Allen Event Center Stampedes Rivals

Versatile facility booked solid on weekends for rest of year

The Tom Thumb Texas Stampede is returning to the Allen Event Center for the second year in a row.

The rodeo, concert and weekend festival called the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas  home for more than nine years. But the event now sings the praises of the AEC.

"I think it only makes business sense for a lot events and promoters," said Scott Farace, Texas Stampede vice president of the Texas Stampede. "They're starting to look at the economy and the scale of that building and the cost of that building versus smaller venues that may not have the same seating capacity but offers a lower cost structure for you."

Allen Mayor Stephen Terrell said the advantage of the AEC is it's versatility.

It's the home venue for the Allen Americans hockey team and the Allen Wranglers indoor football team. The facility can convert from basketball to hockey in about five hours. The center is also booked solid every weekend through the end of the year with events that range from rodeo to "Disney on Ice."

The AEC now competes with other, larger venues for coveted weekday concerts that can have a dramatic impact on city.

"Didn't matter from country-western to rock 'n' roll to rap -- all of them have said the sound is incredible," Terrell said.

Luxury suites at the AEC cost significantly less than those in Cowboys Stadium or the AAC but give customers and organizations the same feeling of exclusivity. And season ticket holders say that even without a suite, there isn't a bad seat in the house.

Allen residents are the ones who speak most highly of the AEC and its impact on the city. They say the facility has improved the areas quality of life dramatically, boosting sales tax and entertaining locals.

Carol Henry, who has lived in Allen for 30 years, has been a hockey season ticket holder for three. Henry said the AEC is starting to define Allen as an entertainment city that can rival larger cities, including Dallas and Fort Worth.

"We don't have to go anywhere else for entertainment it's right here at home," she said.

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