The Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb., opened in September with a bang that’s still resonating. Highlighting the new facility’s first few weeks is a slate of 10 concerts in 80 days from a variety of top-tier talent.
Michael Bublé was the venue’s first concert on Sept. 13, followed by Jason Aldean with openers Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett on Sept. 19, the Eagles on Oct. 4, Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley on Oct. 10 and Bon Jovi on Oct. 20. Upcoming shows include P!nk on Nov. 9, Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Nov. 14, John Mayer on Nov. 22, Elton John on Nov. 23 and Jay Z on Dec. 1.
On top of that impressive lineup, the 16,000-capacity arena, which is owned by the city and managed by SMG, will host a full slate of sports and family events. “It’s a true multipurpose arena,” GM Tom Lorenz says, adding that the building recently held a food show and is equipped to do rodeo, monster truck and family events.
The Pinnacle’s prime tenants are the University of Nebraska’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. Both squads have loyal supporters: Lorenz says the men’s team has already sold out 15,200 season tickets, while the women’s team has more than doubled its season ticket sales since moving from former venue Devaney Center.
In a sense, the Pinnacle is replacing both that older venue, which now houses the university’s volleyball program, and Pershing Center, which opened in 1957 and has a capacity of 4,500. “While it’s an adequate building, it certainly can’t begin to approach the production, patron comforts or the capacity necessary to draw today’s top touring acts,” Lorenz says.
The $179 million, 470,000-square-foot arena features 36 12-person suites and 20 four-person loge boxes, and all have sold out. It also has 800 club seats, the bulk of which are being used by the university for its biggest donors.
Lincoln has a population of approximately 258,000, with about 30,000 college students in the area from the University of Nebraska, Concordia, Wesleyan and other schools. “So there’s a nice base to start with,” Lorenz says. “We draw largely from western Nebraska, Kearney and Grand Island, north to Columbus, south to Crete and Beatrice, and certainly we also draw somewhat from the east, surrounding communities heading toward Omaha. We’re in a good location.”
The new arena is the heart of Lincoln’s $344 million West Haymarket Redevelopment Project, which features new hotels, a convention center, retail and office space and condominiums. It’s in walking distance of the University of Nebraska and its football team’s 92,000-seat Memorial Stadium. Sitting on the site of a former rail yard, the Pinnacle Bank Arena is near what “was a great district already,” Lorenz says.