April 14, 2010
Sedgwick County officials came out today and reported that the Intrust Bank Arena had net income of more than $300,000 in its first two months of operation. That's the report card from a business perspective. Here's one person's report card on the early days of the Intrust Bank Arena. These are my opinions and based on two events i've attended.
Amenities: A-. The arena is beautiful inside, although i'll admit I don't get the 1/2 chrome, shiny metal, 1/2 brick old town look design(then again, I know nothing about design). Inside, there is plenty of room to walk and a nice variety of food and drink. Are the seats small? Somewhat, but no different than any other arena that recently came online. Didn't we hear the same complaints after the Koch Arena renovation? The restroom lines were longer than I expected. But, unlike the Kansas Coliseum, the lines don't extend into the concourse.
Parking: A+. This was the biggest issue before the arena opened, and it has turned out to be a non-issue. I was able to find parking no more than two blocks away. On each occasion I was out of the arena and on my way home in five minutes. Some people were concerned about the "scary" neighborhood. I was with my young sons on a Friday night. We walked through the arena area and all I saw were smiles on their faces.
Impact: Incomplete. The Wichita Business Journal reported many businesses have already seen an increase in business due to the arena opening. The arena is bringing people from out of town to Wichita. I met a Junction City man who brought his family to Wichita twice because of events at the Intrust Bank Arena. While they were here they also had dinner at their favorite local restaurant. A point of concern here--will the arena traffic take business away from other merchants and restaurants not in the Old Town area?
Areas for improvement; I find the "Arena Neighborhood" signage very confusing. What is the "Arena Neighborhood"? Based on the location of signs, it is a large area.
One more(note-- this may be a little bit of "inside baseball"). The arena management's media relations needs some work. Arena management currently has a policy where a staff member must accompany a television camera crew at all times. The problem is each management member has their own version of where cameramen can be, etc. How is this policy going to work next spring when crews covering eight teams in the NCAA womens basketball tournament are here in Wichita? You might want to alter the policy or hire some additional workers.
Again, these are the thoughts of one person. What are your early impressions of Intrust Bank Arena?