Anaheim Convention Center

The Anaheim Convention Center is the largest exhibition facility on the West Coast of the United States and is located in Anaheim, California. Katella Avenue is just across from the Disneyland Resort. Adrian Wilson & Associates planned and built the original components, which included a basketball arena and a convention hall, which opened in July 1967. It hosts a variety of events, including Star Wars Celebration, VidCon, BlizzCon, Anime Expo, D23 Expo, WonderCon, NAMM Show, and more. The Anaheim Convention Center, in addition to holding numerous types of meetings, hosted wrestling at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Six major expansions have since occurred at the site (1974, 1982, 1990, 1993, 1999–2000, 2016–2017). It is the West Coast’s largest show venue.

During the first season of the American Basketball Association, 1967-68, the arena was home to the Anaheim Amigos. The franchise immediately transferred to the Los Angeles Sports Arena and became the Los Angeles Stars; the team later relocated to Salt Lake City and became the Utah Stars, winning the 1970-71 ABA Championship. The subsequent fan support for the Stars in Utah laid the groundwork for the NBA’s Utah Jazz. Between 1975 and 1977, the San Diego Friars of WTT played part of their home games in the arena. The Anaheim Oranges of WTT used the arena as their primary home venue in 1978. For one indoor season, the arena also hosted the NASL’s California Surf (1979–80).

According to media sources, the Winter NAMM Show has been the largest exposition hosted at the Convention Center in recent years. During the 2020 event, this music-equipment conference (trade only, not open to the general public) had almost 2,000 exhibitors and a record-breaking 115,888 participants. The NAMM Show has been held at the Anaheim Center since 1977, with the exception of a three-year hiatus from 1998 to 2000 when the Convention Center underwent extensive renovations, and in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to news reports in 2008, NAMM’s long-term lease with the Anaheim Convention Center authority was set to expire in 2010, and NAMM was putting pressure on the city of Anaheim to expand and modernize the convention center. The NAMM Show was eventually held in the convention center in 2011 and future years.

The Anaheim Convention Center hosted the Anime Expo in 1996 and again from 2003 to 2006, and it was one of the convention center’s largest public events.

At the venue, Blizzard Entertainment hosts BlizzCon. BlizzCon 2005 occupied the northern two conference halls (and the arena for a concert one evening). It used three convention halls in 2007 and 2008. It made use of four meeting halls in 2009. While tickets to the 2007 event sold out in 3 days, tickets to the October 2008 event sold out “within minutes,” and tickets to the August 2009 event sold out in “56 seconds”. Blizzcon tickets reportedly sold out in 30 seconds in 2010.

The Medical Design and Manufacturing Show, which takes place shortly after Winter NAMM, is another big convention held at the center.

Wrestling was held at the venue during the 1984 Summer Olympics.

From 2001 to 2010, the venue hosted the Big West Conference men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments, as well as the 76 Classic college basketball tournament from 2007 to 2012. Since 2021, the convention center has hosted the Wooden Legacy college basketball tournament (the 2020 edition of the tournament was scheduled to be hosted at the venue prior to being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

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