Kohl Center is the second biggest arena in the state of Wisconsin and has served as the home of the University of Wisconsin's hockey and basketball teams since opening in 1998. The venue was built to replace Wisconsin Fieldhouse as the home of the Badgers' basketball team as well as Dane County Coliseum, the previous home of Wisconsin's ice hockey team. After donating twenty-five million dollars to the school that was used for the construction of the arena, the venue was named after Senator Herb Kohl in a show of gratitude for the instrumental role he played in getting the arena built. Just prior to the 2006 men's basketball season got underway the University of Wisconsin sold 46 court side seats for $10,000 and $12, 500 a piece and the seats sold out immediately.
Kohl Center is home to many of the best and most exciting college hockey and basketball games in the country, but it also offers much more including concerts courtesy of some of the biggest musical acts in the world. Additionally, Kohl Center is home to the Wisconsin boys and girls high school basketball championships along with the high school wrestling championships. The revered venue has also hosted the the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Regional Rounds, the NCAA women's volleyball championship, and the NCAA Men's Hockey Tournament Regional Rounds. Each year the Varsity Band Spring Concert is one of the most successful and popular events at Kohl Center aside from Badgers hockey and basketball bringing in more than in 25,000 visitors over the course of the three day affair.
Madison is the capital and second largest city in Wisconsin. The city has been ranked second in the country in terms of education and in addition to the University of Wisconsin is home to three other institutions of higher learning including Madison Media Institute, Madison Area Technical College, and Edgewood College. It is regularly ranked as one of the best places in the country to live and was chosen the number one place in the United States to live in 1996. The Madison Symphony Orchestra, The Madison Opera, Forward Theater, and other performing arts companies provide ample cultural opportunities for residents and visitors to Madison.
Kohl Center seats more than 15,300 for hockey and over 17,200 for basketball. Since opening Kohl Center has been regarded as one of the top venues in the country for college sports and the large students section combined with the loud and loyal horde of local fans and alumni provide the Badgers with a nearly insurmountable home court and home ice advantage. There is possibly no better place to enjoy a college basketball or hockey game in the country, and as the Badgers are regular contenders in both sports they are guaranteed to give fans plenty to cheer about.
In 2008 Kohl Center hosted the Jeopardy! College Championship along with the opening and closing ceremonies of the Science Olympiad National Tournament in 2011. In 2008 on the eve of the Wisconsin primary, Barack Obama delivered a campaign speech at Kohl Center. In 2005 a restaurant and bar were added to the second floor of Kohl Center and this area now provides a meeting area for boosters and other donators to meet before the games. Kohl Center is the proud owner of the highest average attendance in both men's and women's college hockey.