U.S. Cellular Center (Asheville, North Carolina)

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U.S. Cellular Center
Location 87 Haywood St, Asheville, North Carolina 28801
Owner Asheville City
Operator The City of Asheville
Capacity U.S. Cellular Center 7,200, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium with seating for 2,431,
Opened 1974
Tenants
Southern Conference

U.S. Cellular Center (known as Asheville Civic Center until November 2011) is a 7,654-seat multi-purpose arena, in Asheville, North Carolina, United States. It was built in 1974.

History[edit]

It was home to the Asheville Altitude basketball team in the NBDL, before the franchise moved to Tulsa in 2005 and the United Hockey League's Asheville Smoke and also the SPHL's Asheville Aces.

The venue also hosted WCW SuperBrawl 1993, WCW Monday Nitro where the famed nWo wreaked havoc over the Ric Flair-led Four Horsemen and Fall Brawl 1995 as well as the 1999 and 2000 Big South Conference men's basketball tournament and 1984-1995 Southern Conference men's basketball tournament.[citation needed] The condition of the facility helped lead to the Southern Conference's departure.[1]

Commencement exercises for the University of North Carolina at Asheville were last held in the venue in 1999.

The arena played host to the politically motivated Vote for Change Tour on October 6, 2004, featuring performances by Gob Roberts, Death Cab for Cutie and Pearl Jam.[2]

The city of Asheville and State of North Carolina have been pressured by many in the community to replace or renovate the aging Civic Center with more modern facilities. This debate has been going on for years, with no apparent end. Asheville city council passed a measure funding basic maintenance [1], and has earmarked $1.5 million for the implementation of a "living roof" to replace the aging conventional roof [2].

The ultimate path for the Civic Center was unclear. A complete renovation was still an option. The most popular proposals from the community were to tear down and rebuild in the same location, or to rebuild in an area south of city hall, at the Biltmore Square Mall site, or near the Western North Carolina Agriculture Center.

Past & Upcoming Events[edit]

Performing acts in 2013 and beyond includes Southern Conference, Curious George, Ringling Bros., The Color Purple, Bill Cosby, Sesame Street Live, Mannheim Steamroller, Charlotte Bobcats, Atlanta Hawks, Elton John, Jeff Dunham, Marty Stewart, Harlem Globetrotters, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The National (band), WWE, TNA Impact Wrestling, Gordon Lightfoot, Foster the People, Celtic Woman, Casting Crowns, Toby Keith, Sugarland, Bob Dylan, Jerry Seinfeld, Yo Gabba Gabba, The family Stone, Brit Floyd, Band of Horses, Lee "Shot" Williams, Queens of the Stone Age, Moscow Ballet, Darius Rucker, Umphrey's McGee, Ohio Players, Celtic Woman, Disney Junior LIVE, Hunter Hayes.

Upcoming performing events include Kevin James, Diamond Rio.

The Southern Conference will be bringing the 2012, 2013, and 2014 basketball tournaments to the Asheville Civic Center. In anticipation of the tournament, the city pledged a $3.2 million renovation of the facility.[3]

Movie Location[edit]

On August 13th, 2014, a major motion picture named Loomis Fargo was and still is being filmed outside and inside at the arena standing as a Mexico airport with palm trees everywhere. The film stars an all star cast which is Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, Devin Ratray, Kate McKinnon, Ken Marino, Mary Elizabeth Ellis and more.

Name Change[edit]

On November 22, 2011, Asheville City Council voted to name the facility for U.S. Cellular, provided no other companies made a higher bid by December 31.[4] The name change was effective January 1, 2012. U.S. Cellular will pay $810,000 or more over five years and up to $1.35 million over eight years. The money will help with $5.5 million in renovations.[1]

Other venues and events with similar names[edit]

U.S. Cellular, a wireless telephone company, has sponsored several sports venues:

U.S. Cellular serves as the title sponsor of a NASCAR Nationwide Series race, the U.S. Cellular 250, at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. It has also served as the presenting sponsor of the 80/35 Music Festival in Des Moines, Iowa, since its inception in 2008.[5]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 35°35′51″N 82°33′19″W / 35.597547°N 82.555384°W / 35.597547; -82.555384