Bon Secours Wellness Arena – Greenville Swamp Rabbits
Ears Up !
The Bon Secours Wellness Arena (formerly the Bi-Lo Center) has served as the home of the Greenville Swamp Rabbits hockey team since 2010. The 15, 951 seat arena opened in 1998 , and is the largest sports facility in Upstate South Carolina. It has 30 luxury suites and 840 club seats. The Bon Secours Wellness System has owned naming rights for the venue since 2013. Locals simply refer to it as “The Well.”
The Swamp Rabbits were formerly the Johnstown, PA Chiefs and were relocated to the Greenville area in 2010. The team originally played under the name of the Greenville Road Warriors but rebranded as the Swamp Rabbits in 2015 in order to be more clearly identified with the local community. They play in the Southern Division of the ECHL’s Eastern Division and won the Eastern Division Championship in 2011.
Food & Beverage 4
Bon Secours Wellness Arena partners with several national chains to provide its concessions offering. Brands on-site include Bojangles, Moe’s, Pizza Hut, and King of Pops. The prices tend to run higher than they would at a local branch of these stores. A sampling of the menu items available at “The Well” includes chicken tenders ($6), burritos ($7), beer brats ($7), hot dogs ($4.50), corn dogs ($4.50), pretzels ($4.50) and pizza ($6.50). The arena offers a wide selection of beverages, including Pepsi brand sodas ($4.25), sweet tea ($6.50), bottled water ($4.25), domestic beers ($10) and wine ($7).
Two local concessions we feel stand out against the national brands are Swamp Dog, which offers gourmet foot long hot dogs with a wide array of toppings for $8 and Carolina Smoke, a BBQ stand which serves North Carolina style BBQ that is out of this world. The sandwiches are $7, or you can get the BBQ plate (sandwich plus two sides and a drink) for $10.
The arena also has a fully stocked team store known as the Hop Shop.
“The Well” is one of the more impressive ECHL arenas we have seen in the South. It has a major league feel to it from the moment you arrive. The main concourses are wide and colorful, as they offer plenty of graphics, including banners, murals and signage. The facility offers both sit down and take back to your seat concession options and offer some premium fan experiences.
Once in the seating bowl, you will find the seats to be very comfortable and wider than is usually seen at arenas these days. Bon Secours has a great electronics package with LED ribbon boards encircling the arena and a very impressive center hung scoreboard. The speaker system is top notch and the public address announcer is easily understood. The announcer is very professional in that he is good at stirring up the crowd without coming across as too “rah rah.”
The pregame introductions are at an NHL level of production, as they include lighting, music, the dance team and an excellent graphics package on the video board. It definitely gets the crowd fired up for the game.
No matter what the outcome of the game, when you leave the arena, you’ll feel like you got your money’s worth.
The opening of the arena played a major role in the transitioning of downtown Greenville from a sleepy mill town to the vibrant, active modern city it has become. Today the area surrounding “The Well” is filled with restaurants, entertainment options and shopping facilities. It has transformed the northern end of Main Street in much the same way Fluor Field has stimulated development of the southern end of Main Street and the West End.
Just west of the arena is Haywood Mall, while a few blocks to the east is the Heritage Green and its many museums (Upcountry History Museum, The Children’s Museum, the Carolina Music Museum and the Greenville Museum of Art). Hotels within walking distance of the Bon Secours include the Holiday Inn Express Downtown and the Hyatt Regency Greenville
In Greenville, the fans are both Rabbit fans and rabid fans. A major portion of the crowd will be in their best Swamp Rabbit attire. We were especially impressed with the orange jerseys from a previous giveaway that featured Stomper on the front and glowed in the dark when the lights were dimmed.
There is very good rapport between the announcer and the crowd. After a Swamp Rabbits goal, he says “(players name) shoots” and the crowd finishes with “and he scores!” The crowd enthusiasm level seems to stay constant throughout the game. Another cheer that is heard frequently is “Ears Up,” which encourages the kids in attendance to make sure the bunny ears on their visor-like hats are raised.
Swamp Rabbit fans are also very knowledgeable. During breaks and between the periods, the emcee would conduct either trivia or skills contests. The contestants perform very well in both areas.
Helping keep the fans fired up are the Rabettes entertainment crew and Stomper, the team’s swamp rabbit mascot.
The Bon Secours Wellness Arena is easily reached from I-85 or I-26:
From I-85 North (Atlanta area): Take I-85 North to I-185 North (Downtown Greenville) I-185 becomes Mills Avenue, then Church Street. Follow these streets for 3.5 miles to the arena, which will be on your right. It is 145 miles from Atlanta to the Bon Secours Wellness Arena
From I-85 South (Charlotte): Take I-85 South to I-385 North towards downtown Greenville. Continue on I-385 for 6.5 miles. Bon Secours Wellness Arena will be on you right. It is 102 miles from Charlotte to Greenville.
From I-26 West (Columbia): Take I-26 West to I-385 North. Follow I-385 for 6.5 miles to Bon Secours Wellness Arena on your right. It is 103 miles from Columbia to the venue.
Once you arrive at the arena you will find a mixed bag accessibility-wise. It offers wide concourses, and enough restroom and concession facilities to handle the crowds without lines forming. We find the 200 level of seats very difficult to navigate. They are reached by a set of stairs and once you enter the seating bowl there are an awkward set of up and down stairs to get to your seat. The marking of the sections in the 200 level is non-existent, and you will wind up having to ask a local if you are in the correct section. Ushers are non-existent on the 200 level, while the lower level sections have two ushers at every entryway to a section
Return on Investment 3
The Swamp Rabbits offer a trio of ticket options, with glass tickets going for $30, center ice tickets selling for $20 and ends being the cheapest level at $15. These are pre-purchase prices, as tickets sold the day of the game are $5 more. Parking for games is $6 at the City of Greenville Parking Garage located across the street from the arena. Prices at the concession stands are higher than we have experienced at other ECHL rinks.
The Bon Secours Wellness Arena is one of the busiest sports facilities in the Palmetto State. It has hosted the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament for several years and early rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2002 and 2017. It served as the home of Clemson Tigers basketball for the entire 2015-2016 season while the Tigers’ Littlejohn Coliseum underwent massive renovations. It will serve as the home of the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament for 2019 – 2022.
The arena is also a primary concert venue for the area. Recent concerts have included acts such as the Eagles, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Other events held in the complex include Disney on Ice, the Harlem Globetrotters and WWE wrestling.
When the weather allows, the arena hosts a Party on the Plaza. This pregame activity includes snack foods, beer and wine, music and games.
The Swamp Rabbit name comes from a very popular 22 mile-long trail called the Swamp Rabbit Trail that weaves throughout the Greenville area along the Reedy River.
The Bon Secours Wellness Arena has become a magnet for major sporting events in the Upstate area of South Carolina. It has the versatility, the seating capacity, excellent concession offerings and an experienced event staff which all work together seamlessly to create a very enjoyable fan experience, no matter what the sport.
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Holiday Inn Express
407 North Main St
Greenville, SC 29601
Hyatt Regency Greenville
220 N Main St
Greenville, SC 29601
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The most impressive thing about seeing a game at Bon Secours is the wide variety of community programs the Swamp Rabbits support. At a typical game you can see kids from Greenville’s Learn to Skate program demonstrate their budding hockey skills, in addition to a performance by the Greenville Figure Skating Club, as well as a Chuck-a-Puck fundraising event to benefit local Cub and Boy Scout troops – during the latter, numbered foam rubber pucks can be purchased for 2, and thrown onto the ice during the second intermission.