CenturyLink Center Omaha
The CenturyLink 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 1,100,000-square-foot (102,000 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.
|CenturyLink Center Omaha|
West façade c. 2012
Omaha Arena and Convention Center (planning/construction)|
Qwest Center Omaha
|Alternative names||CenturyLink Center Omaha Convention Center and Arena|
455 North 10th Street|
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
|Groundbreaking||March 1, 2001|
|Opened||September 20, 2003|
|Inaugurated||September 12, 2003|
($387 million in 2017 dollars)
|Owner||City of Omaha|
& Convention Authority
|Size||1,118,300 square feet (103,890 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Architecture firm||DLR Group|
|Structural engineer||Thornton-Tomasetti Group|
|Services engineer||M–E Engineers, Inc.|
|Main contractor||Kiewit Construction Co.|
18,975 (Concert Center-stage)
2,693 (Peter Kiewit Grand Ballroom)
The complex opened fifteen years ago in 2003 as Qwest Center Omaha, and adopted its current name on July 15, 2011, as part of a $22 billion buyout of Qwest by CenturyLink (formerly CenturyTel). In July 2018, CHI Health bought the naming rights to the arena under a 20-year agreement worth $23.6 million. The arena will be renamed CHI Health Center Omaha beginning September 1, 2018.
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 for the 2015–16 season.
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 arena has hosted games in the NCAA Men's Division I 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 also hosted the 2010 NCAA Men's Division I Wrestling Championships, and was home to the WWE Judgment Day 2008 pay-per-view, as well as other events from WWE.
Summer Olympics Swimming TrialsEdit
The center hosted the nationally televised USA Swimming Summer Olympics trials in 2008, 2012 and 2016. The center does not have permanent swimming facilities and a team of 200 workers with oversight by Myrtha Pools constructed them in two weeks. (which specializes in the construction and dismantling of large scale temporary pools). The Omaha Fire Department pumped in two million gallons of water from hydrants around the center.
The 2008 event averaged more than 12,000 spectators each night.
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.
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, the 2012 pool going to Charles River Aquatics in Boston, Massachusetts and 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).
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. 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. 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.
|River City Rodeo and Stock Show||KASB||2003–present|
|Nebraska State Wrestling Tournament||NSAA||2007–present|
|United States Olympic Trials||USA-S||2008–present|
|NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament||NCAA||2008, 2012, 2016, 2018|
|NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship||2008|
|NCAA Men's Division I Wrestling Championships||2010|
- CenturyLink 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.
- CenturyLink 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.
- 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.
Records and milestonesEdit
Top 10 Largest Home Crowds at CenturyLink Center Omaha, Creighton History
|1||18,868||Providence||W 88–73||March 8, 2014|
|2||18,859||Georgetown||W 76–63||January 25, 2014|
|3||18,831||Villanova||L 70–80||December 31, 2016|
|4||18,797||Villanova||W 101–80||February 16, 2014|
|5||18,742||Seton Hall||W 72–71||February 23, 2014|
|6||18,735||Wichita State||L 68–89||February 11, 2012|
|7||18,613||Wichita State||W 91–79||March 2, 2013|
|8||18,525||Marquette||W 67–49||December 31, 2013|
|9||18,518||Georgetown||W 85–77||January 27, 2018|
|10||18,495||Marquette||L 86–90||February 17, 2018|
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.
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.
The CenturyLink Center holds several NCAA attendance records, particularly in college volleyball. Centurylink Center owns the top three NCAA tournament attendance records. The highest attendance to ever watch a volleyball match in the United States occurred on December 19, 2015 when 17,561 fans watched the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship game of Texas vs Nebraska. The 2nd highest attendance occurred on December 17, 2015 when 17,551 witnessed the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball semifinal game between Kansas and Nebraska. The 3rd highest attendance in NCAA tournament history occurred when 17,340 fans watched the 2008 NCAA National Semifinal match between Penn State and Nebraska.
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- Harris, Beth (June 27, 2008). "Severe Storm in Omaha Damages Swimming Arena". USA Today. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
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- "2012 Trials Pool Finds Permanent Home at USA Swimming Club" (Press release). USA Swimming. September 15, 2011.
- Reuer, Wendy (January 6, 2016). "Local swim group purchases Olympic Trials competition pool for West Fargo". The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.
- "Arena Plans Take Next Step". KETV News. March 1, 2001. Archived from the original on March 3, 2001. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
- "Qwest Center To Expand". WOWT News. June 9, 2005. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
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- "Qwest buys naming rights for Omaha center". Denver Business Journal. August 13, 2003. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
- 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.
- Pivovar, Steven (March 8, 2014). "Doug McDermott Passes 3,000 to the Delight of the Home Crowd". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- Pivovar, Steven (January 25, 2014). "Team Effort Lifts Bluejays in Annual Pink-Out Game". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- Sherman, Mitch (December 31, 2016). "Cold-blooded Villanova shows Creighton it won't be rattled". ESPN. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
- Pivovar, Steven (February 16, 2014). "Notes: Bluejays Give a Good Encore". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- Pivovar, Steven (February 23, 2014). "Misses at the Line Nearly Cost Jays Against Seton Hall". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- Suellentrop, Paul (February 11, 2012). "WSU Blasts Creighton, Take Control of MVC Race". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
- Pivovar, Steven (March 2, 2013). "Creighton Tops WSU to Take Missouri Valley Title". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- Pivovar, Steven (January 1, 2014). "Bluejays Show They Can Play a Little Defense, Too". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- "Men's Basketball Falls to Illinois State Before 18,494". Creighton University Department of Athletics. February 9, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- Olson, Eric (December 29, 2012). "McDermott's 29 Keys No. 16 Creighton in 87-70 Win". KETV News. Omaha. Associated Press. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- Semisch, Matthew (January 13, 2012). "Brown's Hat Trick Propels Minnesota-Duluth Over Nebraska-Omaha". U.S. College Hockey Online. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- "2008 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship Match Notes". Pennsylvania State University Department of Athletics. December 20, 2008. Retrieved January 6, 2014.