SMOOTHIE KING CENTER

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Smoothie King Center, which opened in 1999 as the New Orleans Arena. In 2014, a 10-year naming rights deal was struck with Smoothie King, changing the arena’s moniker to Smoothie King Center.

The $114 million arena in the shadow of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was approved by the Louisiana Legislature in 1993. The 18,500-seat facility, which originally featured a mint green exterior, was designed by noted architect Arthur Q. Davis.

It hosted its first event on Oct. 29, 1999: a minor-league hockey game between the New Orleans Brass and the Baton Rouge Kingfish, and a few days later it held its first concert featuring ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The arena was critical in landing the city’s NBA franchise, originally called the New Orleans Hornets and renamed the Pelicans in 2013. The team debuted at the arena in 2002. Since then the arena has hosted three NBA All-Star Games, NCAA and SEC men’s basketball tournaments and two NCAA Women’s Final Fours. In the 20 years since it opened, arena officials say the facility has hosted more than 500 entertainment events which have sold more than 13.6 million tickets. That includes boxing, wrestling, bull riding and Arena Football League games from the now-defunct New Orleans VooDoo. The arena has hosted concerts by Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and many others.