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Wells Fargo Arena

Des Moines, IA

Home of the Iowa Energy

3.7

3.6

Wells Fargo Arena (map it)
730 3rd St
Des Moines, IA 50309


Iowa Energy website

Wells Fargo Arena website

Year Opened: 2005

Capacity: 16,110

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Iowa Energy at the Wells Fargo Arena

Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa is one of three complexes (along with Hy-Vee Hall and Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center) that comprise the Iowa Events Center.

Located on the banks of the Des Moines River, Wells Fargo Arena opened in 2005, replacing Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium as the primary venue for sporting events and concerts in Des Moines. Since 2007, the arena is home to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Developmental League. The Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League began play in the arena during the 2008 season and the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League began play in the arena in 2013. The Iowa Chops of the American Hockey League also played in the arena from 2005-2009. In 2016 the arena will host first and second round games for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Prior to the 2015-2016 season, the arena spent $1.6 million on a brand new video board. The HD board (sitting above center court) has curved screens for easier viewing by fans all over the arena.

3.7

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

Wells Fargo Arena offers food and drinks in the traditional open concourse style. Traditional stadium fare is available with very little wait time. Burgers, brats, hot dogs of various types along with popcorn and other snacks are your main options with entrees running $5-$10 and snacks $3-$5.

Coke products are served throughout the arena ($3.50-$6 depending on size). Your best bet is the souvenir $6 cup which has unlimited refills for $2. Vendors sell Budweiser, Bud Light, and Miller Lite in the stands. In the concourse, you can get microbrews such as Fat Tire. Beer prices range from $6-$9 depending on your choice. There are also two full-service bars that offer a great view of the game and a wide variety of cocktails.

Atmosphere    3

In addition to traditional seating, there are plenty of luxury suites overlooking the floor. Seats are padded and comfortable with cup holders on the back of all the seats. It is easy to find the score as it is available on all four sides above the lower seating bowl as well as above the court on the brand new video board. The video board above the court also shows replays and stats throughout the game.

Surge, the mascot, spends the majority of the time walking through the crowd but does appear on court to throw a few mini basketballs into the crowd. The High Voltage dancers perform throughout the game and throw various merchandise to the fans. The arena floor is much bigger than your typical basketball court. As such, there is a big gap between the floor and the seating, especially on the baselines. The view from the baseline seats are very good but with the large gap, it can be a little distracting.

Neighborhood    5

Located in downtown Des Moines, Wells Fargo Arena is near many great attractions and plenty of places to eat and drink. At night, all the bridges in the area light up creating an awesome scene with the lights reflecting off the water. Across the river stands the Iowa Capitol Building which is an amazing building inside and out. In addition, the Iowa History Museum and Science Center of Iowa are a few blocks away.

There is no shortage of great places to grab a drink or have a meal before or after the game. Directly across the street from the arena is Buzzard Billy's. Offering up great Cajun food and plenty of drinks, Buzzard Billy's is a popular post-game stop. The catfish is highly recommended.

Just across the Grand Ave bridge on the corner of 4th St. is Zombie Burger. This ghoul-themed eatery has been getting national attention lately for its unique burger combinations. The food is great and they offer a big line of micro brews to suit any taste.

No trip to Des Moines would be complete without a trip to the El Bait Shop. El Bait Shop has nothing to do with fishing. What is does have is 185 different beers on tap along with some great bar food. This is one of Des Moines more popular hangouts and well worth a visit.

Plenty of lodging is available downtown. Directly across the street from the arena is a Quality Inn. Embassy Suites and Marriott are also options (for a few more dollars) and are just blocks away.

Fans    3

There are a group of diehards that follow the team very closely and are into the game. They make noise when appropriate, get on the other team, and know the game well. Others appear to be there more for the social aspect of attending a game, not following the game very closely. Overall, the fans are about what you would expect for a NBA D-League game.

Access    5

Wells Fargo Arena is located downtown and sits right off of I-235 making it very easy to access. Parking is available across the street for $7. You can also park at a parking structure on Fifth and Keo for $5 and take the Skywalk (enclosed area that goes building to building that is very beneficial in the winter). The concourse is very wide and there are no problems getting around. The entire building is handicap accessible. There are plenty of restrooms that are very clean and wait times for concessions are generally very short.

Return on Investment    4

Ticket prices range from $8 behind the baselines to $50 for floor seats, depending on your choice of seating. There aren't any bad seats as there are no restricted views and even if you are sitting on one of the baselines, it is still very easy to see the game and getting refreshments or using the restroom is convenient. With average concession prices and $5-$7 parking, you can have a fun night at the game without breaking the bank.

Extras    3

The arena does a good job of celebrating the accomplishments of its tenants. Banners adorn the ceiling, including the D-League championship banner that the Energy won in 2011.

Game day staff is very polite and willing to help you with whatever you need. Their pleasant attitudes enhance the overall experience.

Prior to the 2014-2015 season, the Energy signed a single affiliation deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. The team's color scheme changed to make it similar to the Grizzlies and the Energy do a great job of celebrating and promoting that relationship with Memphis.

Final Thoughts

Des Moines is a great town and Wells Fargo is a nice arena. A pleasant staff and quality basketball round out what is an enjoyable game day experience. If you find yourself in Des Moines, be sure to take in an Energy game.

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Crowd Reviews

Energy in Development

Total Score: 3.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 2
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 2

Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa is one of three complexes (along with Hy-Vee Hall and Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center) that comprise the Iowa Events Center.

Located on the banks of the Des Moines River, Wells Fargo Arena opened in 2005 and has an overall capacity of 16,980. Since 2007, the arena is home to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Developmental League. The Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League began play in the arena during the 2008 season. The Iowa Chops of the American Hockey League also played in the arena from 2005-2009.

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Local Food & Drink

Buzzard Billy’s  (map it!)

615 3rd St

Des Moines, IA 50309

(515) 244-2899

http://www.buzzardbillys.com/des-moines/

Zombie Burger  (map it!)

300 E Grand Ave

Des Moines, IA 50309

(515) 244-9292

http://zombieburgerdm.com/

El Bait Shop  (map it!)

200 SW 2nd St

Des Moines, IA 50309

(515) 284-1970

http://elbaitshop.com/

Local Entertainment

Iowa History Museum  (map it!)

600 E Locust St

Des Moines, IA 50319

(515) 281-5111

http://www.iowahistory.org/museum/

Science Center of Iowa  (map it!)

401 W Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy

Des Moines, IA 50309

(515) 274-6868

http://www.sciowa.org/

Lodging

Quality Inn  (map it!)

929 3rd St

Des Moines, IA 50309

(515) 282-5251

https://www.choicehotels.com/iowa/des-moines/quality-inn-hotels/ia103?source=gglocalai

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