BB&T Arena, formerly The Bank of Kentucky Center, is a 10,000-seat multi-purpose arena in Highland Heights, Kentucky, on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. The arena was topped off on June 21, 2007 and the first event held there was NKU's graduation ceremony on May 10, 2008. A grand opening ceremony was held on September 22, 2008.
BB&T Arena also referred to as "The Bank"
|Former names||The Bank of Kentucky Center (2008–2015)|
|Location||500 Nunn Drive|
Highland Heights, Kentucky 41099
|Owner||Northern Kentucky University|
|Broke ground||May 20, 2006|
|Opened||May 10, 2008|
|Construction cost||$64 million|
($74.5 million in 2018 dollars)
|Structural engineer||THP Limited Inc.|
|General contractor||Turner Construction|
|Northern Kentucky Norse (NCAA) (2008–present)|
Cincinnati Bearcats (NCAA) (2017–2018)
Northern Kentucky River Monsters (UIFL/CIFL) (2011, 2014)
The NKU men's and women's basketball teams are the main tenants,  but many outside events are booked at the center. Among the first were country music star Carrie Underwood, comedian Jeff Dunham, and the cast of the reality television show So You Think You Can Dance as well as Cirque du Soleil, and the Walking With Dinosaurs live production. It hosted the Elite Eight of the NCAA Men's Division II Basketball Tournament in 2012. It was again set to host the Division II 2013 Elite Eight, but the NCAA moved the event to Freedom Hall in Louisville as NKU joined Division I (the NCAA would later go further by only holding the Elite Eight and Final Four matchups in Louisville; the Division II championship game was moved to Atlanta, Georgia's State Farm Arena with the Division III championship game as part of the celebration of 75 years of the men's Division I tournament, the Final Four of which was held in the Georgia Dome). On May 10, 2011, The Bank of Kentucky Center hosted WWE live. Other artists/performers that have visited the arena include Alan Jackson with Jana Kramer, Barry Manilow, Bill Engvall, Jeff Foxworthy, and Larry The Cable Guy, Blake Shelton, Bob Dylan, Dane Cook, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Martina McBride, Trace Adkins, Jay-Z, REO Speedwagon, and Styx among others.
The Bank of Kentucky agreed to cover 10% of the cost of the arena, up to $6 million, in exchange for naming rights. It will also get a luxury suite, access to premium tickets and free use of the facility rent free for one special event each year.
In 2015, the name of the arena was changed to the BB&T Arena after BB&T Corp. bought out The Bank of Kentucky.
Beginning in spring of 2011, BB&T Arena was home to the Northern Kentucky River Monsters of the Ultimate Indoor Football League. After the season, the River Monsters agreed to part ways with the UIFL. The UIFL still had rights to place a team in the arena, so there will be an expansion team placed there, the Kentucky Monsters.
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