LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Crowds lined up to see Nebraska Men's Basketball Program take the floor on Friday. But just over six years ago, the Pinnacle Bank Arena wasn't even open in the West Haymarket. The $180 million building used to be a railroad storage lot, but now its impact is being seen by those that live and work in Lincoln.
(Source: Pinnacle Bank Arena)
Disney on Ice, Monster Jam, Elton John, they've all come to Lincoln for Pinnacle Bank Arena.
"The expectation was that this would anchor development here in the Railyard and it's done that," said Tom Lorenz, general manager at Pinnacle Bank Arena. "What we really saw was the arena spawn over $100 million worth of private development across the street in the Railyard area."
Not only does Pinnacle Bank Arena have huge acts wanting to come back like Elton John, the Zac Brown Band and Cher, who just announced return shows, but it also draws millions of dollars into the Lincoln economy.
"It really puts us on the map, people want to be here," said Jeff Maul, executive director at Lincoln Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
A 2011 study projected the arena would have an economic impact of $260 million dollars a year. While it's hard to nail down the exact impact the arena and related development have had, those who spoke with 10/11 said it's clearly been significant.
"People come into the community, they stay the night, they pick up a cup of coffee in the morning, they fill up for gas going out of the community," said Maul. "Over the years that adds up to millions of dollars in economic impact."
Since its opening in September of 2013, the arena has made $80 million in ticket sales alone. On average 750,000 people pass through the doors per year.
"We had high expectations for the kind of events we'd be able to draw at Pinnacle Arena," Lorenz said. "I think we've fulfilled those expectations, and gone beyond those expectations."
Maul said the Lincoln of today is due in part to voting yes to the Arena. He said the Lincoln of tomorrow will only benefit from enhancing the West Haymarket District.