gila river arena

You’ll find here all the Desert Diamond Arena information that you need to get the best from this venue.

About Desert Diamond Arena

The Desert Diamond Arena was previously called the Gila River Arena, and many people still call it that. 2014 was the first time a federally recognized Native American tribe had achieved a naming rights deal involving a major professional sports league venue. It forms a key part of the Westgate Entertainment District, a 223-acre complex built in the city of Glendale, Arizona at a cost of $1 billion. Of this, the original Glendale Arena required a construction investment of $220 million.

As well as hosting the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, the arena also served as a base for the NLL’s Arizona Sting. The NCAA’s Arizona State Sun Devils also play an occasional ice hockey game here, and the Arizona Rattlers football team was hosted here for a while.

In 2022 the Arizona Coyotes moved to a new venue and the Arena was renamed. Under its new sponsorship, Desert Diamond Arena now hosts concerts and other types of music and entertainment events throughout the year, including boxing, world extreme cage-fighting, mixed martial arts and other live shows.

Desert Diamond Arena History

The original Glendale Arena was planned as a new ice hockey stadium for the Phoenix Coyotes. They were playing in a Phoenix-based stadium that was far too small, and when the team changed ownership, it committed to a new arena to be built in Glendale. Land was leased from the City of Glendale in 2001, and construction started the following year. The arena has undergone several name changes, as different sponsors negotiated naming deals with the team and the City. After Glendale Arena, it became the Arena from 2006 to 2014, and the Gila River Arena between 2014 and 2022.

The arena officially opened during the 2003–04 NHL season, with the Arizona Sting NLL team playing in the first sporting event. The (now) Arizona Coyotes played here for almost 20 years, together with other sports teams. Concerts and other shows took place around the Coyotes’ schedule. However, in 2021, the City of Glendale decided not to renew their lease, and turned the arena over to a more profitable sphere of operations. The Desert Diamond agreement opened up the venue to a wider range of events all year round, not just concerts but other public shows.

Past performers at Desert Diamond Arena include Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and Lenny Kravitz, as well as Paul McCartney, U2, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Usher and Rage Against The Machine.

What makes Desert Diamond Arena Special?

Desert Diamond Arena is part of an integrated entertainment complex, where you can eat, drink, shop, gamble or go to the movies. It’s only 20 years old, and designed with all modern facilities incorporated. It’s fully accessible to disabled guests, with facilities including parking/drop-off, accessible seating, wheelchair escorts and storage, restrooms, sensory assistance and universal changing tables.

Desert Diamond Arena is also notable for the variety of its productions. It’s become a very popular venue for competition fighting events. You might have been here to see Nitro Circus Live, Street League Skateboarding, WWE Smackdown, The Harlem Globetrotters, Stars on Ice or the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Since 2005, there’s been an annual event staged at Desert Diamond Arena called “February Frenzy”. This is when people gather to see high-school students compete in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s (AIA) tournaments.

Who owns Desert Diamond Arena?

Desert Diamond Arena is owned by the City of Glendale, and managed by corporate sports promoters, ASM Global. Originally titled simply the Glendale Arena, the latest naming deal brings the venue into the purview of the Tohono Oʼodham Nation.