Fun Facts on Hilton
Opened: Dec. 2, 1971
Construction cost: $8.15 million
Named for: Dr. James H. Hilton, President of Iowa State University from 1953-65
Location: within one days’ drive of Des Moines (30 miles), Omaha (131), Minneapolis (204), Kansas City (208), Milwaukee (290), St. Louis (295) and Chicago (307)
Capacities: multiple floor plans available, but approximate capacities are 15,000 (35% in 100 level and 65% in 200 level) for concerts and 14,356 for basketball games
Total square footage: 241,672 gross, Arena Floor – 22,485 sq. ft.
Floor to roof height: 79 feet, 6 inches
First event: agricultural conference
First athletics event: men’s basketball game between Iowa State and Arizona (ISU won 71-54)
NCAA championships hosted: wrestling in 1974, 1979, 1982, 1988 and 1993
The story behind the nickname: “Hilton Magic”, the power of the Coliseum faithful to produce unexpected victories, was first recognized by Des Moines Register sportswriter Buck Turnbull. On a Feb. 14, 1989, showdown with No. 3 Missouri, the Cyclones conjured up the spirit of the Hilton crowd to produce a stunning 82-75 victory. The following day’s headline read “Hilton Magic Spells ‘Upset’ One More Time.” In the article, Turnbull called for more “Hilton Magic” in the Cyclones’ upcoming bout with Oklahoma State, which had pummeled ISU 102-74 just three weeks earlier. On cue, “Hilton Magic” displayed its powers as the Cyclones defeated the Cowboys, 90-81, marking a 37-point reversal from the prior meeting. More than two decades later, the term “Hilton Magic” continues to represent the Cyclones’ mystical powers in their home gym.