Pinnacle Bank Arena sparks new attention for Lincoln

Pinnacle Bank Arena rendering courtesy DLR Group

Pinnacle Bank Arena rendering courtesy DLR Group

 Story, video by NewsNetNebraska staff

The introduction of Pinnacle Bank Arena to Lincoln’s Haymarket district has helped spark a jump in public and business interest.

Fans gather outside Pinnacle Bank Arena during the state high school basketball tournaments in March. Photo: Jacob Bryant, NewsNetNebraska

Fans gather outside Pinnacle Bank Arena during the state high school basketball tournaments in March. Photo: Jacob Bryant, NewsNetNebraska

It’s given the University of Nebraska men’s and women’s basketball teams a new home that has attracted record crowds. For the first time in the history of the men’s program, season tickets sold out this season. The crowd of 15,998 that saw the Husker men take on Wisconsin last month was the most highly attended basketball game in UNL history.

In March, the arena attracted thousands of people from Nebraska communities big and small for the boys and girls Nebraska high school basketball tournaments. They drove hundreds of miles to pay and see the tournament games,  stay in Lincoln hotels and eat in area restaurants.

The arena has also attracted big-name stars that otherwise would have likely taken their shows up I-80 to the Century Link Center in Omaha. Entertainers such as Michael Bulbe, Pink, John Mayer, Elton John and Jay Z all made their first stops in Lincoln to appear in the arena within the first six months of its existence.

Good press

The arena also brought an NCAA women’s basketball regional semifinals to Lincoln for the first time this week. That meant good national press for Pinnacle Bank Arena and Lincoln. The regional semifinals drew 9,585 fans, the largest to date in the 2014 NCAA women’s tournament. The previous high was 8,774 at Notre Dame earlier Saturday afternoon. The Day Sports columnist Mike DiMauro quoted Texas A&M coach Gary Blair’s reaction after his team played in Lincoln. “In football country, this is basketball country,” Blair said. “Congratulations to Nebraska, congratulations to this arena. This arena can hold national championships. It is well done. The game is so much better than what it used to be. That’s how far this game has come.”

Business is up

But what about the business model? Have new businesses that sprouted as a result of the new state-of-the-art arena seen the traffic and profits they originally expected?

Roland Morgan, the general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn located at the corner of 8th and R streets, said business has exceeded expectations since the hotel opened last August.

“It’s been phenomenal,” he said. “We knew we were going to get some traffic with all of the events going on, we just didn’t know how much. It’s been better than what we originally thought and we think it will continue to be a popular place. There’s a lot of different things that create traffic down here.”

Pinnacle Bank Arena hosted the boys and girls state high school basketball tournaments this year. Photo: Jacob Bryant, NewsNetNebraska

Pinnacle Bank Arena hosted the boys and girls state high school basketball tournaments this year. Photo: Jacob Bryant, NewsNetNebraska

Morgan said his hotel has been sold out for several of the mentioned concerts, the boys and girls high-school state championship tournaments, as well as the NCAA women’s basketball regional. But it’s not just the arena that’s attracted a large number of visitors. The Hilton Garden Inn also sold out rooms for each of Nebraska’s eight home football games. 

And even though there won’t be as many events at the arena over the summer months, Morgan is expecting business to still remain steady.

“I don’t think we’ll have that much of a fall off,” he said. “This will be our first summer, but I think there will still be enough going on to bring people in. With things like Ribfest and other events that don’t necessarily involve the arena, I think we should be fine.”

A slight loss

But what about the arena itself? Is it having the same financial success as surrounding businesses?

Not exactly, according to a recent report by the Lincoln Journal Star, which stated that the arena posted a $171,598 loss at the end of January. The city is still hopefully that upcoming concerts such as Katy Perry, Zac Brown Band and Cher will help bring the finances back to break-even territory, according to the report.
Click below to hear and see students and business reaction to the new arena and development in the Haymarket district

The building of Pinnacle Bank Arena in one minute and 25 seconds.

 

What people are saying about Lincoln’s Haymarket and the Pinnacle Bank Arena now, seven months after its opening.

What people are saying about Lincoln’s Haymarket and the Pinnacle Bank Arena now, seven months after its opening.

What people are saying about Lincoln’s Haymarket and the Pinnacle Bank Arena now, seven months after its opening.

What people are saying about Lincoln’s Haymarket and the Pinnacle Bank Arena now, seven months after its opening.

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