|Location||333 East Trade Street, Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Broke ground||July 29, 2003|
|Opened||October 21, 2005|
|Owner||City of Charlotte|
|Operator||Hornets Sports & Entertainment|
|Construction cost||$160 Million|
Odell Associates, Inc.
The Freelon Group, Inc.
|Project Manager||PC Sports|
|General Contractor||Hunt/R.J. Leeper|
|Former names||Charlotte Bobcats Arena|
Time Warner Cable Arena
|Tenants||Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets (NBA) (2005–present)|
Charlotte Checkers (ECHL) (2005–2010)
Charlotte Sting (WNBA) (2006)
Charlotte Checkers (AHL) (2010–2015)
(expandable to 20,200)
Ice Hockey: 14,100
Pro-Wrestling: 20,200 (maximum)
Spectrum Center (commonly The Hive), is an entertainment and sports arena located in center city Charlotte, North Carolina. It is owned by the city of Charlotte and operated by the NBA's Charlotte Hornets. It made its grand opening in October 2005 as the Charlotte Bobcats Arena, with a concert by the Rolling Stones. The arena seats 19,077 for NBA games but can be expanded to seat up to 20,200 for college basketball games. Local nicknames for the arena are "The Hive" in tribute to the previous and current Hornets, and "The Cable Box", as a reference to previous naming rights holder Time Warner Cable.
On April 8, 2008, the then-Bobcats announced a naming rights deal with Time Warner Cable, the area's largest cable television provider, renaming the area Time Warner Cable Arena. As part of the renaming deal, the Bobcats ended a somewhat restrictive deal that kept them off satellite and regional cable television for their first four years of existence. The change became effective immediately, with printed tickets for the Bobcats' April 8, 2008 game reflecting the arena's new name and the game airing on FSN South. It was announced that Time Warner Cable Arena would be renamed as the Spectrum Center, after Charter Communications bought Time Warner Cable in May. The new name models Charter Communications' acquisition and renaming of Time Warner Cable.
In 2012, the Spectrum Center served as the main venue for the Democratic National Convention. The arena was scheduled to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, but was removed as the host on July 21, 2016 due to the league's opposition against North Carolina's Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act. The league has said consideration for Charlotte to host the 2019 game will remain open if the North Carolina State Legislature and Governor Pat McCrory make changes to the act that are satisfactory to the league.
History[edit | edit source]
Spectrum Center, then known as Charlotte Bobcats Arena, opened on October 21, 2005, costing $265 million to build. Architects hoped the building would bring the city together, as its location and large outdoor plaza, among other features, would suggest. The building's concourses and open design, plus artwork throughout also suggests the concept of community and socializing. One major feature of the arena during its inaugural year was its original center-hung scoreboard, which was not only the largest scoreboard in any NBA arena when it debuted, but also featured a one-of-a-kind light-up 360 degree 3D mural of the Charlotte skyline.
NBA games[edit | edit source]
The arena hosted its first NBA contest in 2005 and has since been home to numerous victories and defeats, including all Hornets home games. Charlotte's two largest comeback victories have occurred at the building. The Spectrum Center has also hosted the NBA playoffs in 2010, 2014, and 2016.
Other sports[edit | edit source]
Although the arena was built with pro basketball in mind, it's also hosted many other sporting events. As North Carolina is a hotbed for college basketball thanks to constant success between its major universities, it was expected that the arena would host many NCAA basketball games, and that expectation was correct. Notable NCAA basketball games the Spectrum Center has hosted to date include:
- NCAA Tournament: 2008, 2011, 2015
- ACC Men's Basketball Tournament: 2008, 2019 (future)
- Southern Conference men's basketball tournament: 2010
- Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) men's and women's basketball tournaments: 2006–present.
The Charlotte 49ers basketball teams have tentatively agreed to play a number of high-profile games at the arena over several seasons.
Tenants[edit | edit source]
Spectrum Center has had two other permanent tenants besides the Hornets in its history, one for almost a decade.
The Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL vacated historic Bojangles Coliseum to play in the new arena in fall 2005. When the ECHL Checkers gave way to an American Hockey League team with the same name, they remained at the arena. Although primarily built for basketball, the arena can accommodate an NHL-sized ice hockey rink. The seating capacity for hockey was 14,100 in an asymmetrical seating arrangement, with much of the upper level curtained off. This resulted in a lot of seats with poor sightlines; over 4,000 seats in the hockey configuration had obstructed views. Primarily because of those factors, on December 16, 2014, it was announced the Checkers would move back to Bojangles Coliseum starting with the 2015–16 AHL season. Overall, both incarnations of the Checkers played 10 seasons at the arena.
The WNBA's Charlotte Sting moved with the then-Bobcats to the arena in 2005, becoming the building's third permanent tenant. However, they only played one season at their new home in 2006 before folding in early 2007. This was due to low attendance and a lack of on-court success.
Renovations[edit | edit source]
Little to no renovations were made to the arena during much of its existence, mostly due to its young age. However, in September 2014, the Charlotte city council agreed to give the Hornets $34 million for arena renovations that would take place in the coming years. This was partially due to the upcoming All-Star Game.
On January 24, 2015, the Hornets announced and unveiled images of a new scoreboard to be installed in summer 2016, costing $7 million. The board's new screens measure out at 25' high by 42' wide and 18' high by 31' wide, approximately, making it almost twice the size of the original board and among the NBA's largest. The screens will also be able to handle 1080p resolution, something unique to the NBA. Two smaller "underbelly" screens will also be included. In addition, the scoreboard will be able to change colors and have a visible 'hive' motif built-in throughout its design. It was also announced that four retractable auxiliary scoreboards will be installed in the corners of the upper level and finally, 360° ribbon boards are scheduled to be installed as well. Construction will be completed by the start of the 2016–17 NBA season. Also announced were plans for the renovation of the visitors locker room, suites, and other rooms. This marks the first major renovations to the Spectrum Center in its history.
Controversy[edit | edit source]
The arena was originally intended to host the Charlotte Hornets back in the early 2000s. The Charlotte Coliseum was outdated, despite being only 13 years old, and the team wanted a new arena closer to the city, and with amenities found in arenas built after the Coliseum.
In 2001, a non-binding public referendum for an arts package, which included money to build the new uptown arena, was placed on the ballot for voters; it was placed in order to demonstrate what was believed to be widespread public support for new arena construction. The arts package would have been funded with the issuance of bonds by the city.
This resulted in opposition, with many feeling that the city should not fund a new arena at all due to the Coliseum's relatively young age. Then-mayor Pat McCrory vetoed a living wage ordinance just days before the referendum. As a result, Helping Empower Local People, a grass-roots organization supporting a living wage, launched a campaign to oppose the arena, arguing that it was immoral for the city to build a new arena when city workers didn't earn enough to make a living. The referendum failed with 43% for building the arena and 57% opposed.
City leaders then devised a way to build a new arena in a way that did not require voter support, but let it be known that they wouldn't consider building it unless then-Hornets' owner George Shinn sold the team. While even the NBA acknowledged that Shinn had alienated fans, NBA officials felt such a statement would anger other team owners. As it turned out, the NBA approved the Hornets' application to move to New Orleans. However, the league promised that the city would get a new team—which became the Bobcats—as part of the deal.
As of|2005, the total cost of the arena to Charlotte and Mecklenburg County was not known, but estimated at around $260 million. The construction was approved by the city council, which did not opt to present another referendum to the public. In early 2006, the arena was again the center of controversy as the Bobcats charged a $15,000 fee to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for graduation ceremonies held at the building. The fee was eventually waived following a story in The Charlotte Observer concerning the fees; however, many high schools in the area moved graduations to Bojangles' Coliseum.
[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- "Ellerbe Becket - Time Warner Cable Arena".
- Charlotte Arena Quick Facts. Charlotte Bobcats. Retrieved on September 13, 2016.
- Muret, Don (November 14, 2005). "Carolina Character". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved on September 13, 2016.
- Cranston, Mike. "Time Warner gets naming rights for Bobcats Arena", WCNC-TV, April 7, 2008. Retrieved on April 7, 2008.
- "Deals Widen Bobcats' TV Reach", April 9, 2008. Retrieved on April 16, 2008.
- Charlotte Hornets (August 17, 2016). Charlotte Hornets Announce Arena To Be Renamed "Spectrum Center". Press release. Retrieved on September 13, 2016.
- Time Warner Cable Arena (August 17, 2016). Hornets Announce Arena to be Renamed Spectrum Center. Press release. Retrieved on September 13, 2016.
- Peralta, Katherine. "Charlotte Hornets' home arena changing name to Spectrum Center", August 17, 2016. Retrieved on September 13, 2016.
- Spanberg, Erik. "Charlotte to follow Denver as host city of Democratic National Convention", Denver Business Journal, February 1, 2011. Retrieved on February 1, 2011.
- Ananth Pandian. "Report: Charlotte will host 2017 NBA All-Star Game", CBS Sports, June 22, 2015. Retrieved on September 13, 2016.
- Preston, Ken. "Carolina Hurricanes to Host 2011 NHL All-Star Game", Carolina Hurricanes, April 8, 2010. Retrieved on September 13, 2016.
- Mahoney, Brian. "NBA moving All-Star Game out of Charlotte, cites LGBT law", National Basketball Association, July 21, 2016. Retrieved on September 14, 2016.
- "NBA All-Star Game pulled from Charlotte over HB2 law", Sports Illustrated, 21 July 2016. Retrieved on 21 July 2016.
- Cranston, Mike. "WNBA Franchise Charlotte Sting Folds", January 3, 2007. Retrieved on September 13, 2016.
- Spanberg, Erik. "Council backs $34M for Charlotte Hornets' arena", Charlotte Business Journal, September 8, 2014. Retrieved on September 13, 2016.
- "Hornets Introduce New Scoreboard Design", Charlotte Hornets, February 24, 2016. Retrieved on September 13, 2016.
- Kiser, Bill. "Hornets unveil design for new $7 million scoreboard, rave about its unique features", February 24, 2016. Retrieved on September 13, 2016.
- World Class City, Third World Paycheck. Creative Loafing Charlotte – Archives.
- "Council willing to amend 'new owner' statement", ESPN.com, February 16, 2002.
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