Acrisure Arena to take desert by storm


Acrisure arena opens Image: Oak View Group

The burgeoning desert metropolis which now spans from Palm Desert to Coachella in California, US, continues to offer new options for residents and visitors to spend their time and money. What was once a vast expanse of sand is now a magnet for those seeking warm weather, great dining and shopping options, golf, hiking, polo, and an expanding array of live entertainment options.

‘Forbes’ stated that on December 14th, 2022 the sports company Oak View Group (OVG) opened the Acrisure Arena in California with much aplomb. This project puts a low rise arena filled with VIP options into play. They opened strong, starting with American stand-up comedians Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock inaugurating the building.

The Acrisure Arena is a multipurpose 10,000-seat indoor arena in the unincorporated community of Thousand Palms in Riverside County, California’s Coachella Valley (US). The arena broke ground on June 2nd, 2021, on 43.35 acres of land near the City of Palm Desert, between Interstate 10 and the Classic Club Golf Course, and got off the ground on December 14th, 2022.

The Coachella Valley Firebirds are a professional ice hockey expansion team based in Palm Desert, California (US), which began play in the 2022-2023 American Hockey League season. The team is an owned-and-operated affiliate of the Seattle Kraken, which began play during the 2021-2022 National Hockey League (NHL) season. The Acrisure Arena serves as the Firebirds home arena.

The OVG Oak View Group, LLC is an American Global Advisory, Development and Investment Company for Sports and Live Entertainment industries. Based in Los Angeles (US), it was formed on November 16th, 2015 by Tim Leiweke and his business partner, Irving Azoff. Leiweke is the company’s head honcho.

‘Forbes’ further stated that Acrisure is an interesting project because this region has been typically known for being slow during the Summer when temperatures are routinely above 100 degrees and can reach as high as 120. That, combined with the historical pattern of this desert being a weekend destination other than during the Winter season, gives the impression there might only be arena level demand during half the year.

Leiweke has impeccable live entertainment credentials having been the head of one of the world’s largest global players in live entertainment, Anshutz Entertainment Group (AEG), from 1996 until 2013. Those were the years as AEG built up the Coachella festival in this region. He then headed Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, a company which owned sports teams and commercial real estate including entertainment venues. In late 2015, Leiweke partnered with Irving Azoff to create Oak View Group (OVG) which is becoming a significant owner and developer of entertainment venues.

The Oak View Group has been creative in the ways it builds out their portfolio. Leiweke has the depth of industry knowledge and the real estate background to understand how to tailor a project which others may see as too risky. The Acrisure Arena was built on a model of leaving off the traditional second level of the building.

The theory is there are two benefits: First the construction costs are less when the building doesn’t have to be built so as to support a second level. Second, this arena focuses on creating an intimate connection between the audience and the performers. The scale of the building keeps the seats close and the theory of the project was to deliver a high touch environment conducive to attracting a free spending crowd. That very much aligns with the spending patterns of the crowds who come to this region over weekends for shopping trips, music festivals and deluxe hotel stays.

Leiweke has partnered with Stand Together and its CEO Brian Hooks as Acrisure Arena’s exclusive social impact partner to ensure there is a community benefit associated with the arena.

Observed Brian Hooks, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Stand Together, “Music unites people like few things can. And the arena that the Oak View Group has built in Palm Springs draws on the power of music to unite fans, artistes and athletes with some of the most effective groups in the United States to make a difference on the issues that matter most to them. As the exclusive Social Impact Partner, Stand Together is committed to coming alongside musicians, the Firebirds, and members of the community with solutions that can transform how our country tackles problems holding people back. From improving our criminal justice system, to helping those struggling with addiction, making sure kids get the education that’s right for them, or helping ensure everyone has a shot at a good job – the Acrisure Arena is the place where people will come together to solve big problems. We’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

Stand Together is a philanthropic community tackling the root causes of America’s biggest problems. It was founded in 2003.

Leiweke is a big personality. He understands his market and he knows just what to say to build excitement about the projects Oak View has under development. He’s the kind of man who will spend an afternoon describing a project in minute detail, but it will feel like you’ve been brought inside behind the ropes and were privileged to learn about all the minutiae. That’s great leaders lead, by inspiration rather than fear-mongering.

Acrisure is Oak View’s third wholly-owned and operated arena. It’s the model for what’s coming next: Innovation, quality and finding an underserved need to satisfy. The new arena which opened on December 14th is going to be operating for decades.

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