Sprint Center is a large, multi-use indoor arena in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The building is located at 14th Street and Grand Boulevard, on the east side of the Power & Light District. The arena’s naming rights partner is the telecommunications company Sprint, whose headquarters is in nearby Overland Park, Kansas.
Sprint Center opened to the public on October 10, 2007, and a concert on October 13, 2007 by Elton John was the first event held at the arena. 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. Additionally, the College Basketball Experience, which includes the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, is connected to and located directly north of Sprint Center.
Sprint Center hosted the 2008 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament, and in addition will host the first and second rounds of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Tournament and the regional rounds of the 2010 NCAA Women’s Tournament.
Kansas City has also entered into discussions with the NHL and the NBA regarding possible expansion or relocation of a professional hockey and/or basketball franchise for the arena.
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 (then HOK Sport), 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, MN. 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 is approximately 13.000m² (139,932 square feet) of double insulated glass and 5.000m² (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 where produced sequentially and completely assembled prior to shipping. The arena also features a work of public art, The Moons, by artist Chris Doyle, commissioned by the Kansas City Municipal Arts Commission.
The Big 12 Conference Men’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.
The arena also houses the headquarters of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Which, is located at 1301 Grand Boulevard connected to the Sprint Center.
The outside of the arena is entirely glass. Inside it has state of the art technology with a 360 degree LED video screen. This facility allows Kansas City to draw most concerts touring the United States. There has been speculation of an NBA or NHL team relocating to Sprint Center, but as of yet no definitive plans have been announced.
Sprint Center opened on time and on budget on October 10 at 10:10 am. A tour lasted from 10:10 am – 10:10 pm for those who wanted to see it to grab a ticket at the box office. The tour consisted of the College Basketball Experience, two open concession stands: "Taco Taco" and "Oak Street Pizza"; a free drink from UMB Bank and other free items: a UMB Bank cup, a UMB Bank frisbee, and a UMB Bank ice scraper. UMB Bank is the only ATM in the new arena because it is a Sprint Center Founding Partner along with Farmland, The University of Kansas Hospital, QuikTrip, and Olevia. There are other Sprint Center Founding Partners: H&R Block, Toyota, American Century Investments, YRC Worldwide, and Time Warner Cable of Kansas City.