Tag Archives: Terence Crawford

Omaha is a Pro When it Comes to Amateur Sports

January 21, 2019 by

Anybody who knows anything about Omaha’s sports history knows the name Bob Gibson. One of Omaha’s most notable athletes, Gibson started as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters in 1957; everyone expected him to have a future in the National Basketball Association. After all, he was a standout basketball player at Technical High School and later Creighton University.  But Gibson’s career changed to baseball when the St. Louis Cardinals offered him a contract. In 1959, he made his Major League Baseball debut.

One of the highlights of Gibson’s pitching career was a recorded 17 strikeouts during Game 1 of the 1968 World Series. Gibson’s success that season sparked fundamental changes in the rules of baseball—sometimes known as the “Gibson Rules.” The MLB lowered the pitcher’s mound by five inches and reduced the strike zone height from the batter’s armpits to his jersey letters. Who would have thought a kid from Omaha would one day have such an impact on the game?

Throughout Omaha’s history, local fans have cheered homegrown athletes like Gibson, NFL Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, NBA player Kyle Korver, and welterweight world champion Terence Crawford as they climbed the sports ladder to become professional athletes. Today, Omaha continues to embrace amateur athletes and their fans as the city hosts events such as the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, NCAA basketball, volleyball tournaments, wrestling tournaments, and the NCAA Men’s College World Series.

The city even embraces the youngest of athletes during events like Slumpbusters, a little league tournament that attracts more than 500 youth baseball teams from across the country. In February each year, Omaha hosts more than 400 high school teams from across the country for the annual President’s Day Volleyball tournament. Youth sporting events use baseball fields, volleyball courts, and sporting facilities throughout the metro area.   

These sporting events are fun for young athletes and their families, but are also good for business. When an out-of-state team competes in Omaha, the team, their fans, out-of-town media, and officials stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, and shop in stores. In fact, recent research revealed a party of three visiting Omaha for a sporting event, on average, stays four days and spends $1,298—that’s more than the average business traveler, or average family of three visiting for a fun weekend, typically spends.

The next time you are sitting in the stands watching a basketball game, cheering at a baseball tournament, or witnessing an amazing swimming performance, keep this in mind—you may be sitting next to a visitor who is helping to boost Omaha’s economy as you both cheer on the next generation of hall-of-famers.

Keith Backsen is executive director of the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau

Keith Backsen is executive director of the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau

This column was printed in the February/March 2019 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Creative Concessions

January 8, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

When visiting Century Link Center to cheer on Creighton’s Jays, marvel at Terence Crawford’s muscle, behold Olympic swim trial backstrokes, or sing along to Janet, Taylor, Ozzy, and Elton’s every lyric, gourmet food often isn’t on your dancecard for the evening.

It soon might be. Levy Restaurants’ latest menu makes dining at the C-Link less afterthought and more main event.

Creative-Concessions-3Sure, the arena offers chicken fingers and popcorn, but customers will also find unique artisan eats. Brad Howard, assistant director of operations for Levy Restaurants in Omaha, wants folks to skip the pre-show restaurant rush. 

“We want to make it a destination, where people plan to eat here at a game or concert. We see each stand as a mini-restaurant, not a concessions concept,” says Howard, whose team re-envisions the menu annually and continually adjusts based on requests and item reception.

New items include bruschetta fries, hot medium-cut fries under a cold blend of fresh tomatoes and herbs, perfectly balanced pesto, and balsamic reduction drizzle. This pairs well with the meatball sub, meatballs made from both beef and pork served on a sturdy bun with provolone and marinara, dusted with parmesan and herbs.

“We’re excited to offer more fresh, from-scratch items. We’re all about incorporating a restaurant mentality into the concession world,” says Sous Chef Darren Hill, adding they’ve worked to ensure the menu’s homemade aspect doesn’t slow production, allowing customers a quick return to their seats.

Most items, including sauces, are housemade. All the burgers are hand-pattied.

The whiskey barbecue burger stands out. A potato bun houses a half-pound Omaha Steaks burger topped with cheddar, bacon, caramelized onion, and whiskey-barbecue sauce. A turkey burger infused with basil and mozzarella comes with roasted red peppers and smoked aioli. These are both crowned with a pepper and served with fries.

Creative-Concessions-`The brisket waffle fries resemble high-class poutine. Nicely crisped waffle fries are topped with cheddar-barbecue sauce, house-smoked brisket, pico de gallo, and barbecue-crema drizzle. The pico provides these cheese fries with freshness, and the brisket provides substance that impressively renders this popular snack into a well-rounded meal.       

An oblong-shaped flatbread pizza comes in margherita or a combination with pepperoni and sausage on it, each with marinara on crisp baked-in-house flatbread brushed with herb-infused oil.   

Alongside reuben and turkey reuben sandwiches are reuben fritters: corned beef, sauerkraut, and cheese breaded with rye and panko bread crumbs, served with a side of Thousand Island and an order of chips.

The blueberry brat is a continued 2014 item—a Stoysich blueberry bratwurst served with fresh jalapeno and savory/sweet maple-bacon jam. One needn’t be a Bluejays fan to enjoy this local-focused gem. 

Adult beer floats are as awesome as they sound: Two scoops of vanilla afloat in a choice of Guinness, Lindeman’s Raspberry Lambic, Root Cellars’ Alcoholic Root Beer, Green Flash Double Stout, or Brickway Chocolate Coffee Stout. Floats are joined by three adult sundaes: s’mores, Guinness-brownie, and chocolate mint avalanche.

These and other delicious dishes may have people indiscriminately buying tickets to whatever, just to indulge in the food. Bon appetit, arena-goers! Encounter

Visit centurylinkcenteromaha.com for more information.