CHI Health Center Omaha

CHI Health Center Omaha is an arena and convention center in the central United States, located in the North Downtown neighborhood of Omaha, Nebraska. Operated by the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA), the 1.1-million-square-foot (100,000 m2) facility has an 18,975-seat arena, a 194,000 sq ft (18,000 m2) exhibition hall, and 62,000 sq ft (5,800 m2) of meeting space.

CHI Health Center Omaha[1]
CHI Health Center Omaha Logo.jpg
CenturyLink Center Omaha.jpg
Former namesOmaha Arena and Convention Center (planning/construction)
Qwest Center Omaha (2003–11)
CenturyLink Center Omaha (2011–18)
Alternative namesCHI Health Center
Omaha Convention Center and Arena
General information
LocationDowntown Omaha
Address455 North 10th Street
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Coordinates41°15′47″N 95°55′41″W / 41.263°N 95.928°W / 41.263; -95.928Coordinates: 41°15′47″N 95°55′41″W / 41.263°N 95.928°W / 41.263; -95.928
Named forCHI Health
GroundbreakingMarch 1, 2001; 21 years ago (2001-03-01)
OpenedSeptember 20, 2003; 18 years ago (2003-09-20)
InauguratedSeptember 12, 2003; 18 years ago (2003-09-12)
Cost$291 million
($429 million in 2021 dollars[2])
OwnerCity of Omaha
LandlordMetropolitan Entertainment
& Convention Authority
Technical details
Size1,118,300 square feet (103,890 m2)
Design and construction
Architecture firmDLR Group
Structural engineerThornton-Tomasetti Group
Services engineerM–E Engineers, Inc.
Main contractorKiewit Construction Co.
Other information
Seating capacity18,320 (basketball)
17,100 (hockey)
18,975 (concert center-stage)
2,693 (Peter Kiewit Grand Ballroom)
Parking4,500 spaces

The complex opened on September 20, 2003 as Qwest Center Omaha, and adopted the name of CenturyLink Center Omaha on July 15, 2011, as part of a $22 billion buyout of Qwest by CenturyLink (formerly CenturyTel).[3][4] In July 2018, CHI Health bought the naming rights to the arena under a 20-year agreement worth $23.6 million,[5] and the arena was renamed CHI Health Center Omaha effective September 1, that year.[6]

Just west of the Missouri River, the elevation at street level is approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) above sea level.

The arena hosts basketball and hockey games, professional wrestling events, concerts, and the annual shareholders' meeting of Omaha-based conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, usually held on the first Saturday of May.

The arena's primary tenant is the Creighton University men's basketball team. Through the 2014–15 NCAA ice hockey season, the Omaha Mavericks men's ice hockey team, representing the University of Nebraska Omaha, was also a primary tenant, but the Mavericks moved to the new Baxter Arena effective with the 2015–16 season.[7][8]


In 2000, Omaha voters approved a $216 million bond issue to build a new convention center and arena; the remainder of the $291 million project was provided by private organizations and individuals. The facility design was led by architectural firm DLR Group. Naming rights to the arena were purchased by Qwest.

Qwest Center Omaha opened in September 2003 with an initial seating capacity of 17,000 for concerts, 15,500 for basketball, and 14,700 for hockey. In 2006, a $5.7-million expansion of the arena increased capacity by approximately 1,500 seats.

The Qwest Center displaced the 1954 Omaha Civic Auditorium as the city's premier indoor arena. The venerable Ak-Sar-Ben Coliseum closed in 2002 and was demolished in 2005.

Notable eventsEdit

The arena has hosted games in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament four times: first- and second-round games in 2008, 2012, and 2015; and Midwest Regional games (Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight) in 2018. The arena was planned to host the 2020 tournament's first- and second-round games, but the tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The arena also hosted the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, and was home to the WWE Judgment Day 2008 pay-per-view, as well as other events from WWE. The arena has also five championship boxing cards, all involving Omaha native Terence Crawford as he wanted to defend his titles in front of a home crowd. His first bout at the arena, against Yuriorkis Gamboa for the WBO lightweight belt in 2014, was the first championship fight in Nebraska since the Joe Frazier-Ron Stander bout in 1971.

The arena hosts the Nebraska School Activities Association state wrestling championships each February. The tournament moved to what was then Qwest Center Omaha in 2006 after 30 years at Lincoln's Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Summer Olympics Swimming TrialsEdit

The center hosted the nationally televised USA Swimming Summer Olympics trials in 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2021. The center does not have permanent swimming facilities and a team of 200 workers with oversight by Myrtha Pools (which specializes in the construction and dismantling of large-scale temporary pools)[9] constructed them in two weeks.[10] The Omaha Fire Department pumped in 2 million U.S. gallons (7,600 cubic meters) of water from hydrants around the center.[11][12]

The 2008 event averaged more than 12,000 spectators each night.[13]

A storm damaged a portion of the roof known as The Hat on June 27, 2008. There was no structural damage, but the damage caused water to pour into parts of the Qwest Center, flowed down two sets of arena steps and onto the deck of the competition pool for the USA Swimming Summer Olympic Trials. The schedule for the trials went on as planned.[14]

The pools were dismantled after the event and moved to other cities for permanent installation with the 2008 pool going to the Poseidon Swimming facility in Richmond, Virginia,[15] the 2012 pool going to Charles River Aquatics in Boston, Massachusetts,[16] the 2016 pool going to the Hulbert Aquatic Facility in West Fargo, North Dakota (West Fargo bought the pool via a local group of swim enthusiasts called UP Aquatics for $900,000).[17] and the 2021 pool going to a group in Minneapolis, Minnesota that plans to convert an abandoned book bindery in the city's Near North neighborhood into an Olympic-caliber aquatic center.[18]

In 2016, the arena hosted the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions.[19]


From 2006 to 2009, the Professional Bull Riders hosted a Built Ford Tough Series event at the arena, and from 2014 to 2016 they hosted a Velocity Tour event. The PBR returned to host an Unleash the Beast Series event on May 1 and 2, 2021, for their first Premier Series event in 12 years.[20]


In 2001, construction began on the new convention center and arena, known as the "Omaha Arena and Convention Center". Architectural firm DLR Group spearheaded the design, while The Thornton-Tomasetti Group served as structural engineer. M–E Engineers, Inc. was the services engineer and a local company, Kiewit Corporation, led general construction. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on March 1, 2001.[21] The venue was completed in August 2003, with an official opening on September 24, 2003.

In 2006, the MCEA funded a project to expanded the arena and add an additional 1,472 seats to the upper bowl.[22] The project also included adding restroom facilities and concession stands, as well as updating aesthetics, mechanical systems, and emergency exits. The cost of the project was $6 million. Construction began in May and was completed September 8, 2006.

In 2009, the center saw another renovation with work enveloping the entire building. The $6 million project included new carpet, wallpaper, reupholstered arena seating, and a new scoreboard.[23]


Creighton Bluejays Big East 2003–present
River City Rodeo and Stock Show KASB 2003–present
UNO Mavericks NCHC 2003–2015
Nebraska State Wrestling Tournament NSAA 2007–present
United States Olympic Trials USA-S 2008–present
NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament NCAA 2008, 2012, 2016, 2018
NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship 2008
NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships 2010
CHI Health Omaha Convention Center

The convention center has placed Omaha on the convention map since opening in 2003. The center features three exhibit halls, four ballrooms and over 15 meeting rooms.

  • Exhibit Hall: The main exhibition room which can be divided into three separate rooms (Halls A-C) depending on configuration. The combined rooms can house over 1,000 or a conference seating more than 16,000 guests.
  • Peter Kiewit Grand Ballroom: Named after the founder of the Kiewit Corporation, is the biggest ballroom in the facility. Based on configuration, it can be divided into 3 small ballrooms (Ballroom A-C) or 2 large rooms (North and South). The room is primarily used for graduation ceremonies, charity galas and business conferences.
  • Junior Ballroom: This intimate space was designed for private events such as weddings, receptions, banquets and cocktail parties up to 1,000 guests.
CHI Health Center Arena

The arena is the busiest venue of the complex. Built in 2001, the arena was meant to replace the aging Omaha Civic Auditorium and demolished Ak-Sar-Ben Coliseum. It is the largest arena in the state, seating over 18,000. It contains 32 luxury suites and over a thousand club seats. The arena hosts shows of all genres, including: concerts, family shows, sports, rodeos and circuses. The arena opened September 12, 2003, with a private concert by Grand Funk Railroad. The first official event was the "River City Roundup Fair and Festival", held at both facilities.[24]

Hilton Omaha

This hotel features 600 guest rooms, 15 meeting rooms, and two ballrooms, an on-site restaurant, and skywalk connection to the convention center. The $71 million property opened April 2004 and has achieved the AAA four-diamond rating for ten years.[25]


  • Qwest Center Omaha (September 20, 2003–July 14, 2011)[26]
  • CenturyLink Center Omaha (July 15, 2011–August 31, 2018)[27]
  • CHI Health Center Omaha (September 1, 2018–present)[5]

Records and milestonesEdit

Top 10 Largest Home Crowds at CHI Health Center Omaha, Creighton History

Rank Attendance Opponent Result Date
1 18,868[28] Providence W 88–73 March 8, 2014
2 18,859[29] Georgetown W 76–63 January 25, 2014
3 18,831[30] Villanova L 70–80 December 31, 2016
4 18,797[31] Villanova W 101–80 February 16, 2014
5 18,759[32] Gonzaga L 92-103 December 1, 2018
6 18,742[32] Seton Hall W 72–71 February 23, 2014
7 18,735[33] Wichita State L 68–89 February 11, 2012
8 18,613[34] Wichita State W 91–79 March 2, 2013
9 18,525[35] Marquette W 67–49 December 31, 2013
10 18,519[36] Seton Hall W 77-60 March 7, 2020

On the evening of March 8, 2014, the largest crowd to attend a Creighton University basketball game occurred when 18,868 fans witnessed the Creighton men's team defeat Providence on Doug McDermott's career-high senior night performance of 45 points.[28]

On January 13, 2012, the largest crowd to ever watch a hockey game in Nebraska occurred when 16,138 fans attended the game between the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Minnesota-Duluth.[37]

The CHI Health Center holds several NCAA attendance records, particularly in women's college volleyball. The three largest crowds to attend NCAA tournament matches were for Nebraska Cornhuskers games at the venue. The highest attendance for any volleyball match in the United States, whether for men or women, occurred on December 19, 2015 when 17,561 fans watched the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship game between Nebraska and former conference rival Texas. This broke a record set two days earlier, when Nebraska defeated another former conference rival, Kansas, in the national semifinals in front of a crowd of 17,551. In turn, this match broke an attendance record set in 2008, when 17,340 fans watched the NCAA semifinal match between Penn State and Nebraska.[38]


White Out vs Wichita State
White Out
White Out vs Southern Illinois
US Olympic Swimming Trials in June 2008
2013 Scoreboard & Logo
View looking southeast
West façade and main entrance
South façade prior to 2011
Monday Night Raw on September 4, 2017

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mertes, Micha (22 June 2018). "Weird names for sporting arenas around the world, some far stranger than CHI Health Center Omaha". Omaha World-Herald.
  2. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  3. ^ Sabin, Jeff (March 24, 2011). "Name Change Coming For Qwest Center Omaha". WOWT News. Archived from the original on August 30, 2011. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  4. ^ Moring, Roseann (July 29, 2015). "MECA prepares for new CenturyLink Center naming rights contract". Omaha World-Herald.
  5. ^ a b Nohr, Emily. "So long, CenturyLink Center. CHI Health buys Omaha arena naming rights in $23.6 million deal". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  6. ^ "Men's Basketball To Play at CHI Health Center Omaha". Creighton Bluejays (Press release). June 21, 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  7. ^ "UNO Community Arena". University of Nebraska Omaha. Archived from the original on February 19, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  8. ^ "Mavericks, Baxter Share Spotlight in 4-2 Win" (Press release). Omaha Athletics. October 23, 2015. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  9. ^ "Temporary swimming pools construction". Myrtha Pools.
  10. ^ Lutz, Rachel (May 26, 2016). "Construction begins on U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials pool venue". NBC Sports.
  11. ^ Zaccardi, Nick (June 7, 2016). "Fire truck begins filling U.S. Olympic Trials pool". NBC Sports. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  12. ^ Ortegon, Karl (June 1, 2016). "U.S. Olympic Trials Pool in Omaha Begins Construction 3 Weeks Out". Swim Swam.
  13. ^ "U.S. Olympic Trials Will Return to Omaha in 2012". USA Swimming. June 25, 2009. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  14. ^ Harris, Beth (June 27, 2008). "Severe Storm in Omaha Damages Swimming Arena". USA Today. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  15. ^ Reuer, Wendy (December 15, 2015). "Pool naming rights given to longtime swim family". West Fargo Pioneer.
  16. ^ "2012 Trials Pool Finds Permanent Home at USA Swimming Club" (Press release). USA Swimming. September 15, 2011. Archived from the original on 2016-08-14. Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  17. ^ Reuer, Wendy (January 6, 2016). "Local swim group purchases Olympic Trials competition pool for West Fargo". The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.
  18. ^ Olson, Rochelle (June 18, 2021). "U.S. Olympic trials pool headed for proposed north Minneapolis aquatic center". Star Tribune. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  19. ^ "2016 Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions takes center stage beginning Sept. 15". Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  20. ^ Unleash the Beast returns to Omaha for first time in 12 years with fan-attended event May 1-2
  21. ^ "Arena Plans Take Next Step". KETV News. March 1, 2001. Archived from the original on March 3, 2001. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  22. ^ "Qwest Center To Expand". WOWT News. June 9, 2005. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  23. ^ Tysver, Robynn (November 9, 2009). "Qwest ready for face-lift". Omaha World-Herald. Archived from the original on November 11, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  24. ^ "Douglas County Fair,River City Roundup merge". High Plains Journal. Dodge City. January 1, 2002. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  25. ^ Gonzalez, Cindy (August 3, 2013). "For 10th straight year, Hilton Omaha gets AAA's four-diamond rating". Omaha World=Herald. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  26. ^ "Qwest buys naming rights for Omaha center". Denver Business Journal. August 13, 2003. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  27. ^ Robb, Jeffery (July 15, 2011). "Qwest Center gets new name". Omaha World-Herald. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  28. ^ a b Pivovar, Steven (March 8, 2014). "Doug McDermott Passes 3,000 to the Delight of the Home Crowd". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  29. ^ Pivovar, Steven (January 25, 2014). "Team Effort Lifts Bluejays in Annual Pink-Out Game". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  30. ^ Sherman, Mitch (December 31, 2016). "Cold-blooded Villanova shows Creighton it won't be rattled". ESPN. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  31. ^ Pivovar, Steven (February 16, 2014). "Notes: Bluejays Give a Good Encore". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  32. ^ a b Pivovar, Steven (February 23, 2014). "Misses at the Line Nearly Cost Jays Against Seton Hall". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  33. ^ Suellentrop, Paul (February 11, 2012). "WSU Blasts Creighton, Take Control of MVC Race". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  34. ^ Pivovar, Steven (March 2, 2013). "Creighton Tops WSU to Take Missouri Valley Title". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  35. ^ Pivovar, Steven (January 1, 2014). "Bluejays Show They Can Play a Little Defense, Too". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  36. ^ "Men's Basketball Falls to Illinois State Before 18,494". Creighton University Department of Athletics. February 9, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  37. ^ Semisch, Matthew (January 13, 2012). "Brown's Hat Trick Propels Minnesota-Duluth Over Nebraska-Omaha". U.S. College Hockey Online. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  38. ^ "2008 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship Match Notes". Pennsylvania State University Department of Athletics. December 20, 2008. Retrieved January 6, 2014.

External linksEdit

Preceded by Home of
Omaha Mavericks Men's Hockey

2003 – 2015
Succeeded by