Great show last night in Miami! Tomorrow night, Halloween night in Greenville! Who is dressing up? Will Axl be dressed up for Halloween? We shall see!
The BI-LO Center was built in 1998 at a cost of US$63 million to replace Greenville’s outdated and under-repaired Greenville Memorial Auditorium, which was imploded on a site located across the street from the new arena on September 29, 1997. The arena naming rights were purchased by Dutch grocer Ahold, which at the time had a regional office in Mauldin. When it was built, the BI-LO Center was the largest arena in the state of South Carolina, a distinction it held until 2002, when the Colonial Center was built in Columbia, South Carolina.
As a concert venue, the BI-LO Center can seat between 11,000 and 15,951 spectators, depending on the positioning of the stage. The arena features 30 luxury suites and 840 club seats.
The arena floor measures 113 feet (34 m) wide by 229 feet (70 m) long. There are 7,472 seats in the upper bowl and 4,809 permanent seats and 1,290 retractable seats in the lower bowl.
The BI-LO Center hosted the Southern Conference men’s basketball tournaments in 2000 and 2001 as well first and second round games during the 2002 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. However, the NCAA has since implemented a policy to not hold tournament games in either South Carolina or Mississippi, following a recommendation from the NAACP that was intended to call attention to the Confederate flag on display next to a monument on the grounds of the South Carolina State House. As a result, the BI-LO Center has not hosted an NCAA Tournament game since 2002. College basketball made its return to Greenville in 2005, when the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament was played at the BI-LO Center, in an emergency situation which turned futile. The Philips Arena in Atlanta was the scheduled site for the tournament, but backed out in the summer of 2004 because of logistics following plans for the 54th NHL All-Star Game which was to be held just six weeks before the 2005 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament. Once the plans were announced, the SEC had moved that tournament to Greenville, with considerable protest from the NAACP. Even with the 2004–05 NHL lockout, the SEC kept the tournament in Greenville, which is 140 miles (230 km) east of Atlanta.
The arena has also served as the home for the Greenville Groove (2001–2003), one of the original members of the NBA Development League, as well as the Carolina Rhinos football team (2000–2002), one of the inaugural members of AF2, the Arena Football League‘s minor league, as well as both versions of Greenville’s team in the ECHL, the first, the Grrrowl (1998–2006), hosting the 2002 Kelly Cup Finals, and the second, the Greenville Road Warriors, that starts in 2010. Starting in 2009, the BI-LO Center has a regular tenant again with the Greenville Force of the Southern Indoor Football League.
Currently, the BI-LO Center also regularly hosts a wide variety of events such as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, professional wrestling, monster truck rallies, motocross racing, professional ice skating, such as the Champions on Ice, andice dancing shows and competitions, dog shows and concerts spanning many different musical genres.
Normally, the South Carolina High School League Upper State basketball finals would be held in the arena, but it was moved to Littlejohn Coliseum because of the 2008 Bassmaster Classic weigh-in ceremonies, and therefore was held at the Bi-Lo Center.
On February 14, 2010, Johnstown Chiefs, of the ECHL, announced that the team would be moving to Greenville, SC, from Johnstown, PA, for the 2010-2011 season and had signed a 5 year deal with the BI-LO Center to play there. This ends a 5 year hockey drought in Greenville, after the Grrowl of the ECHL folded. Greenville has a rich minor league hockey history, with the Grrowl winning the Kelley Cup in 2002. http://www.johnstownchiefs.com/news/index.html?article_id=628
Greenville is the seat of Greenville County, in upstate South Carolina, United States. Greenville is the second largest city (by urban population) in the state of South Carolina. One of the principal cities of the Greenville-Mauldin–EasleyMetropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), it had a municipal population of 58,409 and an urban population of 302,194 as of the 2010 census. The metropolitan area had an population of 636,986 in 2010 census.
Greenville is the largest city of the Greenville-Spartanburg–Anderson Combined Statistical Area (CSA) which in 2006 had an estimated population of 1,203,795, making it the largest MSA in the state of South Carolina. The CSA, an 8-county region of northwestern South Carolina, is known as “The Upstate“. Greenville is located approximately halfway between Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina along Interstate 85, and its metropolitan area also includes Interstates 185and 385.