Harrah's Cherokee Center

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

The organizers of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, one of the most prestigious and well-known men's college basketball tournaments, have announced the 2020 edition will be played at the Harrah's Cherokee Center Asheville due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville

Long awaited renovations to the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in Asheville would 'totally transform' the building, but come with a hefty price tag - $100 million.  The designs for those changes were unveiled Wednesday evening at the facility.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Officials from the city of Asheville and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians celebrated the renaming of the Asheville Civic Center as the Harrah’s Cherokee Center - Asheville at an event Friday afternoon.  The name change officially took place ten days prior on January 1st.  

Matt Bush

Last month, Harrah’s Cherokee was awarded the naming rights for the U-S Cellular Center in Asheville. The organization’s bid offered $3.25 million over the next five years.

General manager of Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center Chris Corl said a little over $300 thousand a year from those increased funds will go towards renovating the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. The auditorium has not been updated since 1975. The main entrance for performers used to be a window that was converted into a door about 40 inches tall.

 

At the end of lengthy meeting Tuesday night, Asheville city council awarded the naming rights to what is now the U.S. Cellular Center to Harrah’s Cherokee.   On January 1st of next year, the facility will be called Harrah's Cherokee Center Asheville.  The complex includes the ExploreAsheville.com Arena, the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, and an exhibition hall and a banquet hall.