CenturyLink Center Omaha

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CenturyLink Center Omaha
CenturyLink Center Omaha.jpg
Exterior of venue, c. 2012
Former names Omaha Arena and Convention Center (planning/construction)
Qwest Center Omaha (2003-11)
Alternative names CenturyLink Center Omaha Convention Center and Arena
General information
Location Downtown Omaha
Address 455 N 10th St
Omaha, NE 68102-1151
Named for CenturyLink, Inc.
Groundbreaking March 1, 2001 (2001-03-01)
Opened September 20, 2003 (2003-09-20)
Inaugurated September 12, 2003 (2003-09-12)
Cost $290 million
Owner City of Omaha
Landlord Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority
Technical details
Size 1,118,300 square feet (103,890 m2)
Design and construction
Architecture firm DLR Group
Structural engineer Thornton-Tomasetti Group
Services engineer M–E Engineers, Inc.
Main contractor Kiewit Construction Co.
Other information
Seating capacity 18,320 (CenturyLink Center Arena)
16,783 (Exhibit Hall)
2,693 (Peter Kiewit Grand Ballroom)
987 (Junior Ballroom)
Parking 4,500 spaces

The CenturyLink Center Omaha is an entertainment complex consisting of an arena and convention center in the North Downtown neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska. The 1.1 million ft² facility has an 18,975-seat arena, a 194,000-ft² exhibition hall and 62,000 ft² of meeting space.

The complex opened in 2003 as Qwest Center Omaha. It adopted its current name on July 15, 2011 as part of a $22 billion buyout of Qwest by CenturyLink (formerly CenturyTel).[1] All signage, inside and outside, was changed to conform to the new arena name; lighting was also switched (from blue to green). The transition was expected to be completed by August 1, 2011; the outside name changes were finally completed on December 20, 2011.

The arena hosts various basketball games, hockey games, professional wrestling events and concerts. Another notable event held there is the annual shareholders' meeting of Omaha-based conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, usually held on the first Saturday of the month of May.

The arena's primary tenant is the Creighton University men's basketball team. Through the 2014–15 NCAA ice hockey season, the Omaha Mavericks men's team, representing the University of Nebraska Omaha, was also a primary tenant, but the Mavericks moved to the new Baxter Arena for the 2015–16 season.[2][3]


In 2000, Omaha voters approved a $216 million bond issue to build a new convention center and arena; the remainder of the $290 million project was provided by private organizations and individuals. The facility design was led by architectural firm DLR Group. Naming rights to the arena were purchased by Qwest.

Qwest Center Omaha opened in September 2003 with an initial seating capacity of 17,000 for concerts, 15,500 for basketball, and 14,700 for hockey. In 2006, a $5.7-million expansion of the arena increased capacity by approximately 1,500 seats.

The Qwest Center displaced the 1954 Omaha Civic Auditorium as the premier indoor arena in the city. The venerable Ak-Sar-Ben Coliseum was closed in 2002 and was demolished in 2005.

The arena hosted games in the first and second rounds of the 2008 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, the 2010 NCAA Men's Division I Wrestling Championships, and the 2012 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. It was also home to the WWE Judgment Day 2008 pay-per-view, as well as other events from WWE.

The 2008 USA Swimming Summer Olympic Trials were hosted over eight days at the Qwest Center and on June 29, 2009 it was announced the trials would return again in 2012. The 2008 event averaged more than 12,000 spectators each night.[4]

A portion of the roof, "The Hat", was damaged by a storm on June 27, 2008. There was no structural damage, but the damage caused water to pour into parts of the Qwest Center, flowed down two sets of arena steps and onto the deck of the competition pool for the USA Swimming Summer Olympic Trials. The schedule for the trials went on as planned.[5]


In 2001, construction began on the new convention center and arena, known as the "Omaha Arena and Convention Center". Architechal firm DLR Group spearheaded the design, while The Thornton-Tomasetti Group served as structual engineer. M–E Engineers, Inc was the services engineer and local company, Kiewit Corporation, lead general construction. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on March 1, 2001.[6] The venue was completed in August 2003, with an official opening on September 24, 2003.

In 2006, the arena went under a minimal expansion to increase seating. The project, funded by the MECA, would add an additional 1,472 seats to the upper bowl.[7] The plan also included adding restroom facilites, concession stands, updating aethesitcs and mechanical systems and emergeny exits. The cost of the project was $6 million dollars. Construction began in May and was completed September 8, 2006.

In 2009, the center saw another renovation, this time to the entire building. The $6 million dollar project included new carpet, wallpaper, reupholdter arena seating and new scoreboard.[8]


Creighton Bluejays NCAA 2003-present
River City Rodeo and Stock Show KASB 2003-present
UNO Mavericks NCHC 2003-15
Nebraska State Wrestling Tournament NSAA 2007-present
United States Olympic Trials USA-S 2008-present
NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament NCAA 2008, 2012
NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship 2008
NCAA Men's Division I Wrestling Championships 2010
CenturyLink Omaha Convention Center

The convention center has placed Omaha on the convention map since opening in 2003. The center features three exhibit halls, four ballrooms and over 15 meeting rooms.

  • Exhibit Hall: The main exhibition room. It can be broken down into three separate rooms (Halls A-C) depending on configuration. The full venue can house over 1,000 or a conference seating more than 16,000 guests.
  • Peter Kiewit Grand Ballroom: Named after the founder of the Kiewit Corporation, this is the biggest ballroom in the facility. Based on configuration, it can be converted into 3 small ballrooms (Ballroom A-C) or 2 large rooms (North and South). The room is primarily used for graduation ceremonies, charity galas and business conferences.
  • Junior Ballroom: This intimate space was designed for private events. It typically hosts weddings, receptions, banquets and cocktail parties. Depending on setup, the room can house nearly 1,000 guests.
CenturyLink Center Arena

The arena is the busiest venue of the complex. Built in 2001, the arena was meant to replace the aging Omaha Civic Auditorium and demolished Ak-Sar-Ben Coliseum. It is the largest arena in the state, seating over 18,000. It contans 32 luxury suites and over a thousand club seats. The arena hosts shows of all genres, including: concerts, family shows, sports, rodeos and circuses. The arena opened September 12, 2003 with a private concert by Grand Funk Railroad. The first official event was the "River City Roundup Fair and Festival", held at both facilities.[10]

Hilton Omaha

This AAA four-diamond hotel is connected to the convention center via skywalk. The hotel features 600 rooms personalized for the commercial traveler. The hotel also features a 15 meeting rooms and two ballrooms with room for both small and large events. The on-site restaurant, "The Liberty Tavern", offers Michelin star eats made with home-cooked techniques. This $71 million dollar hotel opened April 2004.

  • Grand Central Ballroom: The main ballroom can house 1,100 guest. Used for business conferences, presentations, proms, charity events and receptions.
  • Blackstone Ballroom: Can house up to 750 guests. Used for cocktail receptions, banquets and meetings.


  • Qwest Center Omaha (September 20, 2003-July 14, 2011)[11]
  • CenturyLink Omaha Center (July 15, 2011-present)[12]

Records and milestones

Top 10 Largest Home Crowds at CenturyLink Center Omaha, Creighton History

Rank Attendance Opponent Result Date
1 18,868[13] Providence W 88–73 March 8, 2014
2 18,859[14] Georgetown W 76–63 January 25, 2014
3 18,797[15] Villanova W 101–80 February 16, 2014
4 18,742[16] Seton Hall W 72–71 February 23, 2014
5 18,735[17] Wichita State L 68–89 February 11, 2012
6 18,613[18] Wichita State W 91–79 March 2, 2013
7 18,525[19] Marquette W 67–49 December 31, 2013
8 18,494[20] Illinois State L 72–75 February 9, 2013
9 18,458[21] Evansville W 87–70 December 29, 2012
10 18,436[22] Bradley W 73–59 January 28, 2012

On the evening of March 8, 2014, the largest crowd to attend a Creighton University basketball game occurred when 18,868 fans witnessed the Creighton men's team defeat Providence on Doug McDermott's career-high senior night performance of 45 points.[13]

On January 13, 2012, the largest crowd to ever watch a hockey game in Nebraska occurred when 16,138 fans attended the game between the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Minnesota-Duluth.[23]

The CenturyLink Center holds several NCAA attendance records, particularly in college volleyball. Centurylink Center owns the top three NCAA tournament attendance records. The highest attendance to ever watch a volleyball match in the United States occurred on December 19, 2015 when 17,561 fans watched the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship game of Texas vs Nebraska. The 2nd highest attendance occurred on December 17, 2015 when 17,551 witnessed the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball semifinal game between Kansas and Nebraska. The 3rd highest attendance in NCAA tournament history occurred when 17,340 fans watched the 2008 NCAA National Semifinal match between Penn State and Nebraska. [24]


White Out vs Wichita State
White Out
White Out vs Southern Illinois
US Olympic Swimming Trials June, 2008
New Scoreboard & Logo, 2013
Qwest Center Omaha; view from the northwest corner.
Qwest Center Omaha; main entrance
Qwest Center Omaha; side view

See also


  1. Boettcher, Ross (March 24, 2011). "New Name for Qwest Center". Omaha World-Herald. Archived from the original on December 5, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2012. 
  2. "UNO Community Arena". University of Nebraska Omaha. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  3. "Mavericks, Baxter Share Spotlight in 4-2 Win" (Press release). Omaha Athletics. October 23, 2015. Retrieved October 29, 2015. 
  4. "U.S. Olympic Trials Will Return to Omaha in 2012". USA Swimming. June 25, 2009. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  5. Harris, Beth (June 27, 2008). "Severe Storm in Omaha Damages Swimming Arena". USA Today. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  6. "Arena Plans Take Next Step". KETV. Hearst Television. March 1, 2001. Archived from the original on March 3, 2001. Retrieved January 1, 2016. 
  7. "Qwest Center To Expand". WOWT. Gray Television. June 9, 2005. Retrieved January 1, 2016. 
  8. Tysver, Robynn (November 9, 2009). "Qwest ready for face-lift". Omaha World-Herald. Berkshire Hathaway. Archived from the original on November 11, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2016. 
  9. "City finishes Qwest for new arena". Sports Business Journal. Omaha, Nebraska: Advance Publications. November 24, 2003. Retrieved January 1, 2016. 
  10. "Douglas County Fair,River City Roundup merge". High Plains Journal. January 1, 2002. Retrieved January 1, 2016. 
  11. "Qwest buys naming rights for Omaha center". Denver Business Journal. Advance Publications. August 13, 2003. Retrieved January 1, 2016. 
  12. Robb, Jeffery (July 15, 2011). "Qwest Center gets new name". Omaha World-Herald. Berkshire Hathaway. Archived from the original on December 6, 2013. Retrieved January 1, 2016. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Pivovar, Steven (March 8, 2014). "Doug McDermott Passes 3,000 to the Delight of the Home Crowd". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  14. Pivovar, Steven (January 25, 2014). "Team Effort Lifts Bluejays in Annual Pink-Out Game". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  15. Pivovar, Steven (February 16, 2014). "Notes: Bluejays Give a Good Encore". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  16. Pivovar, Steven (February 23, 2014). "Misses at the Line Nearly Cost Jays Against Seton Hall". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  17. Suellentrop, Paul (February 11, 2012). "WSU Blasts Creighton, Take Control of MVC Race". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved February 12, 2012. 
  18. Pivovar, Steven (March 2, 2013). "Creighton Tops WSU to Take Missouri Valley Title". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  19. Pivovar, Steven (January 1, 2014). "Bluejays Show They Can Play a Little Defense, Too". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  20. "Men's Basketball Falls to Illinois State Before 18,494". Creighton University Department of Athletics. February 9, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  21. Olson, Eric (December 29, 2012). "McDermott's 29 Keys No. 16 Creighton in 87-70 Win". KETV. Omaha. Associated Press. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  22. Olson, Eric (January 29, 2012). "Struggling Bradley Loses 73–59 to No. 15 Creighton". The Boston Globe. Associated Press. Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  23. Semisch, Matthew (January 13, 2012). "Brown’s Hat Trick Propels Minnesota-Duluth Over Nebraska-Omaha". U.S. College Hockey Online. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  24. "2008 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship Match Notes". Pennsylvania State University Department of Athletics. December 20, 2008. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 

External links

Preceded by
Omaha Civic Auditorium
Home of
Omaha Mavericks Men's Hockey

2003 – 2015
Succeeded by
Baxter Arena