Heritage Bank Center
|Former names||Riverfront Coliseum (1975–1997)|
The Crown (1997–1999)
Firstar Center (1999–2002)
U.S. Bank Arena (2002–2019)
|Address||100 Broadway Street|
|Owner||Nederlander Entertainment and Anschutz Entertainment Group|
|Operator||Anschutz Entertainment Group|
Ice hockey: 14,453
|Broke ground||November 12, 1973|
|Opened||September 9, 1975|
|Construction cost||$20 million|
($93.1 million in 2018 dollars)
|Architect||Pattee Architects, Inc.|
|Structural engineer||Clark Engineering Corporation|
|General contractor||Universal Contracting Corp.|
|Cincinnati Stingers (WHA) (1975–1979)|
Cincinnati Bearcats (NCAA) (1976–1987)
Cincinnati Kids (MISL) (1978–1979)
Cincinnati Tigers (CHL) (1981–1982)
Cincinnati Rockers (AFL) (1992–1993)
Cincinnati Silverbacks (NPSL) (1997–1998)
Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL) (1997–2004, 2006–present)
Cincinnati Stuff (IBL) (1999–2001)
Cincinnati Swarm (AF2) (2003)
Cincinnati Marshals (NIFL) (2005–2006)
Cincinnati Jungle Kats (AF2) (2007)
Heritage Bank Center is an indoor arena located in downtown Cincinnati, along the banks of the Ohio River, next to the Great American Ball Park. It was completed in September 1975 and named Riverfront Coliseum because of its placement next to Riverfront Stadium. The arena seats 17,556 people and is the largest indoor arena in the Greater Cincinnati region with 346,100 square feet (32,150 m2) of space. The arena underwent a $14 million renovation project in 1997. The current main tenant is the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL.
The arena was the home of the Cincinnati Stingers of the World Hockey Association from 1975 to 1979. Since then, the arena has hosted two minor league hockey teams and various concerts, political rallies, tennis tournaments, figure skating, professional wrestling, traveling circus and rodeo shows, and other events. Heritage Bank Center served as a host for the Midwest Regional of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament with Miami University as the host school. The facility's longest-serving tenant was the Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball program of the University of Cincinnati, who used the arena from its completion until 1987, when the team moved to Cincinnati Gardens and eventually to the on-campus Fifth Third Arena.
Until the opening of Fifth Third Arena at the University of Cincinnati and BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University, commencement ceremonies for these schools were held at Heritage Bank Center. On occasion, there have been local pushes for the attraction of another major sports franchise to occupy the arena, possibly a National Basketball Association (NBA) or National Hockey League (NHL) franchise. The Cincinnati Royals moved to Kansas City – Omaha in 1972, and were the last NBA team to call Cincinnati home. The NBA Cleveland Cavaliers have played preseason games at Heritage Bank Center
In August 2019, it was announced that U.S. Bank would not be renewing its naming rights sponsorship of the arena, which had been in effect since 2002. Kentucky-based Heritage Bank assumed naming rights of the arena on November 4, 2019.
- Brian and Albert Heekin (1975–1997)
- Cincinnati Entertainment Associates (1997–2001)
- Nederlander Entertainment (2001–present)
- Anschutz Entertainment Group (2011–present)
1979 The Who concert deaths
On December 3, 1979, 11 teenagers and young adults were killed by compressive asphyxia and 26 other people were injured in a rush for seating at the opening of a sold-out rock concert by the English rock band The Who. On that evening, there were a total of 18,348 ticketed fans attending, which included 14,770 in general admission seats. The concert was using festival seating, where seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. When the waiting fans outside the Coliseum heard the band performing a late sound check, they thought that the concert was beginning and tried to rush into the still-closed doors. Some at the front of the crowd were either trampled or squeezed to death standing up as those pushing from behind were unaware that the doors were still closed. Only a few doors were in operation that night, and there are reports that management did not open more doors due to union restrictions and the concern of people gate-crashing the ticket turnstiles.
As a result, the remaining concerts of 1979, Blue Öyster Cult on December 14 and Aerosmith on December 21, were canceled and concert venues across North America switched to reserved seating or changed their rules about festival seating. Cincinnati immediately outlawed festival seating at concerts. After establishment of a crowd control task force by Cincinnati mayor Ken Blackwell, the first concert held at the facility after the tragedy was ZZ Top with the Rockets on March 21, 1980, on ZZ Top's Expect No Quarter Tour.
On August 4, 2004, the Cincinnati City Council unanimously overturned the ban because it placed the city at a disadvantage for booking concerts. Many music acts prefer festival seating because it can allow the most enthusiastic fans to get near the stage and generate excitement for the rest of the crowd. The city had previously made a one-time exception to the ban, allowing festival seating for a Bruce Springsteen concert on November 12, 2002. Cincinnati was, for a time, the only city in the United States to outlaw festival seating altogether.
The first entertainment event (opening night) to be staged at the facility was a rock concert by The Allman Brothers Band and special guest Muddy Waters on the Win, Lose Or Draw Tour on September 9, 1975, attended by 16,721 persons.
On June 25, 1977, Elvis Presley gave his second-to-last concert in the Riverfront Coliseum; 17,140 persons attended the concert.
In 1987, the facility hosted the World Figure Skating Championships.
The arena was the site of the Regional of the 1979 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and 1987 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, as well as a first and second round site for the 1988 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and the 1992 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. The arena was also host to the 1997 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship Final Four, as well as the 1996 men's Division I hockey Frozen Four, which was won by Michigan. In 2017, the site hosted the NCAA Division 1 Ice Hockey Midwest Regional, where Denver University, Union, Penn State, Michigan Tech, played for a spot in the 2017 Frozen Four with eventual National Champion Denver would defeat Michigan Tech and Penn State to advance.
The venue hosted part of the 1981 and all of the 1992 Horizon League men's basketball conference tournament as well as the 1978 and 1983 Metro Conference and the 2002 and 2004 Conference USA men's basketball tournaments; the Atlantic 10 Conference also held its tourney there in 2005 and did so again in 2006.
UFC 77 was held at the arena on October 20, 2007, and was headlined by local fighter Rich Franklin. The UFC returned to the arena for the second time on May 10, 2014, with UFC Fight Night: Brown vs. Silva. The Strikeforce World Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov event was held at the arena on September 10, 2011. The arena hosted the opening and closing ceremonies to the 2012 World Choir Games that were held in Cincinnati.
In 2016, the arena hosted the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions.
The arena was renovated in 1997 as part of the facility's purchase that year by a group headed by Doug Kirchhofer, owner of the Cincinnati Cyclones. The renovation cost $14 million and included new seating, improved concourses and restrooms, expanded concession areas, and a new center-hanging video board. As part of the renovation, the building was renamed "The Crown" and the Cyclones, who then played in the International Hockey League, moved from the Cincinnati Gardens.
A$200 million renovation was proposed in 2015 by arena owners Nederlander Entertainment and AEG Facilities. The renovations would include both upgrades to the seating and expansion to increase capacity to 18,500 seats, additional luxury suites and other premium seating, a new exterior facade, new video boards, and a renovation of the exterior concourse. The push for extensive renovations and upgrades came in 2014 after the city ran an unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Republican National Convention and the state of the arena was cited as the deciding factor in the bid's failure.
In 2017, Nederlander Entertainment announced its intention to tear down and replace the arena if a deal could be made with taxpayers, citing inadequate space and dated '70s aesthetics.
- WKRP in Cincinnati February 11, 1980, episode "In Concert"
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- "AEG, Nederlander partner to own U.S. Bank Arena, Cyclones". The Business Journals. Cincinnati Business Courier. March 24, 2011. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
- "Stampede Kills 11 Persons at Coliseum Rock Concert". The Cincinnati Enquirer. December 4, 1979. p. A1.
- "Too Few Doors, Angry Crowd; 11 Die in Coliseum Stampede". The Cincinnati Post. December 4, 1979. p. 1.
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- "The Who And Pete Townshend Face A Tour And Face Their Fears After Cincinnati". People. 13 (19): 97–102. May 12, 1980.
- "General Admission 'A Way of Life'". The Cincinnati Enquirer. December 5, 1979. p. B3.
- Chertkoff, JM; Kushigian, RH (1999). Don't Panic: The Psychology of Emergency Egress and Ingress. Praeger. pp. 79–83. ISBN 0-275-96268-7.
- Johnson, Norris R. (October 1987). "Panic at 'The Who Concert Stampede': An Empirical Assessment". Social Problems. 34 (4): 362–373. doi:10.1525/sp.1987.34.4.03a00040.
- "Concert Promoters Cancel Two Events Set For December". The Cincinnati Enquirer. December 5, 1979. p. B1.
- "Concert Crackdown: 130 Arrested; Security Strong, Crowd Happy at Rock's Return". The Cincinnati Post. March 22, 1980. p. 1A.
- Kemme, Steve (August 5, 2004). "Festival Seating Unanimously OK'd – Council Reassured Who Tragedy Won't Be Repeated". The Cincinnati Enquirer. pp. C1, 8. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- "Opening Night at Riverfront Coliseum". The Cincinnati Enquirer. September 10, 1975. p. A1.
- "In It's [sic] Debut, Coliseum Turns into Huge Smoke-Filled Room". The Cincinnati Enquirer. September 10, 1975. p. B9.
- "Barnett vs. Kharitonov". Strikeforce. September 10, 2011. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- Gelfand, Janelle (July 4, 2012). "City Shines in Welcoming World Choir Games". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on July 11, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- Gelfand, Janelle (June 5, 2012). "Idina Menzel to Headline 2012 World Choir Games Closing Ceremony". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- "2016 Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions takes center stage beginning Sept. 15". usagym.org. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
- Hobson, Geoff (February 11, 1997). "Cyclones group buys Coliseum". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
- May, Lucy (May 18, 1997). "Banking on the river". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
- Hussein, Fatima; Tweh, Bowdeya (July 28, 2015). "Renderings of proposed U.S. Bank renovations". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
- Coolidge, Sharon; Shesgreen, Deirdre (May 23, 2014). "U.S. Bank Arena blamed for losing convention". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
- "A New Vision". USBankArena.com. July 28, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
- "US Bank Arena may be torn down, rebuilt but not without help from tax payers". Retrieved April 20, 2017.
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