Special Feature: Shining in Sioux Falls

Since 1961, the Sioux Falls Arena has been the premiere site for indoor entertainment and sports events in Sioux Falls, S.D. But next fall that will change. The arena will continue to host a variety of events, but it will be replaced to a large extent by the Denny Sanford Premier Center, named for the businessman/philanthropist and founder of First Premier Bank and Premier Bankcard.

Slated to open in September 2014, the $115 million multipurpose arena is currently under construction adjacent to the existing Sioux Falls Convention Center and Arena, and at times will be used in conjunction with those facilities, giving the complex a combined total of more than 132,000 square feet. Owned by the city and operated by SMG, the new building will offer nearly double the concert seating capacity of the old arena -- 11,500-12,000, compared with 6,000-6,500 for an in-stage show at the existing facility. (The venue will also include three clubs -- one private that serves club seat holders and two others open to the public.)

"The vast majority of what we are currently doing will move over [to the new facility] and we're working with other groups to fill up the smaller arena space with other events that are more appropriate to a venue of that size," says Terry Torkildson, GM of the Denny Sanford Premier Center, the Sioux Falls Arena and the Orpheum Theatre.

SMG senior VP of stadiums and arenas Joe Romano adds, "The arena certainly serves as a multipurpose facility, and the new arena will as well. It was specifically designed to do virtually anything that fits in an arena, from rodeos and 'Disney on Ice' to circuses, concerts and monster trucks."

Such resident sporting events as state wrestling tournaments and basketball tournaments -- including the men's and women's NCAA Division 1 Summit League Championships -- will shift to the new facility. On the live music front, the Sioux Falls Arena has hosted such diverse talent as Carrie Underwood, Cher and Elton John.

"The market has responded well to just about every genre you can think of," Romano says. "Hard rock, metal, family shows, adult contemporary -- it really hasn't segmented itself in any particular niche. That's one of the reasons why it's been successful and the community embarked on this adventure to build this new building, because it's had such a diverse base of support."

Indeed, the community's support behind the building was evident when it was on the ballot in 2011, when a record 40,000 citizens turned out to vote -- with some 23,284 voting in favor of the venue.

As further evidence of that support, 20 of the 22 luxury suites at the new arena have already been sold, with the two others available for sale on an event-by-event basis. The arena will also have 16 loge boxes available, each expandable in capacity from four to eight.