What Will Come Of The Arena?
by Maren Larson
December 01, 2011 6:52 PM
The Sioux Falls Skyforce's plans to move the team to Sanford's new sports facility means the Sioux Falls Arena will have one less tenant in two years. It has left some to wonder, after the Skyforce moves and the events center is built, what will come of the Arena.
Some were surprised by the basketball team's announcement that they will not play in the new events center; and some leaders at the Arena were surprised as well. Terry Torkildson, the general manager of SMG Sioux Falls which is the company that manages the Arena, says he learned the news about the Skyforce's decision to move, along with everyone else; but he says he doesn't believe the team's choice to move will hurt the Arena.
"There had been talk around the community that Sanford was going to build a facility like this and we knew there was a relationship between Sanford and the Skyforce; but Mike Heineman and I have not officially discussed the situation,” said Torkildson.
The Skyforce will still play in the Arena for another two years. With the basketball team leaving and the new events center ready to absorb the Storm and the Stampede, some question what purpose the Arena will serve. Torkildson says he isn't worried about the Arena's future.
"It will still leave us more flexibility in bringing in some higher revenue generating events,” said Torkildson. “It's not like we are losing a team out of the community.”
Mike Sullivan with the Sioux Falls Sports Authority agrees. Sullivan says while his main focus is to find events to put in the new events center, he says the Arena gives people looking to come to Sioux Falls more venue options.
"Things that find the events center too expensive or too big or whatever their case may be, then we will move them down into the Arena,” said Sullivan.
"It opens up time, dates, easier conversions and it will open it up for Mike Sullivan to book for those regional and even some of those national events,” said Torkildson.
Sullivan and Torkildson agree that although the Arena may not be used the same way as it is now, it won't sit empty.
"It's an old building but it's useful,” said Sullivan. “There is a lot of floor space and a lot of seating capacity in there so it will be used for things I am sure. It just gives us another option for when we go out and recruit events. I think it's a great thing for Sioux Falls.”
Officials say when the Skyforce moves to the Sanford Pentagon, it will free up a total of 24 dates at the Arena, which will be open to other events.
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