A new Lincoln (Neb.) arena would have a significant impact on the local economy by drawing traveling shows that had previously bypassed Pershing Arena and increasing attendance at Cornhusker basketball games, according to market-research studies.
Proponents of a new arena in the city’s Haymarket District say a new arena would bring new life to the University of Nebraska’s men’s and women’s basketball programs while also bringing in touring shows that normally would bypass Pershing Arena and instead play in Omaha. Because of Pershing Arena’s small size — it was built in 1957 — most large touring shows must pass on playing in the venue.
The issue is whether there’s enough business to go around. Within 200 miles of Lincoln there are new, larger arenas in Des Moines, Omaha and Kansas City, and some question whether another new arena added to the mix would be financially feasible.
Still, those doing the projections are probably being a little conservative; besides the Huskers games, they’re projecting 17 concerts and 15 family events; in total planners of a new arena could expect between 700,000 and 900,00 paying fans annually.
And if that happens, the arena would thrive and the local economy boosted by fans spending money locally instead of elsewhere.
A local referendum to decide the future of the project is slated for next week.