Before you head out to enjoy an event at this new venue, here are tips and insights into what your fan experience will be like.
The main entrance on the east side of the building will focus on creating an indoor-outdoor feel featuring an outdoor food court.
Since construction began in June 2021, you’ve likely driven by Acrisure Arena perched on the north side of Interstate 10 just off the Cook Street exit and viewed the immense structure rising from ground level, or you’ve seen the renderings that depict people milling in and out of the multi-purpose venue.
Fans will gain their first real look inside Acrisure Arena when comics Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock entertain in the round on Dec. 14 followed by The Doobie Brothers (Dec. 15), Grupo Firme (Dec. 16), and then the Coachella Valley Firebirds’ first hockey game on Dec. 18.
There are 2,950 parking spaces including 400 plus for VIP.
John Bolton, senior vice president of entertainment and general manager of the arena has decades of experience around venues like Acrisure Arena. In fact, he’s helping the parent company, Oak View Group, develop grand opening and entertainment plans for eight new arena projects. He’s seen Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert go from an architect’s concept to reality, and he likes what he sees.
“I think to me some of the interior spaces are even better than I thought,” Bolton says. “I think being in the bowl (the main seating area) you really understand how wonderful this is going to be from an artist’s perspective and a fan perspective. Just knowing that you’re going to be so close to the action, so close to the artist when they’re playing based on that basically one lower bowl design, I think is really, really incredible.
“I’m really impressed with all of the work on the exterior of the building and how it fits in with the landscape around the facility as well as the beautiful mountains that are there. I think it fits well from that perspective and also from a color perspective, and I think our friends at the Berger Foundation have done a really, really amazing job in all the parking lots and the landscaping that’s coming on board as it relates to that part of the facility as well.”
Hockey drove this arena to Greater Palm Springs where the Coachella Valley Firebirds will play home games through mid-April.
There will be 500 VIP parking spots on the west end of the arena and 2,500 spaces around the south and east ends. If needed, there are 1,000 additional spaces available at Xavier Prep High School with a shuttle service to the arena. Kiosks at the arena will allow you to pay after you park rather be held up by an attendant asking for payment.
Using Patriot One’s SmartGateway, fans will walk through screening areas that detect concealed guns, knives, and other related threat objects, and gives customers a green arrow to proceed through or a red warning to staff that shows where the detected threat object is located on the customer. “We think this frictionless, smart walkthrough system makes it really, really easy for people to enter,” Bolton says.
All tickets are digital and sent to your cell phone, so don’t bring a printout, a screenshot, or another method and expect to get in. The barcode is scanned on your ticket to gain access to the event.
JUST FOR THE HOLIDAYS
You’ll likely see the 54-foot Christmas tree from the freeway that sits by the main entrance.
Before you even step into the arena, there will be a food court area by the main entrance that will include five restaurants. The specific restaurants will be named this week, Bolton says. “Obviously we’re taking advantage of the weather and extending our indoor-outdoor,” he adds.
Acrisure Arena’s capacity is 11,000 with roughly 10,000 seats for hockey. There are 20 VIP suites that surround the lower bowl seating area. “It’s pretty clear to me that there’s not a bad seat in the house,” Bolton says. “You’re entering a ground level and then going down to your seat.”
One seating area to consider. The very back row of seats is separated by a counter where the customer can plant a drink. The seating is similar to a bar seat, but it gives you some space between you and the person next to you compared to regular arena seating.
The Doobie Brothers will be the first band to play in the arena on Dec. 15 followed by Grupo Firme on Dec. 16 and Maroon 5 on Dec. 31. The technology in this area has changed dramatically over the years, but workers have installed 10,000 square feet of acoustic lapidary panels, Bolton says.
“The fact that we don’t have a very high elevated upper bowl where sound bounces off and then comes back down will create a much better sound overall for our events. The goal is to make sure the sound system is really, really awesome. That plays a part in people’s enjoyment.”
The Chairman’s Club
At the west end of the arena, there will be a giant screen broadcasting the action for hockey and also be part of the musical acts that appear. In addition, there will be a wraparound ribbon screen surrounding the bowl seating. Many of the concession areas have TVs to keep track of the action.
CHAIRMAN’S CLUB 29
There is a special room located in the arena’s lower level where Chairman’s Club members can hang out complete with comfy lounge furniture, bar and food offerings, and plenty of TVs to view the event.
ARENA WITH A VIEW
Check out the north and south bar areas. They are open space areas where you can wander away from the bar and look down at the hockey arena. It’s by far the most dramatic viewing area. Might not be as good for concerted since the bars are parallel to the stage, but
COMMUNITY SKATING RINK
Slated to open in late December, the same rink the Coachella Valley Firebirds use to practice on will be open for the community to use every day. The range of skating opportunities ranges from open pubic sating to adult/junior hockey leagues and theme nights.
“I think people really haven’t totally grasped that 360-day operation that’s under the same roof,” Bolton says. “And I think that will be as we grow and we all go through that first six months, I think that’ll be one of the most pleasant, interesting things that people probably haven’t quite realized yet.”