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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

Pinnacle Bank Arena – Nebraska Cornhuskers

Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

Pinnacle Bank Arena 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive Lincoln, NE 68508

Year Opened: 2013

Capacity: 15,500


The Cornhusker’s Crib

While the University of Nebraska has a reputation for athletic success in other sports the same is not true for the basketball program. The program got its start in 1897 and achievement, is 120 years of existence has only won two regular season titles (1916, 1950). The Cornhuskers have appeared in seven NCAA tournaments over the years. They are winless in the Tournament, leaving Nebraska as the only school in a power conference with this dubious achievement Cornhuskers have been more successful in the National Invitational Tournament, where they have appeared seventeen times. They have an overall record of 23-16 in the NIT and won the title in 1996.

In 2010 the University began a systemic upgrading of all its athletic facilities in conjunction with its move to the Big Ten Conference. As a result, the Cornhuskers moved into the newest basketball arena in the Big Ten in time for the beginning of the 2013 basketball season. The new facility, the Pinnacle Bank Arena, is a major upgrade from the Bob Devaney Sports Complex.

The Pinnacle Bank Arena truly represents a serious commitment to the future of Cornhusker basketball. The 15,391-seat arena features such modern touches as a concrete and metal panel façade, a spectacular open-air roof deck, and plenty of glass along its concourses to provide outstanding views of the State Capitol and the surrounding University of Nebraska campus. Also included in the facility are 36 executive suites, 20 Loge boxes, 832 club seats, two private lounges for boosters, more than, one, hundred concession points, and a full-service team store.

Food & Beverage 3

The number of concessions facilities at Pinnacle Bank Arena has been increased to more than 100 locations throughout the arena. This has greatly reduced the order and wait times, getting you back to your seat much quicker.

The concession stands come with names related to Nebraska or the greater Lincoln area. The generic stands go by the name of Haymarket Place, the area that surrounds the immediate area outside the arena. Other stands go by the names of Sandhills, Chimney Rock, Railway (Lincoln got its start as an important railroad hub), and the North End Deli.

If you want to sample a Nebraska-centric product, head to the State Fair Classics stand. You will want to order a Husker Combo, which includes, red dogs (a hot dog unique to Nebraska) and a drink.

Atmosphere 3

The court now features shaded portions which form a silhouette of the shape of the state of Nebraska. The court borders and the seats now feature the team colors prominently. A major enhancement is the center-hung, HD scoreboard, and video board. The electronics package also includes a ribbon board around the entire arena and a very nice graphics package appears behind the north end of the court.

The suites, club seats, and loge seats have proven to be very popular with the major boosters at the University of Nebraska. Attendance has grown dramatically since the arena opened in 2013.

Neighborhood 4

The Pinnacle Bank Arena is the centerpiece of a larger urban revitalization effort known as the Haymarket Historic District. The history of the district goes back to the many features within the Pinnacle Bank Arena improved when the town’s commercial center was focused on the square and the railroad depot. Today this area is being redeveloped into retail, dining, the 1870s, and entertainment establishments.

One of the most popular sites within the district is called Railyard and it features an outside patio for dining or uses as a concert space. It also is home to more than 20 shops and restaurants. Make sure you check out the three-dimensional brick mural of a train pulling into the station and a restored steam engine and an 1890 water tower fountain for a great selfie background.

Arena and Adjoining Haymarket Area, Photo by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey

The two other major sports facilities in Lincoln are just blocks from the arena. Memorial Stadium, home of the Huskers football program is to the right of the arena and Haymarket Park, home of the Lincoln Saltdogs minor league baseball team and the Nebraska baseball program is located 4 blocks to the left of the arena.

Fans 4

As in most arenas, the fanbase is typically broken down by alumni, students, and townspeople. For many of the alumni, basketball has been an afterthought compared to the storied football program. However, the new amenities have pulled in many alumni and once they are in the building they are hooked on the Cornhusker cause.

Lincoln is, uses, a college town, in addition to being a state capital. For Lincoln natives, any sports event involving a Cornhusker team is a major event, as there are no pro franchises in the state. Most families have either graduated from the university or work in some way at the school.

By far the fans at a Huskers basketball game are the students. They show up in all forms of red garb, wear corn head hats and do everything possible to distract the opposition. They are seated just under and behind the opponent’s goalpost at the court level (the Red Zone) to give their efforts the maximum effect. Assisting them in these efforts are the Cornhusker pep band and team mascot Herbie Husker.

Access 3

Getting to and from Pinnacle Bank Arena is not very difficult. Its’ proximity to the Nebraska campus allows most of the students to reach the arena on foot. Since the arena is not physically on campus, drivers do not have to deal with the many zones or parking areas found on campus. Parking is plentiful and relatively cheap, so you should not encounter any problems locating a space.

The Haymarket area surrounding the arena results in people coming directly from work, which also helps to thin out traffic as the game draws closer.

Once inside the arena, the concourses are wide and well-marked with directional signs. The aisles are much wider than were found in the Devaney Sports Complex and cup holders are found on every chair.

Return on Investment 4

A night out at a Cornhusker basketball game will not be a budget breaker. The school utilizes a two-tiered ticket pricing system. Big Ten Conference games are permit-only priced as follows: $25 for seats in the 100 level, $20 for seats in the 200 level, and $10 for seats at the 300 level. , games are offered at a discount, with Conference seats going for $20, 200 level seats going for $15100-level and 200-level seats going for $7. Concessions are very reasonably priced and the public parking near the arena runs from $3 - $10.

Extras 3

Since opening in the Fall of 2013, the Pinnacle Bank Arena has hosted concerts by many of, the entertainment’s top performers. The Eagles, Bon Jovi, Elton John, Cher, Florida Georgia Line, Neil Young, Kenny Chesney, Paul McCartney, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, Justin Beiber, and Keith Urban. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Billy Joel, KISS, Bruno Mars, Garth Brooks, and Pink. In addition, the arena has hosted ice shows, circuses, two NBA preseason games, and Monster Truck competitions.

The Pinnacle Bank Arena is an EnergyStar-certified facility. It recycles 75% of the waste generated at an event and utilizes building materials and, energy-generating committing environmentally sustainable systems. The Haymarket Historic District outside of the arena offers numerous options for pre-and post-game entertainment.

Final Thoughts

The University of Nebraska is committing to improving its basketball program to be more competitive in the Big 10, one of the toughest basketball conferences in the country. The Pinnacle Bank Arena is a major part of that commitment, as it should provide a tremendous boost to recruiting and fan support.

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