Richmond Coliseum is an arena in Richmond, Virginia, where the SPHL Richmond Renegades played until the 2008-2009 season and the AIFA Richmond Raiders will play starting with the 2010 season. It is also the venue for various large concerts. The arena opened in 1971 and holds 13,500 people. A small fire occurred there in 1997, shutting it down for repairs. It is managed by SMG.
The Richmond Coliseum is also the former part-time home of the American Basketball Association (1967-1976) Virginia Squires. The Squires, based in Norfolk, VA, played there (in addition to the Roanoke Civic Center, Norfolk Scope and Hampton Coliseum; all within the state of Virginia) from 1971 to 1976. It also hosted the Southern Conference men’s basketball tournaments in 1973 and 1974.
The Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball tournament was held there in 1988. The Colonial Athletic Association men’s (NCAA) collegiate basketball tournament has been contested at the Richmond Coliseum since 1990. On March 1, 2006, a deal was signed to keep the tournament in Richmond until 2012. The Coliseum served as the primary home for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference post-season basketball tournaments through the 2005-06 season, with some games played at the Arthur Ashe Athletic Center. VCU defeated George Mason 71-50 in the CAA Championship game on March 9, 2009.
Until John Paul Jones Arena opened in 2006, the Richmond Coliseum was the largest sports arena in Virginia. The Virginia Commonwealth University Rams men’s basketball team played there until the 7,500-seat Alltel Pavilion on the VCU campus, opened in 1999.
In 1994, the Coliseum hosted the Women’s NCAA Division I Basketball Championship. Charlotte Smith of the University of North Carolina sank a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to defeat Louisiana Tech, 60-59, in the final.
It has been a regular stop for professional wrestling promotions through the years, including the old NWA Mid-Atlantic territory, and more recently, World Wrestling Entertainment. In recent years, it hosted the fifteenth WWF In Your House pay-per-view in 1997 and hosted WWE Armageddon on December 17, 2006.
On October 22, 2008, it hosted a rally for Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, drawing over 13,000 people. A similar crowd was drawn for the 2009 RPV convention.
The Richmond Coliseum is laid out on 6 levels. In order from lowest to highest they are the event level, the mezzanine, the lower concourse, the upper concourse, the 300 level and the ring. The event level is where the event floor (and ice rink) is located, as well as all the support rooms for events and the building. Team locker rooms, star dressing rooms, Exhibition halls, the Coliseum Club and the kitchens are located on the event level. The Clay St tunnel, one of the innovative features of the coliseum, is on the event level and allows vehicles, including tractor trailers and monster trucks, to pull into the coliseum. It is accessed at the intersection of Clay St and Eighth St. The tunnel provides storage for shows, and parking for coliseum personnel. The mezzanine is where the administrative offices for the coliseum are located. The Leigh St. entrance is on this level. The lower concourse is the access for all lower level seating and suites. The Fifth St and Sixth St entrances are located on this level, as well as exits to the areas above Clay St and Leigh St. The upper concourse is the access for all upper level seating and the 300 level is access to the highest seats on either radius of the coliseum. The ring is where the spotlights are operated and is the access to the catwalk.