Wells Fargo Arena Opens

After two-and-a-half years and some financial hurdles, the Iowa Event Center’s 17,000-seat Wells Fargo Arena opened July 12th to a packed house and rave reviews.

Arena assistant GM Holly Kjeldgaard said the facility’s open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony was even more than officials could have hoped for.

“I knew there would be a large turnout but we were overwhelmed with the amount of people that showed up,” Kjeldgaard told Pollstar. “That can give us a view of what to expect in the months and years to come.

“I think it’s overdue. We probably should have had [an arena like this] a while ago, so I think everybody is excited the reality is finally here. It’s a really beautiful venue.”

The arena’s first paid event, Tony Hawk’s “Boom Boom Huck Jam,” was set for July 14th. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers is the venue’s first concert July 18th and Paul McCartney‘s October 27th show is already sold out.

“A lot more and different shows will come that haven’t, or maybe couldn’t, in the past,” Kjeldgaard said. “It’s a win-win situation for everybody.”

The $217 million Iowa Events Center also houses Hy-Vee Hall, a renovated Veterans Memorial Auditorium and the Polk County Convention complex.

The Global Spectrum-managed facility is home to the American Hockey League’s Iowa Stars.

The Events Center is predicted to bring in 600,000 people annually for concerts, sporting events, trade shows, conventions and other events.

Tina Amendola