The Toyota Center is an indoor arena in downtown Houston, Texas, and it is the home of the Houston Rockets of the NBA. The arena was constructed in July 2001, and it officially opened in October 2003. The Toyota Center costs about $235 million to build, and the City of Houston paid the majority while the Houston Rockets paid for the enhancements. In this article, we are going to know more about the history of the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
For over 25 years, the Houston Rockets played at the Compaq Center, located in Houston’s southwest part. During the 1990s, the Houston Rockets and other sports teams like the Houston Oilers and the Houston Astros all wanted new advanced facilities to be built. The Houston Astros managed to get the Minute Maid Park built in downtown Houston, while the Houston Oilers moved to Nashville after they failed to get a new football stadium built.
On the other hand, the Houston Rockets wanted a new stadium to replace the Compaq Center because it lacked modern amenities and luxury suites that other arenas in the NBA had. After long negotiations with the City of Houston, the Houston Rockets managed to get a new modern stadium built through the existing car rental, hotel taxes, and by paying $105 million.
The construction of the Toyota Center began in July 2001, and it was opened on October 30, 2003. The Houston Rockets played their first game at the arena during the opening day against the Denver Nuggets.
When you enter the Toyota Center through the main entrance on the northwest side, you will see a giant atrium inside where you can have a view of the Houston skyline. Unlike most NBA arenas, if you have a ticket to seats located on the lower level, you do not need to go up in order to get to your seat because the court is built 32 feet below the street level. This is why the Toyota Center is considered to be the biggest lower level arena in the NBA.
The Toyota Center has a seating capacity of over 18,000 people, and it includes the 103 luxury boxes and 2,900 club seats. In 2003, the arena was named the Toyota Center. The iconic Japanese automotive company logo was placed on the roof of the arena and in other prominent places inside the building. Aside from this, the company was also given a dominant presence in commercials shown during the broadcasts of the games played in the arena.
Aside from being the Houston Rockets’ homecourt, the Toyota Center also hosted several UFC events in 2007, 2011, 2013, and 2015. In 2008, the arena became the venue of the 9th Annual Latin Grammy Awards.
The Toyota Center is also used as a concert arena, the very first concert held in the Toyota Center was a Fleetwood Mac concert, and it happened on October 6, 2003. Since then, several well-known artists such as Duran Duran, Prince, Shakira, Gloria Estefan, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Cher, Guns ‘N Roses, Miley Cyrus, Alanis Morissette, Madonna, Depeche Mode, Coldplay, Aerosmith, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Jay-Z, Adele, and so much more have performed here.