Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden and/or The World’s Most Famous Arena, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station. Opened on February 11, 1968, it is the longest active major sporting facility in the New York metropolitan area, and is the fourth incarnation of the arena in the city. One Penn Plaza stands at its side. Several other operating entities related to the venue share its name.
Madison Square Garden is the third busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales, behind M.E.N. Arena, Manchester and The O2 Arena, London, both in the United Kingdom.
The present Garden hosts approximately 320 events a year. It is the home of the New York Rangers of the NHL, the New York Knicks of the NBA, and the New York Liberty of the WNBA, which are, like the arena itself, owned by Madison Square Garden, L.P. The arena is also host to the Big East Men’s Basketball Conference Tournament. Other regular events include the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus when it comes to New York City (although the Izod Center andNassau Coliseum also host the circus each year), selected home games for the St. John’s men’s Red Storm (college basketball), the annual pre and postseason NIT tournaments, the NBA Draft, the Millrose Games track and field meet, and almost any other kind of indoor activity that draws large audiences, such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the 2004 Republican National Convention. It has previously hosted the 1976, 1980 and 1992 Democratic National Conventions, and hosted the NFL Draft for many years (now held at Garden-leased Radio City Music Hall). In 2007, over 13,000 fans enjoyed the National Lacrosse League’s New York Titans inaugural home opener at Madison Square Garden. In 2008, the Titans played five home games at the Garden.
MSG is also known for its place in the history of boxing. Many of boxing’s biggest fights were held at Madison Square Garden, including the Roberto Durán-Ken Buchanan affair, and the first Joe Frazier – Muhammad Ali bout. Before promoters such asDon King and Bob Arum moved boxing to Las Vegas, Madison Square Garden was considered the mecca of boxing. The original 18½’ × 18½’ (5.6 m × 5.6 m) ring, which was brought from the second and third generation of the Garden, was officially retired on September 19, 2007 and donated to the International Boxing Hall of Fame after 82 years of service. A 20′ × 20′ (6 m × 6 m) ring replaced it beginning on October 6 of that same year.
Many large popular-music concerts in New York City take place in Madison Square Garden. Particularly famous ones include George Harrison’s Concert For Bangladesh, The Concert for New York City following the September 11 attacks and John Lennon’s final concert appearance (during an Elton John concert on Thanksgiving Night, 1974) before his murder in 1980. A 1971 rock and roll revival concert at the Garden, featuring Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Ricky Nelson, during Nelson was reportedly booed when he tried to play newer material, is thought to have been the inspiration for his 1972 hit single “Garden Party” The Garden usually hosts a concert each year on New Year’s Eve, with the Knicks and Rangers usually playing on the road. The Police played their final show of their reunion tour at the Garden in 2008. To this day, Elton John currently holds the all-time record for greatest number of appearances at The Garden with 62 shows (the 60th occurring on his 60th birthday, March 25, 2007), and Billy Joel set his own record in 2006 during his 12 performance run, achieving the title “Longest Run of a Single Artist.” In an interview (MSG Press Release, published by Business Wire, Dec. 21, 2009), the two piano men spoke about their affinity for playing concerts at the Garden. “Madison Square Garden is my favorite venue in the whole world,” said Elton John. “I chose to have my 60th birthday concert there, because of all the incredible memories I’ve had playing the venue.”
“Madison Square Garden is the center of the universe as far as I’m concerned. It has the best acoustics, the best audiences, the best reputation, and the best history of great artists who have played there,” said Billy Joel. “It is the iconic, holy temple of Rock and Roll for most touring acts and being a New Yorker, it holds a special significance to me. I’m honored to hold the record for Most Consecutive Nights Ever Sold at this world famous venue.”
In 2010, Madison Square Garden chose Michael Jackson’s 1988 concert during the Bad World Tour as the greatest concert ever held at its venue.
The arena is also used for other special events, including tennis and circus events. The New York Police Academy, Baruch College/CUNY and Yeshiva University also hold their annual graduation ceremonies at Madison Square Garden. It hosted the Grammy Awards in 1972, 1997 and 2003 (which are normally held in Los Angeles) as well as the Latin Grammy Awards in 2006. The Garden also hosted the 2005 Country Music Association Awards (normally held in Nashville). The Big East Conference men’s basketball tournament has been held at MSG every year since 1983 making it the longest period a conference tournament has been held at a single location. The PBR has even made annual stops each year since 2007, when its inaugural Built Ford Tough Series event was won by J. B. Mauney.
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