SBD/Issue 34/Facilities & VenuesPrint All
Magic Playing First Regular-Season Game At
Amway Center Tonight Against Wizards
Orlando city officials and Magic employees "have spent weeks making sure that Amway Center will be ready" for tonight's home opener, but even after "countless dry runs and four preseason exhibitions, no one can definitively answer a fundamental question: Just how loud will the new arena be when the Magic play a game that counts,” according to Josh Robbins of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Magic fan Dennis Salvagio said, "The new arena, with its mezzanine, with its skyboxes, breaks up the crowd. And although I think the crowd remains the best crowd in the NBA, I don't think the building is susceptible to echoing the noise as well as the old arena did." Magic President Alex Martins said that the arena's architects "paid extra care to the building's acoustics." The lower bowl's “exposed concrete has been treated with special tiles,” and “special banners hang from the rafters to accentuate the sound.” But Robbins noted all of the "acoustic touches in the world won't make much of a difference if the crowd doesn't focus on the game." The $480M building “features so many amenities -- including a full-service restaurant called Jernigan's, touchscreen TV sets for loge-level patrons and a kids' zone named after the team mascot -- that fans will be tempted to divert their attention away from the court” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/27). In Orlando, Zach McCann notes with “all of the places to see in the new arena, it’s a genuine concern that fans won’t be in their seats enough during the game.” The “array of restaurants, Stuff’s Magic Castle, and the Fan Zone” make it “easy to get sidetracked from the actual basketball game” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/28). There also are “about 300 pieces of artwork inside and outside” Amway Center (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/28). The Magic have “sold more than 14,000 season tickets, a franchise record” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/27).
HOME SWEET HOME: In a special to the ORLANDO SENTINEL, Martins writes Amway Center is “an iconic building for those who call Central Florida home.” It is the “most technologically advanced arena in North America, featuring 1,100 digital monitors and the tallest, most capable video-board in an NBA venue.” The “environmentally-friendly building” is the “first designed and originally constructed LEED-certified basketball arena in the country.” Martins: “In short, we have the best arena in North America. Serving as the developer of the new Amway Center, we at the Orlando Magic poured our heart and soul into its creation. … As we tip-off our new season tonight, take a moment to enjoy your new Amway Center, and think about the legend that has been created for our children and grandchildren” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/28).
Stern (l) Says NBA May Take
Draft To Other Cities In Future
The NBA last night announced that it will host the '11 NBA Draft at Prudential Center, moving it from MSG "for the first time" since '01 while the Manhattan arena undergoes renovations, according to Brian Lewis of the N.Y. POST. MSG will be under construction for the next three summers, and NBA Commissioner David Stern last night said that Newark "outbid other cites to host the event," to be held next year on June 23. Stern notes that the NBA may take the draft "to other cities in the future." He said, "We don't have a place to hold the next draft. ... But we have a lot of attractive offers" (N.Y. POST, 10/28). Stern: "The fact that (the Garden wasn't available), it gave us the capacity to begin talking to other cities and it changed our perspective a little bit because the draft has become a really culturally different event" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/28). Stern said, "With the Nets coming here and the excitement in Newark we thought it was the time to have the draft here" (Bergen RECORD, 10/27). The commissioner "did not guarantee that the draft would return to the Garden once construction is complete." He said, "We have 30 franchises, we've got 28 great metropolitan areas and we'll see where it goes from there" (ESPNNEWYORK.com, 10/27).
ARE YOU READY TO ROCK? The Nets drew 15,178 fans to Prudential Center last night for their season opener against the Pistons, the team's first home game in Newark since relocating from Izod Center after last season. In Newark, David Giambusso noted the Nets' planned two-year stay in the city before relocating to Brooklyn is "expected to draw heavy traffic to the area," and sources said that the NBA has been "working closely with city officials to help spur economic growth in the downtown area" (NJ.com, 10/27). Prudential Center officials estimate that the Nets' 39 regular-season games at the arena -- along with a "beefed up calendar of concerts -- will generate roughly $5 million in business this year for surrounding bars, restaurants and attractions" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 10/28).
The city of Escondido, Calif. yesterday, hours before it held a forum on plans to build a ballpark for the Padres' Triple-A team, released a "city-commissioned report outlining construction of a complex that includes the sports venue, more than 3,200 homes, two hotels and 760,000 square feet of commercial and retail space," according to J. Harry Jones of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. The 150-acre Sports Entertainment District "would be a major undertaking that could take well over a decade to complete." The London Group, which prepared the study, "didn't offer a price tag for the overall project, but it did estimate that roughly $180 million could be borrowed in bonds based on the projected tax revenues generated." Escondido officials said that there "appears to be widespread community support for the general idea of building a ballpark to house the baseball team." Most critics "agree the concept is exciting, but they draw the line at the complicated financing plan that would essentially use much of the city's redevelopment money for the next decade to pay for construction and associated expenses." Jones notes the 9,000-seat, roughly $50M ballpark would be home to the Triple-A PCL Portland Beavers, as they are currently known. A group of investors led by Padres Vice Chair & CEO Jeff Moorad "has agreed to buy the Beavers and move them to Escondido in time for the 2012 season, should the ballpark be ready by then." Negotiations are "continuing between Escondido officials and Moorad's group." A majority of the City Council "has said it needs more details before deciding whether to finalize the deal" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/28).
WORTH THE RISK? The London Group President Gary London said that the "increased redevelopment property tax revenue" from office buildings, retail development and housing would amount to $12.2M per year. London said that this revenue "would allow the city to pay back the money borrowed to build the ballpark and have millions left over for other development" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 10/28). Escondido officials said that "no deal will be in place until the council votes Nov. 30." City Manager Clay Phillips said that the site "would need to be cleared eventually for another development if plans for the city to spend $50 million building the ballpark fall through." So city officials "recently sent an eviction notice to North County Interfaith's drug and alcohol treatment center, which is next to the public works yard on Spruce Street." The City Council also was "scheduled to approve spending $5 million in redevelopment money" yesterday "for 4 acres now occupied by a plumbing company next to the public works site." Critics contend that city officials "would not be acting so aggressively if they had doubts about how the council will vote Nov. 30 on the ballpark" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 10/27).