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Sprint Center opened on October 10, 2007, and a concert by Elton John held three days later was the arena's first event. The arena seats over 19,000 people and has 72 suites. Sprint Center has effectively replaced Kemper Arena, which was built in 1974 just a few miles away in the southern portion of the West Bottoms neighborhood. Additionally, the College Basketball Experience, which includes the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, is connected to and directly north of Sprint Center.
Sprint Center entrance from Grand Boulevard in 2008.
Ground was broken for the arena on June 24, 2005, and construction completed on October 11, 2007. The final design, by the Downtown Arena Design Team (a collaboration of the architectural firms Populous, 360 Architecture, Rafael Architects, and Ellerbe Becket), was selected in August 2005. The construction manager responsible for the entire project was M.A. Mortenson Company, based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The complete exterior glass facade system, all metal panels for the adjacent buildings and all accessory metal cladding was custom designed, detailed and supplied by Overgaard Ltd. Hong Kong to Architectural Wall Systems, the Des Moines, Iowa based glazing contractor who installed the building envelope. In total there are approximately 13,000 m² (139,932 square feet) of double insulated glass and 5,000 m² (53,820 square feet) painted aluminum curtain wall panels. In addition there are roughly 200 tons of system profiles and accessories. All of the 2,404 individual glass units on the main building were produced sequentially and completely assembled prior to shipping. The 5 million lbs of rebar used in construction was detailed, fabricated and supplied by The Carter-Waters Corporation of Kansas City. The arena also features a work of public art, The Moons, by artist Chris Doyle, commissioned by the Kansas City Municipal Arts Commission (KCMAC).
The Big 12 ConferenceMen's Basketball Tournament was held at Sprint Center in 2008, marking the tournament's return to Kansas City after three years in Dallas and Oklahoma City. After returning to Oklahoma City in 2009, the Sprint Center again hosted the tournament in 2010 and 2011. It is scheduled to be the tournament host site through 2020. Because of Kansas City's proximity to the University of Kansas in neighboring Lawrence, Jayhawk fans who fill the arena for Big 12 Tournament games refer to the arena as "Allen Fieldhouse East" in reference to Kansas' home arena in Lawrence, Allen Fieldhouse. However, due to Iowa State's recent Big 12 Tournament success - winning four tournament championships in a six-year span - and their fanbase's huge migration to the annual event, the Sprint Center is referred to by Iowa State fans as "Hilton South", after Iowa State's home venue, Hilton Coliseum.
Sprint Center and Power & Light District looking from the convention center in 2011.
2016 Built Ford Tough PBR Kansas City Clash
On October 13, 2007, Elton John performed the inaugural concert to a crowd that sold out in less than 90 minutes.
Garth Brooks performed nine sold-out shows on November 5-12 & 14, 2007. All shows sold out in under two hours. The November 14 show was broadcast live in movie theatres across the United States.
Tina Turner performed her first live concert in 8 years to a sold-out crowd at the Sprint Center on October 1, 2008 as part of her 50th Anniversary Tour. She returned to the Sprint Center a week later on Oct. 8 to perform an additional show.
The February 27, 2010 concert of Elton John & Billy Joel holds the record for highest grossing show at the arena.
Roger Waters performed The Wall Live, the highest-grossing tour of all time by a solo artist, at The Sprint Center on October 30, 2010, to a sold-out crowd.
Foo Fighters performed at the arena on August 30, 2011 and August 21, 2015. Both shows were picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church to which the band offered counter protests of their own.
Jason Aldean's performance on March 17, 2012 holds the record for concert with the highest attendance, with over 18,000 guests in attendance.
Madonna played a sold-out show on October 30, 2012. It marked the pop icon's first ever Kansas City performance.
Paul McCartney performed his first show in Kansas City in nearly four years at Sprint Center on July 16, 2014, playing for nearly two hours and forty five minutes to a sold-out crowd.
The Kansas City Brigade played at the Sprint Center for one season before the original AFL folded after the 2008 postseason. However, the revamped AFL brought arena football back to the Sprint Center in 2011, with the team playing as the Kansas City Command.
William "Boots" Del Biaggio, III, made an offer to purchase the Nashville Predators of the NHL with the intention of bringing the team to the Sprint Center. However, Del Biaggio has since joined a group of Nashville investors in an effort to keep the Predators in Nashville. In June 2008, Kansas City's hopes to land the Predators took another blow as Del Biaggio ran into legal trouble over a multitude of unpaid loans, culminating in him filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, effectively ending any chance of Del Biaggio moving the Predators to Missouri. On January 10, 2007, it was reported the Los Angeles Clippers have taken an interest in moving to the arena.New York Islanders owner Charles Wang announced the Islanders will play a preseason game September 22, 2009 at the Sprint Center against the Los Angeles Kings. Local media reported anonymous team sources stated the game was a test of the Kansas City market. In 2007, Kansas City and the Sprint Center also attempted to attract relocation of the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the Penguins reached a deal with the City of Pittsburgh to build a new arena, the CONSOL Energy Center (now PPG Paints Arena), and stay in Western Pennsylvania. The Sprint Center had also been looked at as a possible relocation spot for the NBA's New Orleans Hornets and the Sacramento Kings (the latter of which had played in Kansas City) before both teams settled their local issues. As recently as 2015, Kansas City was considered as a potential site for potential National Hockey League expansion, but the consensus among those who had the resources to buy an expansion franchise for the arena was that the NHL's asking price was too high.
Despite losing out on pro teams, the NBA and NHL have held preseason games at Sprint Center. The most recent NHL preseason game, between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild, took place on September 28, 2017; the most recent NBA preseason game, between the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers, took place on October 13th, 2017.
Other sporting events
The CBE Classic is held every year at Sprint Center. The event was first held on November 19, 2007 and November 20, 2007.
AVP Pro Beach Volleyball's Hot Winter Nights Tour was held at Sprint Center on January 12, 2008.
The Kansas City Brigade of the Arena Football League played their 2008 season at Sprint Center. They returned in 2011 after the 2009 AFL season was canceled due to financial reasons and the 2010 season saw Kansas City decide to take a break from Arena Football. The team shut down after the 2012 season.
The NCAA Women's Volleyball Final Four was held at the Sprint Center on December 16 and 18, 2010.
The Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball team has played at least one regular season non-conference game in the Sprint Center every season since the arena opened, starting with an 88-51 victory over the Ohio Bobcats on December 15, 2007, carrying over a tradition from Kemper Arena. Jayhawk fans tend to refer to the arena as "Allen Fieldhouse East", a reference to Allen Fieldhouse, the Jayhawks' home arena in Lawrence, KS. As of December 6, 2017, Kansas' record in these games is 8-3.
On October 7, 2016, the arena hosted the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions.
The NCAA Women's Volleyball Final Four was held at the Sprint Center on December 14 and 16, 2017.