver Townie Award for Best Live Music Venue in 2008.

The arena hosted the Big Ten Conference Women's Basketball Tournament in 2001, the first time in the tournament's history it was played outside of Indianapolis.

The arena hosted the WCHA Final Five in 2014 and in 2016. In 2016, the arena hosted the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions.[3]

In addition to these events, Van Andel Arena also host the Grand Valley State University Commencement ceremonies each early December and late April. In December, it hosts one ceremony on Saturday morning while in April, there are three total ceremonies, one on Friday evening, one on Saturday morning, and one on Saturday afternoon.[4]

On June 27, 2015, Pepe Aguilar performed at the arena, becoming the first Spanish-language act to perform at a major venue in Michigan. On March 28, 2019 President Donald Trump held a 2020 campaign rally at the arena.


External linksEdit

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