The Dome Delivers: Mega Events
The addition of The Dome at America’s Center’s massive floor space and the more than 65,000 fixed seats to America’s Center convention complex allowed St. Louis to host the largest crowd ever to attend an indoor event in the United States? On January 26, 1999, more than 104,000 people filled the exhibit halls at America’s Center to participate in the historic Mass celebrated in The Dome by Pope John Paul II.
In addition to the Papal visit, other blockbuster events have been held in the facility including major touring entertainment concerts. The Dome – with it’s huge floor space, generous seating capacity and accessible loading docks with drive-in capability – was a perfect fit for the enormous staging requirements and ticket demand generated by recording artists like the Rolling Stones, Irish rockers U2 and country music legend George Strait. The Stones chose the St. Louis show at The Dome from more than 100 stops on their worldwide Bridges to Babylon tour to be cablecast live on pay-per-view to more than 21 million fans around the nation. And, the concert date from The Dome made television history as the first-ever pay-per-view television program broadcast in Japan.
In March of 1999, the NCAA Midwest Regionals for men’s basketball took center court at The Dome and the Men’s South Region First/Second Round tipped off there in 2002. In 2005, The Dome hosted one of the most prestigious of American sporting extravaganzas – the Final Four. Two Big 12 Conference football championship games have thrilled collegiate football fans at the Dome. New events, like the Supercross motorcycle and monster truck competitions and World Championship Wrestling’s Monday Nitro and pay-per-view wrestling matches opened the doors to a new audience of St. Louis area residents. WCW Monday Nitro at The Dome at America’s Center drew the largest crowd in Missouri state history to watch a wrestling event.
A half-house divider curtain creates a smaller seating area inside The Dome, allowing groups of less than 40,000 attendees, like the National Baptist Convention, to comfortably conduct meetings and religious services. The facility also attracted convention bookings from Primerica Financial Services, whose 35,000 members meet in the Dome, and True Value Hardware dealers who used The Dome’s half-house concert venue for a stadium-sized party.
Retractable seats fold back to provide a smooth wall and convention lighting drops to appropriate heights from the ceiling when The Dome’s exhibit floor is being used for trade shows or meetings. Entire sections of seats move to connect directly with the five exhibit halls in the rest of the complex to create a 502,000 square foot exhibit floor. This huge exhibit space has helped St. Louis annual consumer shows such as the Car, Boat and Sports, and Home & Garden shows to expand.
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