|Former names||Manchester Civic Arena (planning/construction)|
Verizon Wireless Arena (2001–16)
|Location||555 Elm Street|
Manchester, New Hampshire 03101
|Owner||City of Manchester|
10,050 (end stage)
11,770 (centerstage concerts)
|Broke ground||April 13, 2000|
|Opened||November 15, 2001|
|Construction cost||$68 million|
($98.9 million in 2018 dollars)
Lavallee Brensinger Architects
|Project manager||ScheerGame Sports Development, LLC.|
|Structural engineer||LeMessurier Consultants|
|Manchester Monarchs (AHL) (2001–2015)|
Manchester Wolves (af2) (2004–2009)
Manchester Monarchs (ECHL) (2015–2019)
New England Liberty (LFL) (2016)
The facility was originally known during construction as Manchester Civic Arena, and this name still appears on most of the directional signs around town. Its naming rights were sold prior to opening in 2001 and was called Verizon Wireless Arena.
On February 2, 2016, Southern New Hampshire University announced that it had purchased the naming rights from SMG. The specific amount of money involved was never revealed, but it is known that the deal provides for student internships at the arena, and that the school will be able to use the arena for its own sporting and other events. The partnership between SMG and the university will run for a period of at least ten years after the arena officially changed its name on September 1, 2016.
The arena contains 542 club seats, 34 luxury suites, and five party suites.
The SNHU Arena is located in downtown Manchester on Elm Street (U.S. Route 3) at the corner of Lake Avenue. The arena was built on the site of a former Zayre's department store and is located on an irregular block, surrounded by Elm Street (west), Lake Avenue (north), Chestnut Street (east) and Auburn Street (south), with Cedar (north) and Willow (east) streets taking a corner off the southwestern corner of the block.
The arena's exterior includes its notable curved blue roof, which helps heavy New Hampshire snowfall to slide off. The top half of the arena's facade is a steel oval, the western side of which is lit during events and is visible from the west side of the city and from Interstate 293. The lower half of the building is red brick (similar to that found on Manchester's iconic mills). The main entrance on the western side of the arena is entirely glass.
The floor of the arena is at ground level in the west side of the building. The Manchester Monarchs Pro Shop was formerly located at the entrance. The main concourse is on the second floor, and wraps around the entire arena: the concessions are all on that concourse aside from a bar on the third floor. There are two levels of seating: loge seats around three sides of the area and a balcony around all four sides. The arena has several luxury boxes, with a second level of boxes on the east and west sides of the interior. The arena has a standard four-sided scoreboard along with several video ribbons, located along the facades of the end zone upper decks. The arena floor level is expandable for larger events by movable seats, and events using an end zone staging area typically use the eastern end zone for the stage.
There are only a handful of onsite parking spaces, all of which are reserved for the handicapped: most patrons park on the street or in one of several large parking lots in downtown Manchester.
Minor league ice hockeyEdit
The arena was home to two iterations of the Manchester Monarchs, one from 2001 to 2015 in the American Hockey League and another from 2015 to 2019 in the ECHL. Both the AHL and ECHL Monarchs franchises were Los Angeles Kings farm teams. After the 2014-2015 season, Manchester and Ontario, California were two of several markets affected by a "franchise swap" between the ECHL and AHL. The AHL Monarchs franchise moved to Southern California, and the ECHL's Ontario Reign moved to Manchester. The AHL Monarchs and ECHL Reign were both owned by the same company who owned the Kings. A year later, after the 2015-2016 season, the Kings sold the newly relocated ECHL Monarchs to an entity known as PPI Sports LLC. PPI was unable to make the team profitable at the ECHL level, and abruptly closed down the team at the end of the 2019 season after failing to find another buyer. The arena is actively seeking a new tenant.
In 2016, a women's team, the New England Liberty of the Legends Football League, played their home games at the arena. Or, to be more accurate the Liberty played their home game (singular) at the Arena. The Liberty's LFL schedule was only 4 games long. After losing their first two games on the road, the Liberty lost their first home game 77-7 to the Chicago Bliss, and subsequently opted to forfeit their second and final regular season home game.
The University of New Hampshire men's hockey team occasionally plays some home games at the arena, annually for several years against Dartmouth College in the Battle for the Riverstone Cup, and against the University of Maine Black Bears in the Border War. UNH has not scheduled any games at the arena since the 2015-2016 season, when UNH beat Maine 7-0 on December 30, 2015.
Since 2004, Manchester has been a regular site in the rotation for the Regional tournaments, hosting almost every two years. UNH has been the host institution for the Northeast Regional in 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019. UNH played regional tournament games in Manchester every one of those years except 2017 and 2019, when the Wildcats failed to qualify for the national championship. UNH is slated to be a Regional host again in 2021.
Even though the institution's name is on the facility, none of SNHU's athletic programs play any home games at the arena.
The World Wrestling Entertainment has held events at the arena almost every year since 2002, including a pay per view WWE Backlash show in 2005. The most recent WWE event at the arena was on July 9, 2019, when Manchester hosted the weekly WWE Smackdown and WWE 205 series.
State high school basketball and hockey championships have been held in the arena.
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The arena has hosted dozens of concerts by major performers, many of whom have visited the Manchester venue on multiple occasions.
In December 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and TV icon Oprah Winfrey appeared at a campaign rally at the arena, drawing over 8,000 people. Obama also appeared at the arena in May 2007 to speak at the Southern New Hampshire University commencement.
Adam Sandler, a Manchester native, has given three graduation speeches at the arena: in both 2003 and 2010 he addressed the graduates of his alma mater Manchester Central High School, and he also spoke at the 2008 Manchester Memorial High School graduation.
2012 Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney delivered his final speech before election day at the arena on November 5, 2012. The event drew nearly 18,000 people and was the largest political event in New Hampshire's history. Overflow supporters were forced to watch the speech on large outdoor televisions because the arena ran out of space. The event included a concert performed by Kid Rock in support of Gov. Romney.
The night before the 2016 New Hampshire Presidential Primary, on February 8, 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump closed out his New Hampshire campaign with an evening rally at the Verizon Wireless Arena. The night before the general election, on November 7, 2016, Republican presidential nominee Trump returned to the newly renamed SNHU Arena to address a raucous overflow crowd, beginning his speech by saying "there are thousands of people outside trying to get in." A Trump rally for the 2020 election was held at the arena on August 15, 2019, and also drew a large crowd.
The New Hampshire Democratic Party held its annual convention at the arena in the 2015 and plans to do so again in September 2019.
A stitched panoramic image of the inside of the arena before a Manchester Monarchs AHL game versus the Providence Bruins
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- "SNHU Partners with SMG to Provide Opportunities for Students and Connect with the Community". Lauren Keane. Southern New Hampshire University. 2 February 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
- "Monarchs pull the plug on professional hockey in Manchester". New Hampshire Union Leader. May 15, 2019.
- John Fritze, Joey Garrison and David Jackson (August 15, 2019). "Donald Trump touts economy, Lewandowski during New Hampshire rally". MSN. Retrieved August 16, 2019.