RICHFIELD COLISEUM

The RICHFIELD COLISEUM located at 2923 Streetsboro Road in Richfield Township Ohio, was built in 1974 for 36 million dollars in order to replace the CLEVELAND ARENA. Nick Mileti who had bought the CLEVELAND BARONS, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS, and the Arena had been the driving force behind the choice of site and the construction of the Coliseum.  Frank Sinatra sang at the opening of the facility on October 26, 1974.

The Coliseum was built in Richfield, given its location on Interstate 71 and the fact that it was central to both Cleveland and Akron, two of the state's major cities.   Nearly 5 million people lived within an hour drive of it. The 20,273 capacity structure was built to serve primarily as the home for the Cavaliers. Beside being home of the Cavaliers, the Coliseum was home to the Cleveland Barons and the CLEVELAND FORCE. It hosted concerts and graduation ceremonies as well as other sports such as BOXING (including a match between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner--See: ALI-WEPNER FIGHT).

Despite its central location, attendance at the Coliseum was at times problematic, particularly given its design and traffic issues. The single level concourse  created massive congestion among the fans and the upper level luxury boxes were not terribly popular given their distance from the action on the floor. The long distance from Cleveland was also a problem, particularly in bad weather and during rush hour traffic. 

George and Gordon Gund purchased the Cavaliers in 1983, and 1991 announced their intention to move the team to what would become the new Gund Arena (now the ROCKET MORTGAGE FIELDHOUSE) in Downtown Cleveland. The Cavaliers officially made the move at the beginning of the1994-1995 season. After 1994, the Coliseum sat there unused, until the CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK purchased it, and demolished it in 1999. 

Vinod Sardesai

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