“We are beyond excited to see construction begin on the new Philips Arena. Every element of the arena under the roof will be brand new and designed with Atlanta and its vibrant communities in mind. Every trip to the new arena will be a great night out and an unbelievable experience.”
Those are the words of Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, as the organization revealed plans for the previously announced renovation of Philips Arena. The unveiling, which is not scheduled to be complete until just prior to the 2018-2019 NBA season (without missing any games during the 2017-2018 campaign), came with the bells and whistles that you would expect, as well as many more.
Among the highlights will be a restaurant idea inspired by musician Zac brown, a “SWAG” barbershop from the vision of rapper Killer Mike and even a golf simulator suite designed by the good folks at Topgolf.
In response to those initiatives, Koonin said the following:
“The ability to partner with Zac Brown and Killer Mike, who are both passionate about their love for the city of Atlanta and wanted to create these amazing destinations inside Philips Arena for the fans, is truly special. Zac has the innate understanding of how great music and a good meal can enhance any outing. Mike has made a lifestyle business with strong values and important impact locally. How Topgolf has merged the premium experience of play, music, sports and dining into a social phenomenon is remarkable and aligns well with the vision for our arena. We are fortunate to have such talented and innovative partners to help us create a dynamic fan experience that is authentic and appealing to fans of all ages and tastes.”
Among the more “standard” renovations will be the removal of the six-level wall of suites that was a trademark of the original design. They will be replaced by a more modern suite set-up and, for the first time, fans will be able to walk 360 degrees around the upper level of the arena, as stadium seating will be installed above the suite area.
Beyond that, there are plans for the removal of many walls around the arena to improve sight lines and a new center-hung scoreboard will be at the center of it all. The arena renovation will also feature a widespread technology upgrade that will feature high-definition screens both in the bowl and concourse, with the Hawks announcing that this will be the second-largest renovation in NBA history.
The $192.5 million renovation will also feature a first of its kind idea courtside, as the Hawks plan to install a bar that is within just a few feet of the floor itself.
The courtside bar takes the headlines but the overall suite and bar upgrades throughout the arena clearly cater to a broader audience. Hawks COO Thad Sheely, in addressing the assembled crowd, indicated that "people don't want to be confined to their seats anymore,” and that he believes the sentiment is “true for our high-end season-ticket holders, as well."
As far as off-court items, the organization also introduced a 250-seat master conference room and four “breakout” rooms that come with the use of touch screen technology and top-level amenities for business operation. This provides the arena with multi-use ability that can potentially aid in generating additional revenue beyond the basketball floor.
When coupled with the new practice facility scheduled to open shortly and the expansion G-League franchise, the Atlanta Hawks are really taking things to another level when it comes to infrastructure. Just how soon the basketball product can ascend to that top-tier level remains to be seen but this is a tremendous start for the organization.