Ice Rink Being Constructed At CenturyLink Center - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; kptm.com |

Businesses Hope Figure Skating Championships Will Draw Crowds

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OMAHA (kptm) - Preparations for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships have begun.  Today construction crews started work on the ice rink at the CenturyLink Center. 

Mike Clayton, owner of Ice Rink Events came to Omaha this morning, "Well we've rolled into town this morning at 9:00 and unloaded a full size ice skating rink."

Over the next few days 10 people will work non-stop to build the ice rink for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.  "It's very exciting.  My sister and I grew up skating as kids.  Most of our guys played hockey as kids and grew up around ice rinks and so we are very, very thrilled to see big events like this take shape," Clayton says.

Miles and miles of cooling pipes will be hidden under the ice, keeping 20 thousand gallons of water frozen.  And city officials say during the 8 days of competition nearly 20 million dollars of revenue will flow in.  "That's substantial and certainly in January in Omaha having an influx of tourists and spectators to the number that we're expecting.  It's going to be really solid for the business community.  That's one of the reasons the sports commission is behind hosting such events is to provide positive economic impacts to the city," Harold Cliff, President of the Omaha Sports Commission says.

Crews are working to put together the 85 by 200 foot practice rink that skaters will be using this weekend.  Officials say having a sporting event such as this in the city enables Omaha the opportunity to have even bigger sporting events in the future.

Sunni Renner, General Manager of DJ's Dugout says she hopes that's true.  "They've been doing a great job and the more sporting events that they book at this facility the better for us and it's great with the hotel business so we've been very fortunate but we always want more of course," Renner says.

She says when they built DJ's Dugout downtown they planned for the future, hoping for even bigger sporting events to come to the city.  "We planned.  We overstaffed this place, so we're able to handle those large crowds that are at the CenturyLink Center.  I want them to book more things and I would like to see more concerts," Renner says.

A plan the CenturyLink Center and the Omaha Sports Commission is working on.

After the U.S. Figure Skating Championships that same ice will be moved to TD Ameritrade Park for the Battles On Ice, which takes place February 9th. 

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