VENUES: Clippers G Team Latest to Call Frontwave Arena Home

OCEANSIDE – The countdown is on for Frontwave Arena, the multipurpose sports and entertainment venue in North County that’s been in the planning stages since 2020.

The venue will soon be home to myriad indoor sports — both professional and amateur – as well as concerts, comedy headliners, family-friendly shows and community events.

Built adjacent to the SoCal Sports Complex in the El Corazon district of Oceanside, the 170,000-square-foot, $85 million arena will hold 7,500 people with an intimate bowl design that promises to bring fans close to the action.

The arena will include 16 luxury suites, three VIP viewing decks, a full-service restaurant, eight bars, two exclusive lounges and an open-air patio.

The concourse level will offer North County-based companies selling craft food and beverages.

ETA for the long-awaited opening is September.

Josh Elias
Co-founder & CEO
Frontwave Arena

“This is really something the community needs,” said Frontwave Arena Co-Founder and CEO Josh Elias, an Escondido native. “The key for us is getting the community to own this place and call it their own.”

A Plethora of Sports Offerings

The arena is the future home of the San Diego Sockers of the Major Arena Soccer League, a team owned and coached by Frontwave Arena Co-Founder Phil Salvagio.

In 2021, the Sockers entered a partnership with Sudberry Properties to call the spot home for an arena. Frontwave Credit Union came on in 2022 with a 10-year agreement.

“A team like the San Diego Sockers, the most successful franchise in the indoor soccer league with 16 professional championships, deserves a venue that matches its success, which is why we are so excited to bring the Sockers to Frontwave Arena,” Salvagio said. “The new arena will be the perfect home for the Sockers, and we can’t wait to welcome in the fans and community.”

Phil Salvagio
Co-Founder, Frontwave Arena
Head Coach, San Diego Sockers

Frontwave Arena will also be home to the San Diego Clippers, the G League affiliate of the Los Angeles Clippers, and Elias hints that at least one other sports team will soon announce that it is going to make the venue its home.

The arena’s first official event is Olympics gymnastic star Simone Biles’s “Gold Over America Tour” on Sept. 17.

Sports, Music Tourism a Boon to Oceanside

Leslee Gaul, CEO of Visit Oceanside, said the arena will be a boon to the city’s tourism, “especially as demand for sports and music festival tourism soars.”

Leslee Gaul
Visit Oceanside

“This is the only venue of its kind in coastal North County and promises to enrich the visitor experience with top-tier sporting events, exhibitions, concerts and beyond,” Gaul said. “Frontwave’s location at El Corazon allows visitors to experience more of the city while generating additional economic benefit particularly in slower shoulder seasons.”

Gaul noted that the site’s accessibility via public transportation through the North County Transit District’s Sprinter means visitors will have an eco-friendly travel option, which aligns with the city’s sustainable transportation goals.

Elias said having Frontwave Credit Union come on as a sponsor from the beginning and getting naming rights before the venue was built was a vote of confidence for the arena project.

The credit union has been serving the Oceanside community for more than 70 years. It has a solid relationship with the Sockers and is deeply embedded in the youth and community soccer programs in San Diego County, said Todd Kern, Chief Experience Officer for Frontwave Credit Union.

“We’re proud to be a key partner in this exciting project that will benefit the entire North County region,” Kern said. “The Frontwave Arena will not only serve as a community gathering space, but also as an important economic driver for the area. We find it as a perfect partnership… and we really saw this as an opportunity to help continue the positive growth of Oceanside and North County San Diego.”

Todd Kern
Chief Experience Officer
Frontwave Credit Union

Elias said the venue will have a positive economic impact, creating “hundreds of jobs and career opportunities that don’t exist today.”

He also noted that another plus is that it is a year-round arena, not seasonal other outdoor venues that go dark in the winter, and that the venue’s proximity to SoCal Sports Complex, which has 22 multi-use athletic fields and is one of the premier amateur athletic facilities on the West Coast, will allow it to also keep a focus on serving people on non-arena event days.

“The (soccer/rugby/lacrosse) fields bring a large number of people here,” Elias said. “We’ll be able to open our outdoor plaza, and maybe even open up the arena to programs, and activate different things in there. That will allow opportunity for small businesses in the community to come and be a part of that, too.”

Arena Project Survived ‘Stress Tests’

Elias said the arena has made it through a lot of “stress tests” over the past four years, and that they take pride in being able to maximize its dollars “to create the best arena that we possibly can.”

“Because we are a privately funded venue with no taxpayer dollars you don’t have an unlimited budget,” Elias said. “Our ability you know to get through some tough times, starting this project right before a pandemic, and then some unforeseeable rains in the past few years, is something! To secure funding in a very unstable economic capital environment is very hard to do. If you look at those things that we’ve accomplished, it’s pretty awesome.”

Elias recalled that during the pandemic’s height when seaports were closed, getting materials for the predominantly steel building was an issue. He said steel was the commodity that was most impacted.

Watching prices increase rapidly, “we were really worried about the supply and being able to get the steel” and the arena group purchased the bulk of its steel in 2022 and stored it onsite, Elias said.

“We did not want to get to this point and not have enough steel and we did not want to pay a premium. which is a very gutsy thing to do during a pandemic when you’re doing a project like this,” he said. “It really does show what our commitment was to this project. And I think that’s where you would normally see a lot of a lot of people fail, when you’re faced with those type of type of decisions and investments. It ended up being the smartest thing we did.”

Frontwave Arena
CO-FOUNDER: Phil Salvagio
BUSINESS: Multipurpose sports and entertainment venue
COST OF BUILD: $85 million
SOCIAL IMPACT: Frontwave Credit Union, which has a 10-year partnership for naming rights with the arena, launched the nonprofit Frontwave Foundation last year, and made an inaugural $10,500 donation to Rady’s Children’s Hospital.
NOTABLE: The arena has a “Community Corner,” where more than 400 tiles to be placed along its outdoor plaza can be personalized.