Colonial Life CenterSouth Carolina Gamecocks
The Colonial Life Arena is a multi-purpose arena in Columbia, South Carolina, primarily home to the University of South Carolina men's and women's basketball teams. Opened as a replacement for the Carolina Coliseum with the name Carolina Center in 2002, the 18,000 seat arena is also host to various events like conferences, concerts, and graduation ceremonies throughout the year. It is the largest arena in the state of South Carolina and the tenth largest college arena. The naming rights were acquired in 2003 by Unum, a Portland, Maine-based insurance company, and it was renamed to the Colonial Center after the Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, a Unum subsidiary headquartered in Columbia. On July 22, 2008, the USC board approved renaming the building to the Colonial Life Arena as part of Unum (which by then had moved to Chattanooga)'s rebranding of Colonial Life & Accident as Colonial Life.
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The arena first opened on November 22, 2002 with the season opener of the South Carolina women's basketball team. A sell-out crowd of 17,712 fans saw the 72–58 Gamecocks victory over in-state rival Clemson, with a one-dollar admission charge, commonly used by the women's basketball team to promote major games. The official grand opening took place December 2, 2002. The men's basketball team defeated Temple 66–47. On January 26, 2010 South Carolina defeated #1 ranked and undefeated Kentucky 68-62 in the arena, one of the biggest wins in South Carolina history. Aside from Gamecock basketball, the Colonial Life Arena also hosts the South Carolina High School Basketball Championships each year. The facility is built to also host ice hockey games, and was intended to be the new home of the ECHL's Columbia Inferno. However, due to legal issues with the funding for the facility, it has yet to host a game. The Inferno have sat out the last four seasons pending the construction of a new arena in neighboring Lexington County. The Colonial Life Arena was ranked 22nd in the world in ticket sales in 2003. It was also ranked the #1 arena in the Carolinas and was the #2 rated university arena in the world in 2005, based on ticket sales for touring shows. It is managed by Comcast's Global Spectrum, whose Philadelphia 76ers played an exhibition game in the venue in October 2005. Ticketing is provided by New Era Tickets, and tickets can be purchased through the Arena's web site.
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