Jack and I spend a portion of our show on comparing “peer” metro area to Lincoln in terms of their arena situation. We did not look at just raw city-vs-city populations, but also at metro areas. If we did just city-vs-city, then Lincoln would be in the same class with Orlando, FL and St. Paul, MN. Obviously not comprable cities. So we looked also at each metro area and found those that seemed to be more like Lincoln. Then Jack found details of what those cities have done with their arenas. We found the results a little surprising. But I’ll let you decide for yourself.
Lincoln: City #74th biggest city in US @ 248,000
Lincoln MSA #156 biggest MSA @ 292,000
Anchorage #66 city/#137 metro(+27)
The George M. Sullivan Arena (commonly shortened to the “Sullivan Arena” and often referred to colloquially as “the Sully”) is an arena in Anchorage, Alaska. The arena opened in 1983 and has a seating capacity as high as 8,935 for boxing, 6,290 for hockey. It is home to the Alaska Aces ECHL ice hockey team, the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves hockey team (WCHA), the Great Alaska Shootout basketball tournament, and the Alaska Fighting Championship mixed martial arts events. In 2007 it became home to the Alaska Wild of the Indoor Football League. The Arena is often criticized for its poor acoustics and thus is rarely used for concert acts. It’s also used to host local high school and University of Alaska Anchorage graduation ceremonies. It is east of Mulcahy Stadium across a parking lot.
Fort Wayne #72 city/#117 metro (+41) (2 hours from Indianapolis)
The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum is a 13,000-seat multi-purpose arena in Fort Wayne, Indiana, initially built in 1952 for nearly $3 million in Fort Wayne’s Johnny Appleseed Park. The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum was originally designed to seat 8,000 for hockey or 10,240 for basketball. In 2002, an extensive renovation and expansion was put into motion, which raised the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum’s roof by 41 feet, therefore increasing the arena’s seating capacity to 10,500 for hockey or music concerts and 13,000 for basketball. The structure was designed by A.M. Strauss Architects.
The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum ranked 20th in the world among similar-sized venues by Venues Today, a concert and event industry-leading publication for 2007.
Laredo #89 city/184 metro (-43) (2 Hours from San Antonio)
The Laredo Entertainment Center is located at Loop 20 and Jacaman Road. LEC is the home of the Laredo Bucks and the Laredo Lobos. The 178,000-square-foot (16,500 m2), $36.5 million facility seats 8,002 people for ice hockey and arena football, and up to 10,000 for concerts. It has 14 luxury suites, four meeting rooms and a private club for 200 charter members. It was completed in mid 2002 with the help of the Laredo sales tax increase of .25 percent. Sports that can be played at the LEC include Hockey, Arena Football, Indoor Soccer, Basketball, Wrestling, and Boxing. The arena also hosts many events such as The Laredo Hunting and Fishing Show, Miss Texas USA, Laredo Home and Garden Show, and high school graduation ceremonies. Well-known artists and bands have performed in the arena such as Tool, Aerosmith,KISS,Elton John, Styx, ZZ TOP, Ricky Martin, George Lopez, Enrique Iglesias and many more.
Lubbock #91 city/#167 metro (-26)
United Spirit Arena is a 15,020-seat multi-purpose arena in Lubbock, Texas. The arena opened in 1999. It is home to the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Lady Raiders basketball teams and volleyball team. United Supermarkets, a Lubbock based supermarket chain with numerous stores in West Texas, was a major contributor. Thus, it was granted naming rights. Prior to the building of the arena, the teams played in the nearby City Bank Coliseum.
Fayettville, NC #132 city/#143 metro (-45) (2 hours from Charlotte)
Since opening the doors of the original Civic Center in 1967, the Crown Center has been the heart of entertainment for southeastern North Carolina for more than four decades. The original structure, a 2,400-seat theatre and 4,500-seat arena, underwent a major renovation in 2006 and has hosted diverse and distinct events running the gamut from Elvis Presley to Elite Dance and Cheer tournaments.
The Crown Expo Center was added in 1987 as a premier convention and meeting space and houses the Cumberland County Cooperative Extension.
The crowned jewel of the complex, the Crown Coliseum, opened in 1997. The 8,500-seat venue is home to the SPHL’s Fayetteville FireAntz, the AIFA’s Fayetteville Guard and a variety of concerts, family shows and motorsport events.
Huntsville #133 city/#130 metro (-33) (100 miles from Birmingham)
The Von Braun Center, which opened in 1975, has an arena capable of seating 10,000, a 2,000-seat concert hall, a 500-seat playhouse, and 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2) of convention space. Both the arena and concert hall are scheduled for major renovations; upon completion, they will be rechristened the Propst Arena and the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, respectively.
Spokane #104 city/#107 metro (+19)
Built in 1995
The Spokane Arena has a capacity for:
- 12,638 for end-stage concerts
- 12,494 for center-stage shows
- 12,210 for basketball
- 10,759 for ice hockey
- 10,471 for arena football
- 6,951 for half-house shows
The arena has a state-of-the-art audio and video system. It consists of a 15-foot (4.6 m) x 20-foot Viacom Sports 12 mm LED display, which is capable of being used as two separate units. The video board has exceptional color reproduction and the best off-angle viewing available for any LED format. It can even be moved forward approximately 100 feet (30 m) and down to approximately 20 feet (6.1 m) off the arena floor. The arena also features a 350° color LED ribbon board, which is mounted on the fascia of the Spokane Arena bowl. It is capable of displaying text messages, animations, logos, scores and statistics.
Powered by Crown Amplifiers, the audio system is driven by Community RS880 speakers in the Arena bowl, Altec Lansing satellite speakers for the upper seating areas, and Bose speakers serve the concourse, dressing rooms, and backstage hallways.
Shreveport, LA #106 city/#127 metro (-3)
The Hirsch Memorial Coliseum is a 10,300-seat multi-purpose arena in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was built in 1954. It was home to the Shreveport Mudbugs ice hockey team. It hosted the 1981 Atlantic Sun Conference men’s basketball tournament and has hosted the Southland Conference men’s basketball tournament six times.
It is located adjacent to the Independence Bowl stadium and across from Fair Park High School in Shreveport.
Mobile, AL #116 city/#121 metro (-7)
Built in 1960s:
Conceived from the ground up as a venue for major events, the Mobile Civic Center Arena is designed with the flexibility and convenience you would expect from a facility three times its size. The seven-story domed space, seating in excess of 10,000 people, can be configured to accommodate trade shows, ice shows, and everything in between. Oversized doorways accommodating semi-trailers, open directly onto the Arena floor to facilitate loading and unloading of sound, lighting and other equipment.
Fifteen well-equipped meeting rooms, ranging in size from small conference-style areas to rooms that accommodate 100, encircle the Arena’s main floor.