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Bank of Kentucky Center – Northern Kentucky University

This arena, located just seven miles from Cincinnati, symbolizes the growth of the school.



September 2010


10,500 (concerts); 9,400 (basketball)


Northern Kentucky University

Arena Cost:

$ 68 million



Team (s):

Northern Kentucky University


500 Bank Drive, Highland Heights, KY 41099



Website: of 

Northern Kentucky University no longer takes a backseat to anyone. Their new arena, located seven miles from Cincinnati, is being viewed as a sign the 40-year school wants to step up and takes its place in area loaded with major universities.

Managed by SMG, the new facility made a quick name for itself by booking bigtime acts like Carrie Underwood, Alan Jackson, Trace Adkins and Cirque du Soleil. But the school will really be feeling like a bigtimer when it  christens its basketball court with a women’s-men’s doubleheader against longtime power Louisville November 8.

It was an arena two decades in the making. Regents Hall, the old home of NKU hoops, held less than 2,000 spectators. The school had lobbied the state for financial help for some time. But Murray State got state money first. Persistence, however, paid off. Three years ago, the Assembly okayed $54 million for the facility. Bank of Kentucky paid $6 million for naming rights and the scholl kicke din the balance.

Construction started in the summer of 2006 and the place officially opened for business on September 23, 2008. (There was an unofficial opening three months before when NKU held its graduation there.)

SMG was hired to run the place for the school. The facility can seat 10,500 for concerts and 9,400 for basketball. (However, the school says another 1,200 seats can be added at some point.) There are a dozen suites.

Some officials are hoping the major effect of the new arena will be in the surrounding area. NKU President James Votruba said he hopes the site will eventually include a hotel, retail, restaurants and professional offices with a focus on technology.

For now, however, the 14,000 student school just over the border is concentrating on more mundane issues like tickets for concerts and basketball games. NKU plays in the Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference, something that isn’t expected to change anytime in the near future. But the new arena allows room to dream.