Carrie Underwood concert

Carrie Underwood performs on her "Blown Away Tour" with Hunter Hayes on May 13, 2013, at the Tyson Events Center. Opened in 2003, the state-of-the-art facility brought the option of large-scale entertainment to Siouxland.

Dawn J. Sagert, Sioux City Journal file

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SIOUX CITY | The state-of-the-art Tyson Events Center opened in December 2003 to bring the option of large-scale entertainment to Siouxland.

With seating for 10,000, the Tyson Events Center has brought the likes of Cher, Aerosmith, Elton John and Carrie Underwood to town.

Previously, many promoters automatically wrote off the 4,600-seat Municipal Auditorium, because it was too small. Built in the late 1940s, it became outdated, lacking the amenities found in newer arenas.

Momentum to replace the dilapidated auditorium with a larger arena gathered steam by the late 1990s. With local elected officials firmly against property taxpayers footing the bill, financing such a large undertaking remained a major stumbling block.

The big breakthrough came in 2000 when then-Gov. Tom Vilsack signed legislation that established a new state infrastructure program called Vision Iowa. By borrowing against future state gambling revenues, the state created a $300 million fund to help communities build big-ticket cultural and entertainment attractions that would drive more tourism.

The center is equipped with a full-size ice hockey rink surrounded by a U-shaped seating bowl. The arena is home to the Sioux City Musketeers hockey team and also hosts the annual Fall Classic, where 200 NHL and college coaches come to scout players.

The stage can be placed at the open end of the seating bowl or at the center of the floor to accommodate musical performers.

The venue’s exterior is composed of tinted green glass and metal. At the south entrance, a tile mosaic with a waterfall depicts the Missouri River and Loess Hills.

A city panel is exploring ways to expand the 11-year-old Tyson Events Center by adding more arena seats or new suites to attract bigger-name acts.

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