In Houston, Arena Operating Company, manager of The
Summit, has reached an agreement with Houston-based Compaq
Computer Corp. in which The Summit will be renamed Compaq
Center. Through the deal, Compaq will provide $5.4M over
the next six years to upgrade the arena, including updating
the telescreens, installing a new ice floor, replacing light
fixtures, recovering the seats and upgrading the elevators
and escalators. The renaming of the arena is subject to
approval from the Houston City Council (Compaq).
COMPAQ COMPETING? In Houston, John Williams writes that
one of the Rockets' corporate partners is Compaq "rival"
Hewlett-Packard. Hewlett-Packard holds advertising rights
inside the arena during Rockets games. Williams reports
that Rockets officials "were unclear" about whether they
would "try to prevent" Compaq from advertising inside the
arena. In other news, Compaq officials said that "they will
explore putting computers at fans' seats so patrons can get
statistical updates and, possibly, order food and drinks"
(John Williams, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/10).
Turner Sports & Entertainment unveiled design plans
yesterday for its $213M development project in downtown
Atlanta, which includes a new arena for the Hawks and
Atlanta's new NHL expansion team. The arena, and the
surrounding 12-acre development, is scheduled to be
completed in September of '99. The arena will be built on
the former site of the Omni Coliseum (TBS). In Atlanta,
Unger & Saporta wrote that the arena will have "steel
trusses supporting three sweeping roofs that resemble cards
being fanned." The trusses will spell out "Atlanta" on one
side and "CNN" on the other. Braves & Hawks President Stan
Kasten: "We wanted it to be instantly recognizable and to
make a statement -- at least as recognizable as the Sydney
Opera House." The new arena's luxury suites will be "open"
with no glass and will also be "stacked vertically," instead
of horizontally around the arena, so fans will be "closer to
the action." Also, 60% of the seats are either in the lower
level or premium area (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/9). The
Hawks will play their home games at both the Georgia Dome
and on the campus of Georgia Tech ("Fox Sports News,"
10/9). For a visual of the plan, see www.accessatlanta.com.
In today's WALL STREET JOURNAL, John Helyar writes on
the "new wave of arenas ... aiming to restore a sense of
intimacy and to get rank-and-file fans back in the game by
giving them a better view." Helyar: "The Pacers may be the
boldest players in this movement, having broken ground on a
throwback arena designed to look like a high-school field
house." Yesterday in Atlanta, TBS announced plans for a new
arena "that will confine all suites to one side of the bowl
and thereby offer much better seats to the suiteless on the
other." In Toronto, the Maple Leafs "have ordered their
architect to create 'the Camden Yards of hockey.'" Janet
Marie Smith, the design chief behind Camden Yards, "has now
turned her attention to arenas, heading up the planning for
Atlanta's and consulting on Indiana's." Helyar writes that
the Indiana Fieldhouse "will ooze nostalgia" from the '20s,
with "metal seat-section signs printed with an old-style
font; vintage-looking advertising signs; a scoreboard with
an old-fashioned nondigital clock; even a section with
pullout bleachers" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/10).