It's about finding a destination that's fresh and creating new experiences for your attendees. Omaha has been called a hidden gem, a young convention destination that has built an impressive resume of surprising people.
Host of both the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, in just 10 days the team at CenturyLink Center Omaha - the city's convention center and arena - transformed the facility into two Olympic-sized pools, flanked by shooting flames and an indoor waterfall. The fans, athletes and planners called it "one of the greatest environments ever" for the event. Add to that a city that embraced visitors and made them feel special from the minute they walked off the plane - opera singers in the airport, a gigantic 3-D swimmer emerging out of the ground in front of Mutual of Omaha's national headquarters, massive window displays spanning several stories, and the first sell-out crowd in Swim Trials history.
What makes the story even better is that in 2012, at the same time Olympians Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte were competing in the water in front of 12,000 spectators, Arizona and South Carolina were battling it out on the field. Directly across the street in TD Ameritrade Park, the championships for the NCAA Men's College World Series were being played - a down-to-the wire game with 24,000 people in attendance. ESPN was at the ballpark broadcasting the championship game to a national audience while NBC was across the street providing live coverage of the Swim Trials during prime time - an unprecedented event in a city dedicated to creating memories.
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