The Neal S. Blaisdell Center in downtown Honolulu near Waikīkī is the premier community center for the City & County of Honolulu. Constructed in 1964 on the historic Ward Estate and originally called the Hawaiʻi International Center, the center was renamed after the late Mayor of Honolulu Neal S. Blaisdell. The multi-purpose complex is composed of an internationally renowned arena, concert hall, conference rooms, galleria and exhibition hall. It was remodeled and expanded in 1994. It is also the home of the Hawaii Basketball League Honolulu Bandits.

Arena

The Neal S. Blaisdell Arena is a circular performance facility used for concerts and major sporting events. The arena can accommodate 7,700 seats for sports events, and up to 8,800 seats for stage events with seats set up on the arena floor.

Elvis Presley sold out concerts at the arena in the 1960s and 1970s. Recent concerts featured Elton John, Céline Dion, Ricky Martin, *NSYNC, LeAnn Rimes and Jimmy Buffett. Other events at the arena include the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Disney on Ice, Sesame Street, college basketball and volleyball, and international gymnastics.

It served as the home court for University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa basketball until UH built the Stan Sheriff Center on campus in 1994. Many graduation and commencement ceremonies are held by schools in the arena in late May and June.

Concert Hall

With a capacity of 2,158 seats, the Neil S. Blaisdell Concert Hall is the home of the Honolulu Symphony and the Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre. Broadway productions such as The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Rent, Miss Saigon, Chicago, Cats and other national touring shows have performed at the concert hall.

Exhibition Hall

Located between the Concert Hall and the Arena, the Exhibition Hall provides 65,000 square feet of exhibition space on the main floor that is expandable to 85,000 square feet when combined with adjoining spaces. Five meeting rooms are also available in the hall. The Exhibition Hall accommodates numerous local trade and consumer shows and fundraising events throughout the year, and is one of the main exhibition venues in Honolulu in addition to the Hawaii Convention Center.

Miscellaneous

Many religious ceremonies have been performed in the Neil S. Blaisdell Center. The largest of which were the enthronement of Joseph Anthony Ferrario as the third Bishop of Honolulu and the ordination and installation of Clarence Richard Silva as the fifth Bishop of Honolulu, overseeing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu.

Kamehameha Schools has held their annual Song Contest at the Blaisdell since 1964.

On December 23rd, 1982, what is considered by many as the greatest upset in sports history happened at the Blaisdell Arena as the then number one ranked University of Virginia Cavaliers, led by Ralph Sampson was beaten 77-72 by Chaminade University, a small NAIA school with a student body of 800.

Edited by fcuking on 2 Apr 2007, 07:45

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