By Cheryl Cohen
On January 17, 1973, 50 years ago, the Providence Civic Center officially opened its doors to what would become known as New England’s premier arena and Rhode Island’s new home for all major sports and entertainment. The overall project took nearly thirteen years (1960-1973) from its first appearance on a State referendum, through the design process, construction, to an official opening. On November 3, 1972, simple ceremonies during the Rhode Island Reds hockey game unofficially opened the Providence Civic Center. On January 17, 1973, events all day and into the evening officially kicked off the opening of the Civic Center. Fifty years later, the arena remains a vital contributor to the State’s economy and an iconic New England destination for sports and entertainment.
The Amica Mutual Pavilion (AMP) will take part in celebrating its long history through a variety of acknowledgements throughout the coming months. The kickoff to the celebration was the “AMP Gives 50” campaign which launched in January and will be a weekly initiative of acts of kindness to support the community.
We have unveiled our commemorative anniversary logo, which pays homage to the original Civic Center logo, as well as incorporating our new naming rights partner, Amica Mutual Insurance. See the “then” and “now” photo with this article.
In our 50-year history, we have hosted over 7,000 EVENTS and welcomed over 38 MILLION GUESTS through our doors. Generations of families have created fond memories at the Arena, and we look forward to continuing to be a part of those stories for decades to come. As the newly named Amica Mutual Pavilion enters the next decade under the leadership of the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority and ASM Global, the world’s leader in venue management, we will celebrate the remarkable events the Arena has hosted over the years, and the profound impact it has had on the community in the last 50 years.
Fifty Years of Fun Facts!
• Over 7,000 EVENTS have taken place in the Arena and over 38 MILLION GUESTS have passed through our doors.
• On January 25, 1971, Mayor Joseph A. Doorley breaks ground for the Providence Civic Center.
• The first artist to ever perform on stage in the arena was JOHNNY CASH (performing for our soft opening in November 1972).
• In 1992, the Providence Bruins call the arena home and in 1999 they win the Calder Cup Championship.
• Providence College Men’s Basketball launched their 1972-1973 Season at the Providence Civic Center, and 50 years later they still call the arena their home court.
• In 2008, a multi-year renovation project was completed.
• In 2002, the Providence Civic Center became known as the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
• In 2022, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center became known as the Amica Mutual Pavilion.
• The LONGEST running family shows include:
• Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus, which first performed in May of 1973. They returned annually until the Circus went off the road and held their very last performance in Providence in May of 2017.
• On November 17, 1973, the World Wide Wrestling Federation, known today as WWE, first appeared at the Providence Civic Center and continues 50 years later to entertain fans multiple times each year.
• Since 1975 the Arena has been the site for 23 NCAA Tournaments:
8 NCAA Division I 1st & 2nd Round Men’s Basketball
3 NCAA Division I East Regional Men’s Basketball
5 NCAA Division I Regional Men’s Hockey
6 NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Frozen Four
1 NCAA Women’s Hockey Frozen Four
• TOP ARTISTS who have played the Arena:
Boston Pops (27) ♪ Aerosmith (19) ♪ Grateful Dead (19) ♪ Trans-Siberian Orchestra (19)
Jethro Tull (12) ♪ Neil Diamond (12) ♪ KISS (11) ♪ Barry Manilow (11) ♪ Frank Sinatra (11)
Cheryl Cohen is Senior Director of Sales, Booking & Marketing, and ASM Global Regional Director of Marketing.