| This content originally appeared in Gwinnett Magazine.
The Arena at Gwinnett Center Celebrates Five Years!
General Manager of The Gwinnett Center
It seems hard to believe that The Arena at Gwinnett Center will be celebrating its fifth anniversary in February. Construction began on the new 13,000 seat Arena on June 26, 2001 and was completed in February 2003. The Georgia Force Arena Football game was the very first event at The Arena on February 16, 2003. That inaugural week kept everyone busy and fans from all over Georgia excited, because George Strait honored the facility as the first artist live in concert on The Arena stage. He would be followed a couple of nights later by the legendary Bruce Springsteen.
Throughout the rest of the year, The Arena stayed busy and as the fall drew near, The Gwinnett Gladiators prepared to take the ice for the first time and won their inaugural game vs. The Augusta Lynx. Since that night, The Gladiators have played over 150 home games and even made it to The Kelly Cup finals during the 2005-2006 season. Gladiators Head Coach Jeff Pyle has been named on three separate occasions an ECHL All-Star coach and Brad Schell was named the 2007 League MVP.
The Georgia Force Arena Football Team played for one season at The Arena and has just entered into agreements that will bring them back to The Arena at Gwinnett Center for the next ten years! We are all very excited that The Force will be returning, and we know that they have a loyal fan base in Gwinnett County who will also be anxious to see them return. Their season opener will be held on March 1. Season and single game tickets are available now.
The Gladiators and The Force are not the only sports that have called The Arena home at one time or another.
The SEC Women's Gymnastics Championships were held at The Arena in 2004 and 2005 and will once again be hosted here this coming March. The SEC Women's Basketball Championships were also held at The Arena in 2007, and we look forward to hosting this event again in the coming years. The first two rounds of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament will take place right here in Gwinnett in 2009. We look forward to bringing in teams from all over the country for this prestigious tournament. The Arena has also hosted tennis events, ice skating, bull riding, wrestling and even the occasional indoor soccer match. With all of these sporting events, there truly is something for everyone.
In our first five years, we have not only had sporting events, of course, but over 157 concerts. Sixty-six of those shows played to a sold-out crowd! We have been honored to have names like: Elton John, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Christina Aguilera, Nickelback, American Idol, Mana, Third Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eagles and so many more. These tremendous concerts are coupled with a great deal of unique events, including The Wiggles, Blue Man Group, Disney Playhouse Live and even two nights of Cirque du Soleil.
All of these events combined for us to be honored with a 2005 Pollstar nomination for The Arena of the Year Award. Each year, we receive numerous awards and accolades for the events brought to Gwinnett County and our always - courteous staff - willing to go above and beyond for our clients and patrons. We would like to thank everyone for the past five years and we look forward to an even brighter future.