Amway Arena: Wikis

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Amway Arena
O-Rena, The Jungle
TDWaterhouseCentre.jpg
The then-TD Waterhouse Centre in May 2006
Former names Orlando Arena (1989–2000)
TD Waterhouse Centre (2000–2006)
The arena in Orlando (December 1-December 6, 2006)
Location 600 West Amelia Street, Orlando, Florida 32801–1107
Coordinates 28°32′56″N 81°23′12″W / 28.54889°N 81.38667°W / 28.54889; -81.38667Coordinates: 28°32′56″N 81°23′12″W / 28.54889°N 81.38667°W / 28.54889; -81.38667
Opened January 29, 1989
Owner City of Orlando
Operator Orlando Venues
Construction cost $110 million (USD)
Architect Lloyd Jones Philpot; Cambridge Seven
Capacity Basketball: 17,519
Arena Football: 15,924
Ice hockey: 15,948
Circus: 15,788
Ice Skating: 16,882
Concerts:
  • 17,740 (end stage)
  • 18,039 (center stage)
Tenants
Orlando Magic (NBA) (1989–2010)
Orlando Titans (NLL) (2010)
Orlando Predators (AFL) (1991–2008, 2010)
Orlando Sharks (MISL (2007–2008)
Orlando Miracle (WNBA) (1999–2002)
Orlando Solar Bears (IHL) (1995–2001)
Orlando Seals (ACHL/WHA2) (2002–2004)

Amway Arena (formerly known as the Orlando Arena, TD Waterhouse Centre, and The arena in Orlando [1], and colloquially known by the nickname of O-Rena) is an indoor arena in Orlando, Florida. It is part of the Orlando Centroplex, a sports and entertainment complex located in downtown Orlando. The arena is home to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League and the Orlando Titans of the National Lacrosse League. It also hosts the PlayStation Pro event on the Dew Action Sports Tour and the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus annually, along with various concerts and other events.

Contents

History

The logo as TD Waterhouse Centre

Construction was completed in 1989 at a cost of $110 million - entirely publicly financed. The arena officially opened on January 29, 1989 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and public open house featuring the Orlando Magic Dancers and Curly Neal[2].

In 1991, the facility was voted "Arena of the Year" by Performance Magazine. It was also nominated for "Best Indoor Concert Venue" in the Pollstar Concert Industry Awards.

The arena originally seated 15,291 but all the original seats were replaced with narrower ones between 1994 and 1995, increasing capacity by over 2,000[3]. The arena currently seats 17,519 for basketball.

In 1999, TD Waterhouse, a division of Canadian finance company Toronto Dominion, purchased naming rights to the Orlando Arena at a cost of $7.8 million for five years. The building was then renamed to TD Waterhouse Centre (utilizing Canadian spelling). Before the Orlando Arena's naming rights were sold, the other two buildings in the Orlando Centroplex—Orlando Expo Centre and Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre--utilized that spelling as well, so it was more than simply the fact that TD Waterhouse is a Canadian company that the building used the "Centre" spelling.

The nickname of the building for Predator games is "The Jungle". During the 2005-2006 AFL seasons, the facility was referred to as Hummer Field at TD Waterhouse Centre.

The naming rights with TD Waterhouse expired on November 30, 2006, and TD Ameritrade, which bought TD Waterhouse's U.S. operations earlier in the year, chose not to renew them. The venue was briefly known as "The Arena in Orlando" before a new naming rights contract was signed, a period of approximately one week. On December 7, 2006 it was announced that Amway would become the new sponsor at a cost of $1.5 million over 4 years, or $375,000 a year, renaming the building as Amway Arena. As part of the deal, Amway received an initial exclusive option to negotiate for the right to name Orlando's new arena, which had just been announced. The new arena would go on to be named Amway Center. Amway founder Richard DeVos also owns the Orlando Magic team.

Former tenants of the arena include the IHL's Orlando Solar Bears, Orlando Seals, RHI's Orlando Jackals, and Orlando Sharks. On August 22, 2004, the City of Orlando evicted the Seals, a minor league hockey team, from the TD Waterhouse Centre. They were forced to sit out the first season of Southern Professional Hockey League play for 2004–2005 as a result. They ultimately moved to Kissimmee's Silver Spurs Arena and resumed play in 2005–2006 as the Florida Seals until they were evicted from Silver Spurs Arena on January 4, 2007. The franchise subsequently folded. On February 22, 2007, the officials from the Buena Vista corporation announced that the Orlando Sharks, an expansion team in the Major Indoor Soccer League, would play in the aremna beginning in fall 2007. Although the Sharks intended to play in the National Indoor Soccer League, rent issues with Amway Arena led them to eventually fold.

The Orlando Titans of the National Lacrosse League arrived in June 2009 to begin play in the 2010 season, which will be January through April plus playoffs. They will play their first season at Amway Arena.

Notable Events

The 1990 SEC men's basketball tournament was held here, as well as early rounds of the NCAA Tournament in the early- to mid-1990s.

The 42nd annual NBA All-Star Game was held at the facility February 9, 1992.

The facility was the site of the 1992 United States Figure Skating Championships.

The arena was the site of three ArenaBowl games. The Predators lost to the Detroit Drive in 1992 and Arizona Rattlers in 1994 before defeating the Nashville Kats in 2000.

During the 1993–94 NHL season, the Tampa Bay Lightning played five of their home games here.

Games One and Two of the 1995 NBA Finals were held at the facility, as well as Games 3, 4, and 5 of the 2009 NBA Finals between the Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Arena also hosted IHL Finals in 1996, 1999 and 2001, when the Orlando Solar Bears won the Turner Cup in the IHL's last season of operations.

In 2004, Orlando was selected as one of five cities to host the Dew Tour, an extreme sports franchise started in 2005. It is the site of the PlayStation Pro, the final event each season on the tour.

Many professional wrestling pay-per-view events have been held at Amway Arena over the years, including the 1990 WWF Royal Rumble, 1994 WCW Bash at the Beach, and WWE Armageddon 2003. On March 29, 2008 World Wrestling Entertainment held their Hall of Fame induction at the arena in conjunction with WrestleMania XXIV, which was held at the Citrus Bowl. The most notable inductee was Ric Flair, who two nights later on an episode of WWE Raw announced his retirement from professional wrestling which was also held at this arena.

For several years, the PBR's Challenger Tour series held an event, the Tater Porter Invitational, at this venue.

In 2004 Presidential candidate John Kerry held a rally inside the arena filling the floor and most of the lower bowl. On September 20, 2008, Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama held a major outdoor rally immediately outside the Amway Arena north entrance that drew over 50,000 supporters. Additional speakers at the rally included U.S. Senators Hillary Clinton and Bill Nelson. The major rally drew national attention to Florida as an election battle-ground state and was covered live on national evening newscasts on all major networks.

Renovation Plans

Experts stated that the arena was outdated since the day its doors first opened.[4] Although it was built to NBA specifications at the time, construction began right before mid level luxury seating and lower level club seating became the de facto standard (the arena lacks both of these features). The Orlando Magic's desire for a major renovation of the building dates all the way back to 1994 when it was only five years old, as the team was seeking to increase revenue by expanding the limited retail & concession space and luxury seating[5][6]. In 1996, the team spent $100,000 to have Conventions Sports & Leisure of Minneapolis study and determine renovation ideas. Major renovation was beginning to seem unfeasible in 1997 when the task-force determined that the cost of implementing everything that the team wanted would reach up to $75 million.[7] The revenues brought in by the changes likely would not be enough to cover mortgage payments on money that would have to be borrowed to pay for the renovation. Also, at the time, the city still owed $40 million on the original construction of the building.

Beginning around 2000, the Magic began to push the City of Orlando for a brand new arena, replacing the TD Waterhouse Centre. Since the city, as well as Orange County, were not keen on picking up the tab for a second facility in a little over a decade, the Magic stated they would contribute to the cost of building it. They did not, however, say how much.[8] They also indicated they expected public dollars to be used, too. Discussions became contentious in 2001, as the team threatened to look elsewhere if Orlando would not build a new arena, or contribute a significant amount to a renovation. At the time, the team was losing $8 million annually. Magic President Bob Vander Weide stated, "If we can't break even in the long term and we can't stay competitive, maybe this isn't the best place for us."[9] The Magic outlined where an arena should be built, the potential cost, what type of tax should pay for it and what could be done with the existing building once it was abandoned by the team. In a meeting with county and city officials, team owner DeVos said he was seeking $200 million in public money, including $121.5 million from the tourist tax collected by the county, $50 million from the city of Orlando and $28.5 million from the state. Officials were staunchly opposed.[10] Any plans for renovation or replacement relied on tourist-tax revenue, and after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the numbers of tourists in the area declined sharply. Although both sides had gotten close to a deal for a major renovation instead of a new facility, talks were broken off for several years due to the sagging tourist tax dollars.[11]

Successor Arena

On September 29, 2006, the City of Orlando and Orange County finally came to an agreement on a $1.1-billion improvement package that includes $480 million for a new arena. The Magic will provide $114 million in cash and up-front lease payments and guarantee $100 million in bonds toward the arena. The venue plan received final approval on July 26, 2007, and the arena is expected to be complete in time for the 2010–11 NBA season. The Orlando Sentinel reported on June 12, 2009 that the city is trying to sell the 367,000 sq ft building that seats up to 18,000 and has parking for 4200 cars. The asking price is $90 million and the possibility remains of it being torn down.

References

External links

Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Orlando Magic

1989 – present
Succeeded by
Amway Center (ca. 2010)
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Orlando Predators

1991 – present
Succeeded by
Amway Center (ca. 2010)
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Orlando Miracle

1999–2002
Succeeded by
Mohegan Sun Arena (as Connecticut Sun)
Preceded by
Charlotte Coliseum
Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

1992
Succeeded by
Delta Center
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