The Dollar Loan Center arena in Henderson is ramping up its events calendar as fall gets underway.
“It’s going to be a really busy stretch for our crew running the arena,” said Kerry Bubolz, president of the Golden Knights, which partnered with the city of Henderson to build the $84 million facility. “It was really busy in March and April … now it’s that primary event season, we are off and running.”
The facility opened its doors in March, hosting the Big West Conference Basketball Championships and the final 10 home games of one of its three tenants, the Henderson Silver Knights of the American Hockey League. The Indoor Football League’s Vegas Knight Hawks also played their inaugural season there between March and July, with the league’s championship game played at Aug. 13 at Dollar Loan Center.
After sitting quiet since then, the arena came to life again this week with a concert Monday headlined by the Casting Crowns.
With a busy fall schedule planned for the arena, Darren Davis, vice president of venue operations, said that on a given night there could be around 225 full-and-part-time staff working an event.
“It’s a great economic driver from that standpoint,” he said. “That’s a lot of folks.”
Those employees will have plenty of events to work, as Davis said the goal is to have over 100 events annually at the arena.
The arena’s second concert is slated for Friday night with rockers Godsmack. Veteran rock ’n’ roller Alice Cooper will also play a show at the arena Oct. 8.
Hardwood action is also set to begin, as the NBA G League Ignite’s court arrived at the arena Thursday, ahead of the team’s first preseason games next week.
The Ignite will play Tuesday and Thursday against the French squad Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 and the projected No. 1 2023 NBA Draft prospect, 7-foot-2-inch Victor Wembanyama. The Ignite are headlined by projected top 3 draft pick Scoot Henderson and Shareef O’Neal, the son of NBA legend and part time Las Vegas resident Shaquille O’Neal.
“That’s going to end up being 27 more events,” Bubolz said. “We’ve got the French team coming in next week, which is really exciting. … This Ignite team is cool and different compared to some of the other teams in the G League based on its model.”
UNLV Hockey has a pair of games planned for the arena in October, with the Rebels slated to play two games there later this year as well. There’s also an in-season college basketball tournament dubbed the Vegas 4, planned to take place in November.
The Silver Knights’ 2022-23 season kicks off Oct. 9 with a preseason matchup versus the Tucson Roadrunners.
Incorporating the community where the arena is located was a crucial part of the project coming to fruition, both Davis and Bubolz said.
“We talked about three things — sports, families and Henderson; events for the city,” Bubolz said. “We probably have a few folks out there that are not necessarily in favor, but I think the vast majority of people in the area are really seeing the value of this terrific new facility.”
Over the summer several high school and college graduation ceremonies were held at The Dollar Loan Center. And next week the Metropolitan Police Department will hold its Howl-O-Ween dog costume event there.
Prior to the facility’s construction, some area residents opposed the project, citing potential traffic impacts and the displacement of a weekly farmers market that occurred in that location for years.
The farmers market returned this past Monday and will be held each Monday between fall and spring in the parking lot located off Green Valley Parkway at Dollar Loan Center.
In addition, the traffic impacts have been fine tuned as each event has taken place. An additional traffic lane was added to Green Valley Parkway southbound in front of the arena and adaptive traffic signals were installed in the area to help mitigate event-related traffic congestion.
“There are still some points we are continuing to work on to make it even better. … I believe the overall experience in the area for the residents that live there is a lot better,” Bubolz said.
About 38,000 residents live within walking distance of the arena, prompting Bubolz to say he hopes many of those will “head over and enjoy some great events, literally right in their backyard.”