The 40-year history of Richmond Coliseum

Richmond Coliseum outdoors

Before the future of the Richmond Coliseum is decided, RICtoday is looking into the arena’s 4-decade history, from the multiple city sports teams who have called it home to the most notable performers it has hosted since its opening in 1971

Inside of Richmond Coliseum, 2010
The Coliseum played host to many CAA championship games. | Photo via Wikimedia Commons, 2010

🏀 Basketball

  • Site of VCU men’s basketball games until the Siegel Center was built in 1999
  • Part-time home of the Virginia Squires until the NBA was created in 1976
  • Decades of MEAC + CAA Championships 
  • Hosted the Women’s Basketball NCAA Division I Championship in 1994

💪 Professional Wrestling

  • Hosted National Wrestling Association events
  • WWF In Your House 15 in 1997
  • WWE Friday Night Smackdown, WWE Raw with Steve Austin + John Cena 

🏒 Hockey

  • SPHL Richmond Riverdogs/Renegades played here until 2009
  • Indoor Football Association Richmond Raiders used the same field space for 5 years

🤠 Bull Riding

  • The Professional Bull Riders hosted its Bud Light Cup Series 1997-1999
  • Returned for minor events in 2007

🎶 Concerts

  • The Jackson 5 was the first band to play the Coliseum on Dec. 31, 1971 ― the brothers’ first tour. The band’s chart topper “ABC” was released a year prior.
  • Elvis Presley performed on June 29, 1976, just over a year before his passing. He closed the concert with “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.”
  • Snoop Dogg played the last official concert at the Coliseum on Dec. 6, 2018, 47 years after the Jackson 5 show. He closed with “Young, Wild & Free.” 

The last event was the Harlem Globetrotters on Dec. 28, 2018, ahead of its official closure in Feb. 2019. Now, the sights + sounds of a packed Coliseum have become a thing of the past.  

The future of the Coliseum

According to Richmond City Planning and Development records from June 2021, the Coliseum is due to be demolished in Phase 3 of the City Center Small Area Plan. 

Renderings of the Richmond 300 plan
The area surrounding the Coliseum could look a lot different by 2037. | Renderings via Richmond City Planning & Development

 

These renderings show that developers are looking for more greenery in and around the Coliseum’s acreage and more interactivity with private + public spaces.

Renderings for Richmond 300
An in-depth look at the reason behind the City Center redevelopment. | Renderings via Richmond Planning & Development

 

This is all a part of the multi-part Richmond 300 Master Plan, which includes construction + development across Shockoe Slip, Jackson Ward + throughout downtown. You can still send feedback to the city through email here before these plans are approved and set into motion.