Van Andel Arena

Van Andel Arena is an 11,005-seat multi-purpose arena, situated in the Heartside district of Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States. Since its opening in 1996, the arena 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, with fans giving it the nickname "The Freezer on Fulton".[4] Van Andel Arena is the fourth-largest arena in Michigan, as well as West Michigan's largest; only Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, the Jack Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing, and the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are larger.

Van Andel Arena
"The Freezer on Fulton"
Van Andel Arena.jpg
Van Andel Arena is located in Grand Rapids
Van Andel Arena
Van Andel Arena
Location within Grand Rapids
Location130 West Fulton Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Coordinates42°57′44″N 85°40′19″W / 42.96222°N 85.67194°W / 42.96222; -85.67194Coordinates: 42°57′44″N 85°40′19″W / 42.96222°N 85.67194°W / 42.96222; -85.67194
OwnerGrand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority
CapacityIce Hockey: 11,000
Arena Football: 10,618
Basketball: 11,500
Concerts: 13,184
Broke groundFebruary 8, 1995[1]
OpenedOctober 8, 1996
Construction cost$77 million
($126 million in 2019 dollars[2])
ArchitectRossetti Architects[3]
Structural engineerMcClurg & Associates, Inc.[3]
Services engineerURS Greiner, Inc./Henderson[3]
General contractorHunt/Erhardt Joint Venture[3]
Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) (1996–present)
Grand Rapids Hoops (CBA) (1996–2001)
Grand Rapids Rampage (AFL) (1998–2008)


After a $75 million construction effort, the arena opened on October 8, 1996, and since has attracted over five million patrons. 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.

The arena was 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.

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, Disney on Ice, WWE on Ice, NCAA Hockey Regional Championships, the AFL ArenaBowl XV game, professional boxing and basketball exhibition games for the Detroit Pistons, Michigan State University Basketball & Grand Valley State University.


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 85 by 220 feet (26 m × 67 m) 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.

Significant eventsEdit

Arena during the 2017 Calder Cup finals

Performance eventsEdit

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

In 1998, R&B singing group Boyz II Men performed there. Vermont jam band Phish performed at the arena on November 11, 1998, and the recording of the concert was released by the band in 2019.[5]

Each year from 2000 until 2008, the Professional Bull Riders hosted their premier bull riding tour, the Built Ford Tough Series (known as the Bud Light Cup until 2002); 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.

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

On January 28, 2005, System of a Down featured the arena in their music video for the song "Hypnotize", as the video was filmed during the concert.

During their 2005-2006 "Carnival of Sins" tour, hair metal band Mötley Crüe recorded a live DVD in the arena. The band would return to Van Andel for their farewell tour in 2014.

In 2014 and in 2016, the arena hosted the WCHA Final Five. In 2016, the arena hosted the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions.[6]

On June 27, 2015, Pepe Aguilar performed at the arena, becoming the first Spanish-language act to perform at a major venue in Michigan.

Political eventsEdit

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.[7] At the rally, John Edwards publicly endorsed Obama's campaign for the first time.[8]

Local eventsEdit

On January 29, 1997, the Calvin University Knights vs. Hope College Flying Dutchmen basketball game was played at the arena, with a 70-56 Hope triumph over Calvin, establishing an NCAA Division III single-game attendance record with a capacity crowd of 11,442. Van Andel Arena also hosts 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.[9]


In 2009, the arena was named #2 top-grossing mid-sized venue for the decade 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.


  1. ^ "About Us". Grand Action. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "1997 AIA Michigan Design Honor Award". American Institute of Architects in Michigan. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  4. ^ "Disney on Ice comes to Van Andel Arena". WZZM. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  5. ^ "Phish Announces Grand Rapids 1998 Live Archival Release". JamBase. 22 April 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  6. ^ "2016 Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions takes center stage beginning Sept. 15". Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  7. ^ "Seen and Heard: Obama Visits Grand Rapids". The Grand Rapids Press. May 14, 2008. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  8. ^ Shellenbarger, Pat (May 14, 2008). "Obama Gets Edwards Endorsement". The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  9. ^ "Upcoming Ceremonies - Commencement - Grand Valley State University". Retrieved 2017-04-23.

External linksEdit