KATELLA VIBE: The OCVibe development around Honda Center will transform the area ahead of the 2028 Summer Olympics. Phase one is due in 2026. (Rendering courtesy OCVibe)

5,600-Capacity Theater to Join Honda Center in 2026

Ground has been broken, but for the casual observer, the transformative nature of the $4 billion OCVibe development in Anaheim, California, is probably hard to visualize.

The preview center at the ARTIC transportation hub across the street from Honda Center, the 19,500-seat home of the NHL Anaheim Ducks, includes a 360-degree video presentation that lays out what the area will look like by the time the 2028 Summer Olympics arrive in Los Angeles.

Honda Center will host indoor volleyball in 2028.

“We joke that we had the Sphere before Las Vegas did,” said Kim Bedier, senior vice president of OCVibe and Honda Center, during a media announcement of a new partnership with Endeavor’s TKO Group Holdings to bring a string of the company’s WWE and UFC events to Honda Center, along with related events to be activated on the broader OCVibe campus, through 2028.

Kim Bedier (Courtesy venue)

The blend of live entertainment and dining venues, includes a 5,600-capacity indoor concert hall and an open, outdoor performance space for community events and activities, Bedier said.

The five-year deal will bring at least three UFC and WWE events, six total, to Honda Center, including UFC Pay Per View events and Fight Nights and WWE arena shows Raw and SmackDown.

The partnership with Endeavor’s TKO Group Holdings-owned brands was on display last weekend, when Honda Center hosted UFC 298: Volkanovski vs. Topuria on Saturday, Feb. 17, and WWE Monday Night Raw on Monday, Presidents’ Day, Feb. 19.

Honda Center hosted its first UFC event, UFC 59, in 2006 and has hosted over 60 WWE events, better than two a year, on average. Monday Night Raw was WWE’s 64th event at the arena, which opened in 1993 as the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, run by current IAVM President and CEO Brad Mayne under management of the old Ogden Entertainment.

Bedier said the weekend’s festivities were record-breakers at Honda Center, which has now hosted 10 UFC events. UFC298 was the highest-grossing live event in the arena’s history and the highest-grossing MMA event in California.

It’s the second time UFC broke the Honda Center record under Bedier’s watch.

“We’re looking forward to our performance theater, 5,600 people capacity, that we’ll be opening, with a nice flat surface that would be great for The Contender series, but also other venues, restaurants, clauses for viewing parties,” said OCVibe President and COO Bill Foltz. “It’s built for this relationship, which we’re very excited about because we can activate it and work with UFC to come up with maybe even an entire week leading up to a bout. That opens up in the fourth quarter of 2026. It will be the first phase and th second phase opens up in 2027. So, it’s coming up very quickly.”

Bill Foltz, left, and Jeff Dropick. (James Zoltak/Staff)

Honda Center hosted its first UFC event, UFC 59, in 2006 and has hosted over 60 WWE events over the past 30 years. Monday Night Raw was WWE’s 64th event at the arena.

“OCVibe is an ambitious project that’s been brought forth by the Samueli family (owners of Honda Center and the Ducks), which is going to transform 100 acres — which, if you look out to the side here, is our parking lot — into a one-of-a-kind, immersive, sports-entertainment district,” said OCVibe Chief Marketing Officer Tracee Larocca. “Our goal is to create a dynamic destination that entices fans to come early and to stay late and create a sense of community.”

Tracee Larocca (James Zoltak/Staff)

Peter Dropick, UFC’s executive vice president of event development and operations, said the double billing of UFC and WWE in a single weekend is according to plan.

“When TKO was formed last year, we said part of our event strategy would be to package UFC and WWE and that was either bringing multiple events to the market over the course of a year or the same venue the same weekend,” he said. “We couldn’t think of better partners the be the first.”

Dropick gave special praise to Kevin Starkey, vice president of operations for Anaheim Arena Operating Company, as being instrumental in bringing TKO and Honda Center together.

“It’s one of our favorite markets to come to. WWE has had some success here as well. Passionate fan base, loyal fan base; great location to draw from from the Southern California area,” he said.

Once the phases of OCVibe open, the five-year deal at Honda Center will truly pay dividends, Dropick said.

“The opportunities to enhance the fan experience are endless,” he said. “Think about, you check into a hotel on campus, you go to dinner, you go to the bars, maybe go to a concert. And you’ve got fighter appearances, you’ve got a fan festival, you’ve got Smackdown on Friday night. You’ve got the UFC weigh-ins; you’ve got the UFC pay per view on Saturday, followed by a post-fight parties. We don’t just do the building. We need a great experience for our fans. OCVibe delivers that.”