San Jose Sharks fans love their team and their arena, which sold to a 96.5 percent capacity in the team's first season, even with high ticket and parking prices.
Entering the arena means walking through a 60-foot glass-enclosed terrazzo-tiled cathedral lobby. Inside, there are cushioned seats with cup holders and good sightlines from everywhere. The sound system uses 32 speaker clusters for its 70,000-watt system.
The Sharks also have one of the more exciting game openings in the league. Players skate from the mouth of a giant 17-foot shark's head, with glowing red eyes and lots of fog.
From the north, take 101 south to the Guadalupe Parkway (Route 87) and exit right onto Park Avenue about three blocks to Autumn Street. Go right on Autumn for two blocks, and the Arena is on the left. From the south: Take Route 87 north to San Jose and exit at Santa Clara Street.
SAP Center at San Jose history
* First regular-season game: Oct. 14, 1993, 2-1 loss to the Flames
* First goal: Kip Miller, Sharks
* March 20, 1994: Wayne Gretzky ties Gordie Howe's mark of 801 goals.
Site and Building Information
Site Location: Downtown San Jose, at West Santa Clara Street and the Guadalupe Parkway
Site Area: Approximately 17 acres
Building Dimensions: Length -- 425 by 425 feet; Height -- 117 feet; Internal Space -- 450,000 square feet
Exterior: Concrete; space frame steel truss; ribbed stainless steel siding; 10-story glass pyramid entry
Seating Capacity: 20,000 maximum; Basketball -- 18,500; Multi-purpose -- 16,000-20,000; Hockey -- 17,483
Parking: Approximately 1,800 spaces on site; up to 8,000 spaces within a 5-10 minute walk
Executive Suites: 64
Cost: $162.5 million ($132.5 million funded by City of San Jose; $30 million funded by San Jose Arena Management Corp.)
Project Developer: Redevelopment Agency of San Jose
Owner: City of San Jose
Builder: Perini Building Company, Western Division
Construction Manager: HuntCor Inc.
Architect: Sink Combs Dethlefs
Arena Operator: San Jose Arena Management L.P.
As the cornerstone of a revitalized downtown area, the Arena is continually building excitement and civic pride for the City of San Jose and quickly establishing itself as the place to be in the Bay Area.
SAP Center at San Jose (formerly called the San Jose Arena, Compaq Center, hp Pavilion) has been called "the biggest success in the city's rebuilt downtown." Not only is the Arena the permanent home to four professional sports teams, but also a main reason that San Jose is quickly becoming a mecca for amatuer sporting events as varied as fencing, volleyball and Sumo wrestling.
The National Hockey League's San Jose Sharks headline the Arena's entertaining major-
league sports lineup. The Arena also houses the Rhinos of Roller Hockey International and the Arena's newest tenant -- the Arena Football League's SaberCats, who entered their inaugural season in 1995.
Other major events that have come to San Jose include the 1996 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the 1997 NCAA Men's Basketball West Regional Finals and the 1997 NHL All-Star Game. In July, San Jose Arena was chosen as the site of the 1999 NCAA women's basketball Final Four championships. In addition, the Arena plays regular host to the Cable Car Classic (college basketball), Sybase Open (the first stop on the Association of Tennis Professionals Tour) and other major sporting events.
Managed by San Jose Arena Management since opening in September 1993, spectacular SAP Center at San Jose has hosted more than 275 events with nearly 3-million people passing through its doors.
In 1990, the City Council established the San Jose Arena Authority to oversee the operation of the Arena facility and to act as the Arena's liaison to the San Jose community. The Arena Authority reports to a 12-member board of directors, comprised of many of the same dedicated people who contributed to the Arena's development -- including representatives from the City Council, City Administration, the Redevelopment Agency (the developers of the Arena), the neighborhoods, the downtown merchants and members of the community at large.
As capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose is synonomous with high technology and San Jose
Arena fits right in as a perfect showcase for architectural excellence and technological innovation. Outside, a shining stainless-steel facade supports a magnificent glass pyramid entry soaring 10 stories above the ground. Inside, state-of-the-art acoustics and leading-edge seismic engineering contribute to the Arena's reputation as one of the finest single-concourse facilities in the United States.
In 1988, San Jose voters laid the foundation for the new Arena, electing to build a downtown multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility that would create jobs, attract the regional community to a revitalized city center and provide a venue for major league sports, family attractions and various community events.
From the beginning, the City of San Jose has involved neighborhood groups, downtown
merchants, and civic and business leaders in the study of parking, traffic, and a host of other vital issues. Everybody had a say in their Arena project.
The completion and success of the San Jose Arena is an important milestone in San Jose's
emergence as a destination city, and its convenient downtown location allows guests to take full advantage of an urban setting -- complete with fine dining, bustling cafes and clubs, and a host of transportation alternatives.
The world's greatest names in sports and entertainment have already found the way to San Jose with many more on the horizon. Performers and entertainers as varied as Placido Domingo, Andre Agassi, James Taylor, Van Halen, Kenny G, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti, Big Bird, Elton John and Jimmy Connors have thrilled Arena audiences of all ages.
Welcome to the exciting, new world created by spectacular SAP Center at San Jose.
THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
December 8, 2000 & February 5, 2004 - The hp Pavilion at San Jose opened in 1993, and is the home to the San Jose Sharks, the San Jose Sabre Cats of the Arena Football League and the San Jose Stealth of the National Lacrosse League. Located on the fringes of downtown San Jose, this sparkling facility has also been the home to an NCAA mens basketball regionals, NCAA womens basketball final 4 in 1999, 1996 US Figure Skating Championships, the NBA's Golden State Warriors for a season, and the NHL All Star Game in 1997.
|hp Pavilion Ranking by USRT|
|Fan Support|| 5.5|
|Concourses/Fan Comfort|| 9|
|Bonus: Neon Sculptures|| 1|
|Bonus: USRT Assist|| 2|
|Total Score|| 58|
Getting to the Venue
Finding the arena is easy... by car all signs off of I-280 or I-680 point to the arena with easy directional signage. Public transportation also serves the building, with Caltrain rail lines and the VTA light rail system providing access to the venue. Parking lots immediately adjacent to the arena are reserved for season ticket and pass holders, and the closest surface lots start at $15. By the time you get three blocks away $5 lots are a plenty. Be forewarned that some of the parking meters prohibit parking during arena events, so watch carefully if you are trying to snare a free spot on the street.
Outside the Venue
The building itself is a perfect showcase as a symbol of this area's vibrant high technology industry. The outside of the arena has a shiny stainless steel silver facade, and each of the entrances is a magnificent glass pyramid which soars above the top of the building itself. Approaching the building at night the glow of lights from inside the arena serves as a beacon for visitors and fans arriving.
The downtown area of San Jose is clean and bustling... an entertainment area near downtown called SoFa boasts a variety of clubs, shops and restaurants. Closerby is San Pedro Square, a three block area with plenty of eateries and nightclubs. Easy to find just walk down Santa Clara Blvd. But little of this is right next to the venue - while the adjoining buildings and parkland are clean and spotless, the neighborhood immediately abutting the arena lacks any soul or character. A few restaurants, souvenir shops, or even street vendors selling hot dogs or souvenirs would have added to the ambience, but none were to be found.
Once you set foot in the building, you are instantly overwhelmed by the sweeping high cathedral type entry pavilion. A grand staircase leads you to the single concourse, and above hangs a huge emblem of the city's seal and colorful banners of the Sharks. As we walked the concourse, we kind of got the feeling that we had been here before, and eventually came to the realization that Cleveland's Gund Arena looked strikingly similar to this venue, from the sparkling clean terrazzo tile floors to the multiclored neon sculptures, and the concession facades with soft backlit lighting. Later we learned that the Gund family owns the Sharks and the Cavaliers, and no doubt when Cleveland's Gateway Project went up they culled ideas for their venue from this Arena.
This is probably the best single concourse facility that we have visited. The reason we say this is that the building itself is square, and the rink and arena bowl are laid out diagonally. This configuration allows for a great deal of public space, and navigating around the facility is simple. Besides being spacious and wide, the concourses are clean and colorful, and in several locations there are mezzanine style seating areas where fans can sit and have a bite or a drink and people watch on the concourse below.
There is a Tied House Brew Pub and a Round Table pizza stand, two eateries with local connections. California turkey wraps, sushi, mexican food and a host of desserts including Krispy Kreme's add to the diverse and delicious fare here. The team store is on the ground floor directly on your left when walking in the main entrance pavilion.
The lower 100 level seats on the sidelines are designated as premium seats, and seatholders have exclusive access to a ground level concourse which wraps around 3/4 of the arena bowl. In this concourse are several bar areas, a carvery and a pasta bar, regular concessions stands, a full service restaurant called George's Arena Grill serving a pregame buffet, and plenty of seating areas. The club concourse is beautifully carpeted and the walls showcase every player who has ever worn a Sharks uniform, as well as photos of headliners and entertainers who have appeared at the arena. Again, the design of the club concourse is similar to the club level at Cleveland's Gund Arena.
The arena bowl itself is very pleasing to the eye - all seats are cushioned and are colored light and dark grey. There are suites ringing the building above the 100 level and another ring above the upper level. At the top of the upper level there is an area called the "penthouse" which can be rented out for groups of 50-200 people. The scoreboard is your typical 8 sided jumbotron with one color dot matrix information boards. There are ad panels above the scoreboard as well as ringing the balcony, but they are fixed and not changeable. Obviously technologies have gone way forward since this building was opened.
Banners/Retired Numbers - These guys get it!!!!! Nobody has retired yet, and they have three division titles, which hang up in the rafters and that is it.
Hat Tricks, Assists, Penalties...
Hat Trick - The San Jose Sharks go a long way to making the hockey experience a great one, and the fans here eat it up. A few minutes before the game, the team mascot, "S.J. Sharkie", comes out on the ice and jumps up on the glass to get the crowd fired up. While they show previous highlights on the jumbotron and a light show on the ice, the PA plays some great music while the mascot gets everybody clapping. To top it all off, the home team skates out on the ice through a giant sharks mouth, complete with glowing eyes and lots of fog. What a great intro!
Extra Point - when the Sharks score a goal, the PA system plays the renowned arena anthem "Rock and Roll Part II (the "hey" song)" and here the fans get into it with more enthusiasm than in most places.
Hat Trick - to Sharks goaltender Steve Shields. On our first visit goalie Yevgeni Nabokov was ineffective, so beginning in the second period Shields took over in net. Steve has had a rough go of it this season and this game was no different - he let four in and the Sharks went down to defeat, 6-1, sending the fans home disappointed. We are BIG Steve Shields fans - we still remember him hoisting the Calder Cup over his head for the Rochester Amerks in '96, and the job he did stonewalling the Ottawa Sens in the '97 playoffs when all seemed lost. Steve, you will always have a warm place in our hearts!
Extra Point - while the Sharks were hammered by the Canucks in our first visit, the outcome was just the opposite for our return as Nabokov was a wall in net leading to a 5-0 Sharks victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.
Penalty - They played "Oh Canada" and the accompanying video on the scoreboard was 30 seconds worth of shots of Niagara Falls - the AMERICAN falls. View from above, view from below, Goat Island, full view. It was hilarious. Hey guys, if you want to show off Niagara Falls with the anthem, at least show something from the Canadian side - maybe the Casino, a wax museum or a chinese restaurant! Seriously though, they should be able to come up with a video which showcases some of Canada's treasures - the CN Tower, Parliament Hill, the charm of Old Montreal, the wharf in Vancouver.
Assist - The San Jose Sports Hall of Fame is a series of bronze plaques and busts which ring the main concourse. All very nicely presented!
This is a clean, sleek and modern arena in a sparkling and dynamic city. San Jose fans have embraced their Sharks, and the team enjoys broad support from the entire San Francisco bay area, giving them regional appeal. While the venue itself has been eclipsed by many of the newer NHL arenas that have since opened, here in San Jose they have a venue that is very fan friendly, comfortable and functional. It is high time that they consider a major technological upgrade of their scoreboard and perhaps installation of surround ribbon boards. Being the tech capital of the world, the wizards here should be able to come up with something cutting edge and state of the art. All in all, a pleasant hockey experience and city experience and a place where we'd be glad to come back.
SAN JOSE RENEWS PUSH FOR NBA TEAM
October 15, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
San Jose, Calif. - The owners of the NHL San Jose Sharks are ramping up their efforts to find
an NBA team to join them in HP Pavilion. The city is already working to lure the Oakland Athletics
to the area and the San Francisco 49ers are looking at building a new stadium in nearby Santa
Greg Jamison, chief executive of Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, which manages the
Pavilion and owns the Sharks, said his company has talked to "a number of teams" over the last
year about relocating to San Jose. Reports say Jamison in recent months has met with the owners
of the Sacramento Kings, who are looking for an alternative to aging Arco Arena.
The reports also say the San Jose City Council as early as month's end will vote on a
"memorandum of understanding" that would guide negotiations with any National Basketball
And while he wouldn't confirm details, Jamison did allow that "this time, we are truly talking
about what we can do to step up and be ready in the event a team would want to come here."
HP Pavilion was designed to accommodate an NBA franchise. In fact, the arena hosted the
Golden State Warriors for their 1996-97 season while their home facility in Oakland was being
If an NBA team were to land in San Jose, modifications to the pavilion would be required,
officials said. Among other things, a new locker room and possibly offices would have to be built.
And there are territorial rights to consider. Any talk of an NBA franchise for San Jose is
tempered by the fact that the Warriors play only 36 miles from HP Pavilion. A majority of the
league's 30 owners would have to approve a move by the Kings to the South Bay, and strong
opposition from the Warriors is a given. Warriors officials did not comment.
October 21, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
San Jose's City Council approved a 3 year sponsorship deal that will allow a Florida-based Citrix Systems to brand all 64 luxury suites at HP Pavilion with the company's name and logo, KLIV reported. Citrix which sells products directly to other businesses has an office in Santa Clara. The deal will cost the company $150,000 a year.