Pepsi Center is an arena located in Denver, Colorado, USA. The building is home to the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Mammoth and Colorado Crush. When not in use by one of Denver’s sports teams, the building frequently serves as a concert venue.
Ground was broken for the arena on November 20, 1997 on the 4.6 acre site. Its completion in October of 1999 was marked by a concert by Celine Dion. At the time, some commented on the irony of naming the home of the former Québec Nordiques after Pepsi, which is a common derogatory term for French-Canadians. Capacity for the building is listed at 19,099 for basketball games and 18,007 for hockey, arena football and lacrosse games. It hosted the 2001 NHL All-Star Game and the 2005 NBA All-Star Game.
Pepsi Center was constructed as part of a 6-year sporting venue upgrade in Denver along with Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, and Invesco Field, home of the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rapids.
Also included in the complex is a basketball practice facility used by the Nuggets and the Blue Sky Grill, a restaurant with access from the outside and from those within Pepsi Center as well. The atrium of the building houses a suspended sculpture depicting various hockey and basketball athletes in action poses.
In 2003, Pepsi Center hosted WWE Vengeance and Kurt Angle defeated Brock Lesnar and Big Show in a Triple Threat Match to win the WWE Championship.
The complex was constructed in order to be readily accessible. The arena sits on Speer Boulevard, a main throughfare in downtown Denver, and is served by a nearby exit off of Interstate 25.
The venue has hosted the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals, the Mountain West Conference men’s basketball tournament since 2004, and the annual Denver Grand Prix, held in part parking Lot. Future events at the building will include the NCAA Men’s ice hockey West Regional on March 24 and March 25, 2007, as well as the Men’s Frozen Four tournament on April 10 and April 12, 2008. The Pepsi Center will also host the 2008 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as a first and second round site. It hosted the tournament in the same fashion in 2004.
In 2004, Denver, Colorado was selected as one of 5 cities in the U.S. to host the Dew Action Sports Tour, a new extreme sports franchise to start in 2005. Titled the Right Guard Open, the event was held at the Pepsi Center from July 6-10. The Dew Action Sports will return to Denver for it’s second year in 2006.
Before the construction of Pepsi Center, the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche played in McNichols Sports Arena, a building that has since been torn down.