BASE OF OPERATION: Frontwave Arena CEO Josh Elias described the Oceanside area, which sits adjacent to the Camp Pendleton Marine base,  as “one of the last affordable beachfront communities in Southern California.” (Rendering courtesy venue)

Frontwave Arena Prepares For Its North San Diego County Debut

Frontwave Arena, north San Diego County’s new $85 million, 7,500-capacity venue, will make its debut in fine form come Sept. 17, 2024, when the “Gold Over America Tour” starring Simone Biles, the most decorated American gymnast in history, comes to the burgeoning community of Oceanside, California.

Presale tickets and premium bookings went on sale March 8 and arena officials expect a sellout.

“This is a big feather in our cap, to be able to have an international name like Simone Biles,” said Frontwave Arena CEO Josh Elias. “We couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our venue, than with somebody of that caliber.”

It will be the the Athleta Presents Gold Over America Tour’s first stateside event after the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, he pointed out.

UNPARALLELED: Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast in history. (Courtesy venue)

“It’s a confirmation of what we’ve been building here, especially to start off our season” Elias said.

Local government and local resident support for the project was strong in what Elias described as “probably one of the last affordable beachfront communities in southern California with a will.”

“It helps a lot when you’re footing the bill for all of it,” he said. “It makes it a little more complicated when you have a municipality involved in the economics of it. But this is a privately funded venue. We have the advantage of the masterplan developer of the 450-acre community as our partner, so I think it went really well. The city of Oceanside was a great help through the process.”

Josh Elias

Watkins Landmark Construction was originally selected to construct the project and Level 10 Construction, whose work includes the University of San Diego’s NCAA golf training facility designed by Phil Mickelson, was hired to complete it. The firm has also worked on USD’s Skip and Cindy Hogan Tennis Center, a host for the NCAA West Regional Championships and West Coast Conference Championships.

The master plan developer of the residential and commercial properties in 450-acre El Corazon Park is Colton Sudberry.

According to local media, El Corazon Park also includes a sports complex, developed by Sudberry Properties, with numerous soccer fields. There are also residences and a senior center.

Further development, including hotels, is planned.

Oceanside has doubled in size since the 1990s, Elias said, and sits astride Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

“Oceanside is right in the middle of a big community here,” Elias said. “We’ve got 5 million people within 90 miles of Oceanside. It’s a pretty untapped market and we’re super excited about getting this thing open.”

He notes that Oceanside is the third largest city in the county after San Diego and Chula Vista to the south.

The ownership group includes three entities with area connections. They also own the Major Arena Soccer League San Diego Sockers, the professional indoor team that’s been around since the late 1970s and currently plays its home games at Pechanga Arena, formerly San Diego Sports Arena.

Last week, it was announced that the Los Angeles Clippers G league team is moving to Frontwave Arena and will be renamed and branded the San Diego Clippers.

“Every NBA team next year will be required to have the G League team,” Elias said. “There are 50% of the players that are playing in the NBA who all have played at the G League level at some point. So, there’ll be a slew of really big talent that will come through Frontwave Arena because of our relationship and housing in San Diego Clippers next season.”

NONE BETTER: Superstar American gymnast Simone Biles goes airborne. (Courtesy venue)

How important is U.S. Marine base Camp Pendleton to the business plan?

Elias is quick to point out that Frontwave Credit Union, with whom arena operating company OSIDE Arena Holdings signed a 10-year sponsorship deal in 2022, was established at Camp Pendleton in 1952 as Camp Pendleton Federal Credit Union.

“Their roots are on Camp Pendleton and the base plays a big role in that 40,000 active duty members of the military are on Camp Pendleton at all times,” he said.

A large percentage of those end up making Oceanside their home because of its seaside location, the boom in housing and the growth of a downtown entertainment district that includes a top rated restaurant.

“It used to be a sleepy beach town. Now, it’s a vibrant beach town,” Elias said. “If you go into downtown Oceanside, the craft food scene there is amazing, very similar to a little Italy in ways, where you have a ton of different options and very crafty type foods and they’re really specific to North County, San Diego. It’s really becoming a big deal out here. We even have a five-star Michelin rated restaurant in Oceanside.”

Several design features will set Frontwave Arena apart from anything available nearby.

“We’ll be the only venue in North County with really premium spaces,” Elias said, of the arena and its 16 suites. “We focused on creating a premium experience here for our fans, so we have a number of premium bars, premium lounges, premium decks, which, is unique for a venue our size. The other main point is our outdoor plaza that will be connected to the building. It’ll seat 1,500 people, so we can do outdoor events in our plaza, which will be crafted with food and beverage. We’re putting together this multi-use type of venue to be able to activate on event days and non-event days.”

A full slate of events is yet to be announced, but Elias said it will be a wide mix of music comedy, family shows and community events.