Wells Fargo Arena Preps for NCAA Wrestling - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Wells Fargo Arena Preps for NCAA Wrestling

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By Alex Schuman

aschuman@myabc5.com

@alexschuman

Imagine spending two years planning an event attended by thousands that will be watched by millions across the country, but you only get four days to make it happen.

That's a rough idea of what's going at Wells Fargo Arena this week in preparation for the NCAA Wrestling Championship, which starts Thursday.

"When the Polk County Board of Supervisors had the vision to build Wells Fargo Arena, this is the type of event they were hoping we could attract," said Adam Flack, director of marketing for Iowa Events Center.

Staff started putting everything together Sunday.  They need to hang signs, tape mats together, and set up the big screens for a new addition to the tournament. 

Des Moines will be the first city to offer something called the Fan Festival.  Staff brings in food, entertainment for kids, and popular wrestlers for fans to meet inside Hy-Vee Hall.  They will also hang several big screens so you can watch March Madness and catch any match going on during the wrestling tournament.  

"We want to make it the best experience we can for fans," said Flack.

The national championship demands more changes to the arena than the state tournament.

"You're gonna see the arena transform many different times over those three days of action," said Flack.

Iowa State University, one of the co-sponsors, sent their wrestling team in to set up the mats.

"They're great," Ryan Ziegler with Wells Fargo Arena.  "They know what they're doing."

The NCAA hosted officials from Des Moines in Philadelphia and St. Louis to see how the tournament gets run in other cities.

"You're gonna just see electricity in the air," said Flack.

And those officials hope their new ideas will eventually turn hosting the national championship into an old tradition for the City of Des Moines.

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