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Arena History

HP Pavilion at San Jose has been recognized as the biggest success story in the revitalization of downtown San Jose. For more than a decade, the facility with its distinctive 10-story glass pyramid entry and unique stainless steel façade has been the place-to-be-and-be-seen in the Bay Area.

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, HP Pavilion is an exemplification of the architectural excellence and technological innovation that defines the area.

That statement carries more weight today, especially after the completion of a $16.5 million renovation in the summer of 2007. The costs were shared by the City of San Jose and HP Pavilion.

Patrons entering HP Pavilion now enjoy the latest in audio and video technology to enhance their viewing experience. Most noticeable to the eyes is the high resolution LED center hung scoreboard — one of the largest in North America. The middle of the arena bowl features a full-color moving LED fascia display (also known as a ribbon board).

For the ears, there’s a new state-of-the-art digital sound system and acoustical improvements. Finally, there were some minor changes to allow for interfacing with high definition telecasts originating from HP Pavilion and an increased rigging capacity for concerts and shows.

Besides the San Jose Sharks, champion teams (such as the three-time Arena Bowl Champion San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League and the 1995 Roller Hockey International Champion San Jose Rhinos) and championship events (three NCAA Men’s Basketball Western Regional Finals, 2003-07 Pac-10 Women’s Basketball Tournament, 1999 NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four and the 2007 Visa Gymnastics Championships) have taken place at HP Pavilion.

In addition, headliners such as Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand, The Three Tenors and Paul McCartney have performed before capacity crowds.

HP Pavilion at San Jose continues to set the standard for sports and entertainment venues worldwide. Pollstar Magazine ranked HP Pavilion as the No. 3 venue in the United States and seventh in the world in terms of non-sports tickets sold during the 2005 calendar year.

“HP Pavilion is San Jose’s premiere sports and entertainment venue, drawing hundreds of first class events to San Jose every year,” San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said. “It’s an economic engine that brings hundreds of thousands of people to downtown San Jose every year. We want to ensure that it continues to thrive in that role for the foreseeable future.”


• the new high resolution display is 18-by-24 feet and provides a 16x9 video image ratio used in High Definition television displays. The old analog video display was 9-by-12 feet
• HP Pavilion at San Jose is now one of 22 National Hockey League playing venues that have HD LED scoreboards

• this full-color, moving LED display (also known as a ribbon board) provides a very dramatic visual experience for guests
• the display allows HP Pavilion to provide flexible programming for events such as the NCAA Championships that require specific guidelines

• the new sound system uses state-of-the-art digital equipment and incorporates outward facing speaker clusters as opposed to distributed speaker placement
• guests will notice a clearer, more audible sound quality as sound will be generated from the center of HP Pavilion, as opposed to all around the building

• the capacity was increased from 75,000 pounds to 150-200,000 pounds
• concerts and in-arena events now utilize standard loads of 60-80,000 pounds and larger shows run 125-150,000 pounds. When HP Pavilion opened in 1993, a standard show load was 40,000 pounds and large shows had an average load of 60-80,000 pounds

• more sporting events are now being televised in HD, as opposed to Analog
• the upgrade insures reliability and interfacing with the new center hung scoreboard, LED systems, TV trucks and the new HP HD televisions within HP Pavilion.

Site and Building Information
Site Location: Downtown San Jose, near West Santa Clara Street and Guadalupe Parkway (Highway 87)
Site Area: Approximately 17 acres
Building Dimensions: Length — 425 feet-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 — 18,543; Multi-purpose — 16-20,000; Hockey — 17,562
Parking: Approximately 1,800 spaces on site; up to 8,000 spaces within a 5-10 minute walk
Executive Suites: 65 (Concourse 21, Penthouse 44)
Penthouse Terrace Group Entertainment Areas: 3
Cost: $162.5 million ($132.5 million funded by City of San Jose; $30 million funded by San Jose Arena Management)

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
Original Name: San Jose Arena, re-named Compaq Center at San Jose, March 27, 2001
Re-named HP Pavilion at San Jose, Nov. 30, 2002
Primary Tenant: San Jose Sharks
Groundbreaking: June 26, 1990
First Event: Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Sept. 8, 1993
First Hockey Game: San Jose Sharks vs. New York Islanders preseason game, Sept. 30, 1993
Days To Build: 540 days