In 1954, James Hilton, president of Iowa State University, put forth the idea of a multi-venue athletic and cultural center. Four years later, the Iowa State University Foundation was created in order to raise money to fulfill this dream. A theater, football stadium, concert hall, multi-purpose event hall, and basketball stadium was built and collectively became known as the Iowa State Center. The basketball arena was named after Hilton and became the Hilton Coliseum, where the Cyclones have played basketball for the past 45 years.
An intimate arena, it feels more like an auditorium, with comfortable plush seats that feel close to the action. Hilton is known as one of the toughest places to play, with a loud and passionate fan base that believe in "Hilton Magic", which has led the Cyclones to a 32-3 record in the past two seasons. This run included a 14-game conference winning streak that has made Hilton Coliseum one of the most difficult places to play in the Big XII. The Red Raiders have not won in Ames since January of 2011, and when the conference went down to 10 teams, Tech travels to the Hilton every season. The Cyclones won 39 straight at home from 1999-2002 that included an 18-0 season in 2000. In the history of the arena, Iowa State has had 4 undefeated seasons at home and twice had only 1 loss. Since 1985, the Cyclone faithful have averaged over 13,000 fans per game in a season 11 times and have sold games out 11 times in the past 2 seasons. The Hilton is an imposing arena for even the most stout teams in the nation.
- First game: December 2nd, 1971 vs Arizona
- Largest Crowd: December 2nd, 1971 vs Arizona (14,510)
- Official Capacity: 14,384
- Original Cost: $8.165 million
- New video boards were installed at a cost of $2.5 million, part of an estimated $60 million in improvements