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The Arena Is Ready

March 6, 2014, 6:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

The Arena Is Ready

March Madness is in the air and excitement is building for this weekend's Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls. But hidden in all the hype is a lot of work behind the scenes.

The hoops are up and the chairs are down. There's very little left up in the air. 

Arena staff has been readying the Sioux Falls Arena for this weekend's Summit League Tournament for months now.

"One of the biggest things we have to do is clear out virtually all of our store rooms, move equipment around that gets stuffed over into the Convention Center, some things that are waterproof end up over under the seats at Howard Wood Field," SMG General Manager Terry Torkildson said.

Some rooms have been transformed into press and interview rooms for players and coaches after the games.

"As far as things for Wi-Fi, phones for media, running power out for press row is all done by our staff here," Torkildson said.

That staff is less than 40 people.

If you ask the commissioner of the Summit League, he'll tell you all the hard work that goes into putting on this basketball spectacle, is paying off.

Commissioner Tom Douple says he can't go anywhere in Sioux Falls without someone talking about the Summit League Tournament. The national exposure the city gets out of hosting the tournament is priceless.

"Obviously, this tournament has been our capstone, it's been fabulous, but it's been a lot of work for a lot of folks in this community who have really stepped up," Douple said.

The Arena staff is used to stepping up to transform the arena for events including concerts and hockey games, but nothing like what's needed for the Summit League Tournament.

"This one has a little higher level, because of the national attention, on national TV, so everyone has to be perfect," Torkildson said.

Torkildson says the arena staff had three extra days this year to prepare for the tournament, because there were no Stampede hockey games scheduled for this week.

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