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U.S. Bank Arena to get a new name Monday

Bank is not renewing the naming rights, arena owner says
Posted: 3:30 PM, Aug 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-01 13:10:30-04
U.S. Bank Arena owner: Plan is to tear down area, build new 19K seat arena for NCAA tourney

CINCINNATI — U.S. Bank Arena, the 44-year-old Downtown concerts and sports venue, will get a new name on Monday.

U.S. Bank is not renewing naming rights, a part-owner of the arena confirmed to WCPO in August. On Friday, arena officials said the new naming rights partner will be revealed at a Nov. 4 press conference.

“We are grateful to U.S. Bank for being our naming rights partner for the better of the last two decades and we look forward to a continued relationship. We are anxious to announce our new naming rights partner in the near future and beginning a new chapter for this historic venue,” said Ray Harris, COO of Nederlander Entertainment.

The arena has had several names and regular tenants since it opened in 1975 as Riverfront Coliseum. It later became known as The Crown and Firstar Center before it switched to U.S. Bank Arena in 2002.

In its heyday, it hosted major sports events including the World Figure Skating Championships, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the Davis Cup finals, the U.S. Olympic boxing trials, the NCAA women's basketball Final Four, an NCAA men's basketball regional tournament and the NCAA hockey Frozen Four.

It also attracted major concerts - most notably, the 1979 Who concert when 11 people died in a crush outside the doors.

But as it aged, the arena lost major events and concerts to bigger and newer venues. Capacity at U.S. Bank Arena is 17,000.

In 2015, Nederlander announced plans for a $200 million renovation, but it hasn't begun.

In 2017, Harris announced plans to tear down the arena and build a larger one in its place. That followed the NCAA's announcement that Cincinnati would host first and second-round games in the 2022 men's basketball tournament on the condition that the arena underwent long-awaited renovations. Cincinnati hasn't hosted men's tournament games since 1992.

Harris then sought public financing, but he hasn't been successful in convincing the city or county to help.

A group headed by Bill DeWitt Jr. built the arena in anticipation of luring a National Hockey League team, but the group was rejected by the NHL and joined the World Hockey Association with a team known as the Cincinnati Stingers. The Stingers played in Riverfront Coliseum from 1975 until 1979, when the NHL took in four WHA teams. Cincinnati was rejected again, and the WHA folded.

Riverfront Coliseum was home to the University of Cincinnati basketball team from 1975 to 1987, before Fifth Third Arena was built on campus, and it hosted several pro basketball games played by the Kentucky Colonels in the now-defunct American Basketball Association.

Since then, DeWitt's group sold the building and the arena has been home to minor-league hockey teams, including the Tigers and Cyclones.

The arena has hosted two rallies by President Trump, after his election in 2016 and two weeks ago.