Dial back the clock to 2010, when Lincoln voters went to the polls in May to vote on $25 million in initial public financing for a new arena with a $360 million price tag.

In 2010, the Pershing Center was Lincoln's civic venue, but sporting events downtown seemingly amounted to the annual rodeo, a visit by the Harlem Globetrotters and state high school tournaments. Well, the state basketball tournament, that is. The NSAA moved the state volleyball tournament out of Pershing after the nets came down in 2009.

City leaders told voters Lincoln was overdue for a new civic venue.

To the north of downtown, Husker basketball teams called the Devaney Sports Center home. But university leaders were at a crossroads, too, seeing attendance drop and hearing more and more from fans who were no longer satisfied with driving to the abandoned fairgrounds for a game and having no options after the final buzzer but to walk into the cold, dodge mud puddles on the way back to the car and drive away.

No bars and restaurants within walking distance. Only former pig barns.

Years later, sports fans can look back on that 2010 vote, and the 2013 opening of Pinnacle Bank Arena, and see a scorebook filled with big wins. A building with a buzz has changed the dynamic surrounding Husker basketball, drawn international competitions and championship bouts to Lincoln and prompted the NSAA to bring the state volleyball tournament back to town.

Here's a look at several of the significant sports-related advancements that can be traced to Lincoln's new arena.

A knockout punch

Terence "Bud" Crawford is a big draw as the boxer many consider the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, so it was a big deal for Pinnacle Bank Arena to land his August 2017 title fight against Julius Indongo.

Before the new arena opened, Lincoln would be beating itself in the head in promoting the idea of ESPN cameras capturing a big-time boxing event in the city.

Instead, Crawford's fight drew 10,000 and Lincoln could promote itself as a big-time sports market without the Huskers involved.

Earlier this year, UFC Fight Night was televised live nationally from Lincoln.

High marks for hoops

Pinnacle Bank Arena was built to host concerts and events of all shape and sizes, but those involved in the design made certain that the venue first and foremost would be a great place to watch basketball.

Mission accomplished.

The arena drew rave reviews from the opening tip, and Nebraska basketball saw a bump in attendance — and performance — in the venue's initial 2013-14 season.

The Huskers capped off the inaugural year with a wild win over Wisconsin on what will forever be remembered as No-Sit Sunday.

Five years later, even as the Huskers have experienced ups and downs on the court, fans continue to buy tickets and the arena has certainly heightened the buzz surrounding the men's basketball program.

The Husker women's basketball team continues to rank in the top 20 nationally in attendance.

Basketball games likely won't ever reach the level of Husker football games for event status, but the West Haymarket is a place to be in the winter when hoops season is hot.

A spike for volleyball

With practice facilities for the Nebraska basketball teams in place, and men's and women's basketball games moving to the arena, there was an opening of sorts for the volleyball program.

The Huskers, which had sold out volleyball matches for years at the NU Coliseum, made the big move to Devaney for the 2013 season. But with the move came a dramatic makeover of Devaney.

The renovated building includes five suites, ceiling trusses that mimic the Coliseum and a high definition center-hung video board. There are seats for more fans — crowds of 4,000 at the Coliseum have swelled to 8,000 at Devaney — and fan amenities include more concession options, better restroom facilities and more space in the concourse areas.

Nebraska now annually leads the nation in attendance.

A new state tournament hub

When the NSAA moved the state volleyball tournament from Lincoln to Grand Island for the 2010 event, it came down to this: The Pershing Center was viewed by visitors as a dump.

But once Lincoln's new arena was online, the tournament returned to Lincoln in 2014, with quarterfinal and semifinal matches at Pinnacle Bank Arena before championship matches shift to the Huskers' home court — the Devaney Sports Center.

Pinnacle Bank Arena hosts all rounds of the state high school basketball tournaments, and while the venue provides a great place for teams, it also has been a magnet for fans.

Between sessions, fans spill out of the arena and visit the Railyard, or other bars, restaurants and retail stores in the West Haymarket, Haymarket or downtown areas.

March Madness arrives

Fans yearn for the year the NCAA men's basketball tournament plays early-round games at Pinnacle Bank Arena. No one will say for certain, but it's assumed that Lincoln is minus a few full-service hotels necessary to meet presumed qualifications to be a part of March Madness.

In 2014, however, the NCAA dangled the carrot of a women's regional to Lincoln, and then shipped world-beater Connecticut to Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Geno Auriemma loved Lincoln enough to schedule a UConn return trip for a regular-season game in 2016.

International flavor

So you want a sporting event with a lot on the line? Pinnacle Bank Arena delivered that in January 2016, as international volleyball teams met in Lincoln for the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament.

Local fans turned out 10,000 strong as the U.S. national team, with hometown favorites Kelsey Robinson, Jordan Larson and Kayla Banwarth on board, swept the Dominican Republic to earn an Olympic spot.

Yes, the road to Rio de Janeiro went through Lincoln.

Arena milestones


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