$250 million Coachella Valley sports arena complete by 2022


Photo courtesy of Getty Images. The site of the new $250 million Coachella Valley sports arena and soon to be home to minor league affiliate of the new Seattle Kraken NHL expansion franchise.

A new state-of-the-art desert-themed Coachella Valley sports and entertainment arena is scheduled to break ground by May of this year. 

Oak View Group’s CEO and co-founder Tim Leiweke, who will be heading this massive project, and his first-rate team of architects and designers, consisting of principal populous architect Robert Norvell and architectural designer Scott McCracken, look after this 10,000 capacity sports and entertainment arena to be completed by fall of 2022.

The arena will be constructed in Riverside County on approximately 43-acres between Interstate 10 and the Classic Club located in Palm Desert. Projections from the company also suggest that the arena could bring nearly $30 million in annual revenue to the valley.

The company states, “the mission of the construction of this project would be to serve fans, the community and business partners through outstanding sports and entertainment while striving to honor the culture and diversity of the cities that make up the Coachella Valley.”

The arena was originally to be located on 16 acres of tribal land in Palm Springs in 2019 when Oak View Group had partnered up with Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, but negotiations had come to a standstill.

“We were unable to finalize an agreement with the Agua Caliente tribal leaders for OVG to lease, develop and operate the privately funded arena,” said Leiweke.

The company has since teamed up with H.N. & Frances C. Berger Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Palm Desert, which leased the land to Oak View Group to continue constructing the arena.

“There has been a lot of positive progress since we first announced the location of the arena with the Berger Foundation in September, and we thought a webinar series would be an informative and engaging way to share the latest updates with everyone,” said Leiweke to the Desert Sun.

Leiweke continues saying, “Through this ongoing series, attendees will be among the first to see never before released designs, hear new ideas, and what the economic benefit will be for the surrounding community.”

The arena, which is privately financed, will also proudly serve as a home for the Seattle Kraken American Hockey League (AHL), a professional hockey expansion team based in Seattle. The team is said to begin playing following the construction of the arena in 2022. 

“We’re excited the deal is done, and Palm Springs will be our home for the AHL franchise,” said Seattle general manager Ron Francis to KESQ. “We will be doing everything we need to do on the development front, from top to bottom, for the good of the organization. We will be engaged and in communication with every player in our organization.”

The arena will be more than 300,000 square feet. It will feature private hospitality suits that will hold up to 145 people, bars that will sit at the sides of the stage during performances and events, an adjacent training facility for athletes, and 3,000 parking spaces.

Plans are for the facility to house residency inside the arena for entertainers who plan on making multiple appearances at the arena.

The arena will also hold specific conventions, large meetings, international events, and award shows.

Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created from the construction of this arena, which is great news for the community and residents struggling with the pandemic’s impacts and has yet to find employment.

The exterior of the arena headed by Scott McCracken, architectural designer of the arena, will be surrounded by palm trees and a natural desert landscape inspired by the valley’s rich history.

Despite the already booming music festival scene within the valley, which hosts Coachella and Stagecoach, as well as popular sporting events like the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament and the American Express golf tournament, the arena becoming a multi-purpose venue might make it not only a local but international hot spot for entertainment. 

“There’s a huge opportunity there,” Leiweke said to the Desert Sun, “and I think we have probably the smartest and most influential person in the music business with Irving Azoff, my partner. All of us are thinking through how we ultimately put the Coachella Valley further on the map as to artists wanting to come down there to create music.”

Residents such as Mia Fogle and Amanita Ndiour, who have both attended various seasonal events within the Coachella Valley, believe that though the project is ambitious, it could bring a new perspective to the valley with the arena being multi-purpose.

“I think it will be a great job opportunity for a lot of people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic,” said Fogle.”Whether Coachella returns this year or in 2022, the arena will definitely be another step towards the valley getting back lost revenue from the pandemic if it is a hit.”