|Address||199 Kellogg Boulevard West|
|Location||Saint Paul, Minnesota|
|Owner||City of St. Paul|
|Operator||Minnesota Sports & Entertainment|
|Field size||650,000 square feet (60,000 m2)|
|Broke ground||June 23, 1998|
|Opened||September 29, 2000|
|Construction cost||US$170 million|
|Architect||HOK Sport (now Populous)|
|Project manager||Project Management Consultants, LLC.|
|Structural engineer||Geiger Engineers PC|
|Services engineer||M-E Engineers. Inc.|
|Minnesota Wild (NHL) (2000-present)
Minnesota Swarm (NLL) (2005-2015)
Minnesota Lynx (WNBA) (2016-2017)
The Xcel Energy Center (also known as "The X") is a multi-purpose arena, located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is named for its locally based corporate sponsor Xcel Energy. With an official capacity of 17,954, the arena has four spectator levels: one suite level and three general seating levels.
The arena is owned by the city of Saint Paul and operated by Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. The building is home to the NHL's Minnesota Wild and is the former home of the NLL's Minnesota Swarm. It is on the same block as the RiverCentre convention facility, Roy Wilkins Auditorium and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, in downtown St. Paul. It also served as official home to the 2008 Republican National Convention.
The arena opened on September 29, 2000. It was built on the site of the demolished St. Paul Civic Center. The push for a new arena in Saint Paul grew after the National Hockey League's Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas. Saint Paul unsuccessfully courted the NHL's Hartford Whalers and Winnipeg Jets under Mayor Norm Coleman, but the Civic Center was an obstacle to both deals.
In order to get an NHL expansion team, Saint Paul needed to build a new arena. After several failed attempts to get funding, the project was funded by the state in April 1998. The state gave Saint Paul a no interest loan for $65 million of the $130 million project, though the state forgave $17 million of that loan in exchange for high school sports championships played at the arena.
In 2004, it was named by ESPN as the best overall sports venue in the U.S. The 10 millionth person passed through the gates on July 3, 2007.
The Twin Cities were selected as the hosting metropolis for the 2008 Republican National Convention on September 27, 2006 and the arena was chosen as the main venue. The Republican National Convention was held here on September 1-4.
In 2010, a Minnesota Wild game at the 'X' was listed as the third best stadium experience in North America, according to the ESPN Magazine. First on the list went to the Minnesota Twins and Target Field.
The arena played host to the politically motivated Vote for Change Tour on October 5, 2004, featuring performances by Bright Eyes, R.E.M. and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (with special guest John Fogerty and unannounced guest Neil Young).
The Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA used the Xcel Energy Center during the 2016 WNBA Playoffs and will remain on the arena in 2017, as their home arena, Minneapolis' Target Center, will be going through renovations.
The concourse areas contain a hockey jersey from every high school in Minnesota hanging on the wall, reflecting the "State of Hockey." Surrounding the arena at all four corners are "crows nests." One features an organ built into the shell of a Zamboni and is played during Wild games. The second nest features a lighthouse which houses a foghorn that is blasted when the team takes the ice before games, for all Wild goals, and after a victory. The third is often used for the "Let's play hockey!" announcement before puck drop each game, along with game ops interviews, announcements, and fan contests. The fourth provides an additional stage for various uses.
Prior to its opening, the arena installed an integrated scoring, video, information and advertising display system from Daktronics, based in Brookings, South Dakota. The system includes a large LED circular, center-hung scoreboard with multiple displays, nearly 1,100 feet (340 m) of ribbon display technology mounted on the fascia and large video displays outside the facility. The center ice display was replaced during the summer of 2014. An array of 10 LED screens with the largest measuring 37.5 feet wide by 19 feet high. In the Summer of 2015 the arena began replacing every seat in the building with cushioned seating. This project was finished by early 2016.
In 2014 the campus of the Xcel Energy Center, RiverCentre, and Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium have earned three world class certifications.
The Xcel Energy Center and RiverCentre Campus is the first complex in the world to receive all three of the above listed certifications. The road to achieving these awards has spanned several years, and could not have happened without the support of all staff members. Some of the steps taken in order to achieve these awards are:
In addition to the efforts made by staff, the Xcel Energy Center has partnered with the NHL to join Change the Course, a national initiative promoting water conservation and restoration. In order to highlight the incredible achievements the X has earned, they have produced: Exceptionally Green: Minnesota Wild, Saint Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center
In 1998, the state made a $65 million interest-free loan toward construction of the $130 million arena, $17 million of which was forgiven when the team agreed to allow amateur and public events. That left a loan of $48 million.
In 2013 the Minnesota State Legislature passed an omnibus jobs, housing and commerce bill that included forgiveness of the remaining $32.7 million loan for Xcel Energy Center.
Under the terms of the forgiveness deal in this bill, St. Paul's annual loan payment will be reduced by $500,000 in 2014 and again in 2015. The balance of the loan will be forgiven in 2016. The city still owes $56.8 million in bonds on the arena, of the $72.7 million it borrowed in 1998.