Wells Fargo Arena
Some people would be surprised to know that Des Moines has a new downtown coliseum. Wells Fargo Arena, opened in 2005, seats some 16,000 fans and sits adjacent to Des Moines’ old Municipal Auditorium, along with a small convention center that connects the two buildings.
Wells Fargo Arena, in the bowl where the fans sit, is very similar to Oklahoma City’s Ford Center. Not quite as large in terms of capacity, but just as nice. Now, the guts, the stuff you don’t see unless you’re involved in an event and have occasion to stroll the bowels of the building, you see that the Ford Center has much more space.
But still. It’s interesting that Des Moines, home to an AF2 arena team, an American Hockey League franchise (that is moving) and an NBA D-League team, built a new arena. Now Des Moines is hosting an NCAA women’s regional and wants more NCAA events.
Omaha hosted the NCAA men’s tournament this week at its new downtown arena. Tulsa is opening its new arena later this year. It’s obvious that even second-tier cities — cities that harbor no great major-league hopes — are committed to staying in the arena race.
Kansas City just opened the Sprint Center to rave reviews, San Antonio has the recently-constructed AT&T Center, Dallas has American Airlines Center and, well, you get the idea.
Oklahoma City opened the Ford Center in 2002 and now plans an upgrade and renovation starting very soon. Which is wise. Forget the Sonics or the NBA. Oklahoma City needs to keep its Ford Center near the top of the list of regional arenas, because the competition — among cities minor-league cities and major-league cities, with OKC square in the middle — is very fierce.
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