Rockford MetroCentre
300 Elm Street
Rockford, IL 61101

On January 31, 1981, Dionne Warwick took the stage to a sold out crowd in the first ever performance at the new Rockford MetroCentre. Since then thousands of artists and events have performed at the venue including concerts from every musical genre, sporting events, comedy shows and family entertainment. The MetroCentre is also home to the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs and the Continental Indoor Football's Rock River Raptors.

With a population of 1.1 million individuals within a 50-mile radius, Rockford is strategically positioned as a mid-point between Chicago, Moline, Madison, and Milwaukee, allowing the MetroCentre to act as a central recreational hub for these communities. By 2006 the 26-year-old facility had begun to show its age and with more than $200 million being spent to build or renovate other venues within a 90 mile radius, it was clear that competition was becoming fierce. To continue to attract patrons from outside the Rockford region and to maintain a venue the citizens of Rockford could be proud of, changes needed to be made.

In November of 2006 the MetroCentre Authority, in partnership with the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, unveiled plans for a $23 million MetroCentre renovation. Renovation plans focus on enhancing the patron experience, attracting corporate clientele, increasing revenue-generating amenities, and increasing awareness in the region.

The MetroCentre renovation began in the summer of 2007. Projects already completed include a state-of-the-art video scoreboard, Club Boxes, Club Lounge, 200-person Group Terrace additional bathrooms, and new concession stands and food courts. Other amenities to be completed in 2008 include an exterior façade update, new box office and main entrance, 11 Luxury Corporate Suites, and a retail center. RENOVATION PHOTOS

But renovations to the facility were only part of the plan. To further enhance the patron experience, the MetroCentre Authority completed the purchase of an American Hockey League franchise in February of 2007. The AHL is the minor league for the National Hockey League and regarded as the second-best hockey league in the world. The next move was the purchase of the IceHogs name from the previous owners. As the final piece of the hat trick, the MetroCentre Authority entered into an unprecedented 10-year affiliation agreement with the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks. Now Rockford IceHogs fans enjoy a higher caliber of hockey with future stars of the NHL and rivalries with teams from cities such as Chicago, Portland, Houston, and Philadelphia.

From November of 2007 through July of 2008, the MetroCentre had its most successful season ever, with eight different sold out performances including Brad Paisley, Kelly Clarkson and Reba McIntire, Thunder Nationals Monster Truck Racing, Disney High School Musical the Ice Tour and three IceHogs games. The MetroCentre also was among one of first venues in North America to host Walking with Dinosaurs, the Live Experience. The show featuring 15 life-sized, realistic animatronic dinosaurs shattered MetroCentre box office records and brought thousands of patrons from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and beyond to witness the incredible performances.

As the renovations continue through 2008, the future of the facility beams brighter than ever before. The IceHogs continue to infect the region with their winning brand of hockey while drawing attention from across the nation. The MetroCentre is building on the successes of the past year and will continue work to bring world class entertainment to the Rockford Region.