AFC leaves Sullivan Arena for newer Alaska Airlines Center
The Sullivan Arena is on the ropes.
It may not be a knockout punch but it certainly is a kick to the gut. After 13 years at the Sully, as it’s known by many locals, the Alaska Fighting Championship is leaving the ring and following the Alaska Aces out the door. AFC president Sarah Lorimer is moving her fights to the Alaska Airlines Center.
The announcement was made at noon Wednesday, during a press conference at the center on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus.
Earlier this year the arena lost the Aces, its primary tenant, but the difference between the two departures is huge. The hockey team, which had played games at the Sullivan since the early 90s, left after ceasing operations during the spring.
The mixed martial arts unit is taking off by choice, however, with its first event at the Alaska Airlines Center – AFC 133 – slated for Sept. 20.
The Sullivan will host three country music concerts with two major stars in the near future. Luke Bryan comes to Anchorage to play a pair of dates in early August, and Miranda Lambert will perform in September.
But much of the downtime will be quiet time. And the Alaska Airlines Center has also served as a destination for country acts such as Carrie Underwood and Tim McGraw.
The UAA Seawolves hockey team remains on what is a quickly-shrinking client list at the Sullivan. And it’s important to remember that although the Seawolves’ program was on the chopping block for a time last year due to budget constraints, it appears to be safe for now.
But is the Sullivan Arena? And after this latest development, how many more exits can it withstand before it’s lights-out?