U.S. Bank Arena is an indoor arena located in downtown Cincinnati, along the banks of the Ohio River, next to the Great American Ball Park. It was completed in September 1975 and named Riverfront Coliseum because of its placement next to Riverfront Stadium. The arena seats 17,556 people and is the largest indoor arena in the Greater Cincinnati region with 346,100 square feet (32,150 m2) of space. The arena underwent a $14 million renovation project in 1997. The current main tenant is the Cincinnati Cyclones, of the ECHL.
The arena was the home of the Cincinnati Stingers, of the World Hockey Association, from 1975 to 1979. Since then, the arena has hosted two minor league hockey teams and various concerts, political rallies, tennis tournaments, figure skating, professional wrestling, a Billy Graham Crusade and other events. U.S. Bank Arena served as a host for the Midwest Regional of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament with Miami University as the host school. The facility's longest-serving tenant was the Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball program of the University of Cincinnati, who used the arena from its completion until 1987, when the team moved to Cincinnati Gardens and eventually to the on-campus Fifth Third Arena.
Until the opening of Fifth Third Arena at the University of Cincinnati and BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University, commencement ceremonies for these schools were held at U.S. Bank Arena. On occasion, there have been local pushes for the attraction of another major sports franchise to occupy the arena, possibly a National Basketball Association (NBA) or National Hockey League (NHL) franchise. The Cincinnati Royals moved to Kansas City - Omaha in 1972, and were the last NBA team to call Cincinnati home. The NBA Cleveland Cavaliers have played preseason games at U.S. Bank Arena.
On December 3, 1979, 11 teenagers and young adults were killed by compressive asphyxia and 26 other people were injured in a rush for seating at the opening of a sold-out rock concert by the English rock band The Who. On that evening, there were a total of 18,348 ticketed fans attending, which included 14,770 in general admission seats. The concert was using festival seating, where seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. When the waiting fans outside the Coliseum heard the band performing a late sound check, they thought that the concert was beginning and tried to rush into the still-closed doors. Some at the front of the crowd were either trampled or squeezed to death standing up as those pushing from behind were unaware that the doors were still closed. Only a few doors were in operation that night, and there are reports that management did not open more doors due to union restrictions and the concern of people gate-crashing the ticket turnstiles.
As a result, the remaining concerts of 1979, Blue Öyster Cult on December 14 and Aerosmith on December 21, were canceled and concert venues across North America switched to reserved seating or changed their rules about festival seating. Cincinnati immediately outlawed festival seating at concerts. After establishment of a crowd control task force by Cincinnati mayor Ken Blackwell, the first concert held at the facility after the tragedy was ZZ Top with the Rockets on March 21, 1980, on ZZ Top's Expect No Quarter Tour.
On August 4, 2004, the Cincinnati City Council unanimously overturned the ban because it placed the city at a disadvantage for booking concerts. Many music acts prefer festival seating because it can allow the most enthusiastic fans to get near the stage and generate excitement for the rest of the crowd. The city had previously made a one-time exception to the ban, allowing festival seating for a Bruce Springsteen concert on November 12, 2002. Cincinnati was, for a time, the only city in the United States to outlaw festival seating altogether.
The first entertainment event (opening night) to be staged at the facility was a rock concert by The Allman Brothers Band and special guest Muddy Waters on the Win, Lose Or Draw Tour on September 9, 1975, attended by 16,721 persons.
On June 25, 1977, Elvis Presley gave his second-to-last concert in the Riverfront Coliseum; 17,140 persons attended the concert.
In 1987, the facility hosted the World Figure Skating Championships.
The arena was the site of the Regional of the 1979 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and 1987 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, as well as a first and second round site for the 1988 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and the 1992 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. The arena was also host to the 1997 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship Final Four, as well as the 1996 men's Division I hockey Frozen Four, which was won by Michigan. In 2017, the site will host the NCAA Division 1 Ice Hockey Midwest Regional, where Denver University, Union, Penn State, Michigan Tech, will play for a spot in the 2017 Frozen Four.
The venue hosted part of the 1981 and all of the 1992 Horizon League men's basketball conference tournament as well as the 1978 and 1983 Metro Conference and the 2002 and 2004 Conference USA men's basketball tournaments; the Atlantic 10 Conference also held its tourney there in 2005 and did so again in 2006.
UFC 77 was held at the arena on October 20, 2007, and was headlined by local fighter Rich Franklin. The UFC returned to the arena for the second time on May 10, 2014, with UFC Fight Night: Brown vs. Silva. The Strikeforce World Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov event was held at the arena on September 10, 2011. The arena hosted the opening and closing ceremonies to the 2012 World Choir Games that were held in Cincinnati.
The arena was renovated in 1997 as part of the facility's purchase that year by a group headed by Doug Kirchhofer, owner of the Cincinnati Cyclones. The renovation cost $14 million and included new seating, improved concourses and restrooms, expanded concession areas, and a new center-hanging video board. As part of the renovation, the building was renamed "The Crown" and the Cyclones, who then played in the International Hockey League, moved from the Cincinnati Gardens.
A $200 million renovation was proposed in 2015 by arena owners Nederlander Entertainment and AEG Facilities. The renovations would include both upgrades to the seating and expansion to increase capacity to 18,500 seats, additional luxury suites and other premium seating, a new exterior facade, new video boards, and a renovation of the exterior concourse. The push for extensive renovations and upgrades came in 2014 after the city ran an unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Republican National Convention and the state of U.S. Bank Arena was cited as the deciding factor in the bid's failure.
In 2017, Nederlander Entertainment announced its intention to tear down and replace the arena if a deal could be made with taxpayers, citing inadequate space and dated '70s aesthetics.
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