FLA Live Arena
|Former names||National Car Rental Center (1998–2002)|
Office Depot Center (2002–2005)
Bank Atlantic Center (2005–2012)
BB&T Center (2012-2021)
|Address||1 Panther Parkway|
|Parking||7,045 total spaces|
|Owner||Broward County, Florida|
|Operator||Arena Operating Company, Ltd.|
Ice Hockey: 19,250 (17,040 with seat tarps)
Arena Football: 19,779
|Field size||872,000 sq ft (81,000 m2)|
|Broke ground||November 8, 1996|
|Opened||October 3, 1998|
|Construction cost||US$184 million|
($305 million in 2020 dollars)
|Project manager||Upton & Partners|
|Structural engineer||Walter P. Moore & Associates|
|General contractor||Arena Development Company (A joint venture of Centex Rooney/Huber, Hunt & Nichols/Morse Diesel)|
|Florida Panthers (NHL) 1998–present|
Florida ThunderCats (NPSL) 1998–1999
Florida Bobcats (AFL) 1999–2001
Florida Pit Bulls (ABA) 2005–2006
Miami Caliente (LFL) 2009–2010
The FLA Live Arena (previously known as the National Car Rental Center, Office Depot Center, BankAtlantic Center, and BB&T Center) is an indoor arena located next to Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, Florida. It is the home venue for the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League. It was completed in 1998, at a cost of US$185 million, almost entirely publicly financed, and features 70 suites and 2,623 club seats.
In 1992, Wayne Huizenga obtained a new NHL franchise that would eventually become the Florida Panthers. Until the team had an arena of their own, they initially played at the now-demolished Miami Arena, sharing the venue with the NBA's Miami Heat. Sunrise City Manager Pat Salerno made public a $167-million financing and construction plan for a civic center near the Sawgrass Expressway in December 1995, and Broward County approved construction in February 1996. In June 1996, the site was chosen by the Panthers, and in July, Alex Muxo gathered more than a dozen architects, engineers and contractors for the first major design brainstorming session. Architects Ellerbe Becket were given 26 months to build the arena, which had to be ready by August 30, 1998, to accommodate the 1998–99 NHL season. Despite never having designed a facility that had taken less than 31 months from start to finish, they accepted the job.
Seventy suites were completed with wet bars, closed circuit monitors and leather upholstery. Averaging over 650 square feet (60 m2), the suites are the largest in the country for this type of facility. Also home to private lounge box seating, all construction activity was generated by over fifty subcontractors and 2.3 million man hours without a single injury. Known as the Broward County Civic Center during construction, the naming rights were won in July 1998 by National Car Rental — a company purchased by Huizenga in January 1997 — leading to the venue being named the National Car Rental Center. A certificate of occupancy was given on September 12, 1998, and the arena opened on October 3, 1998 with a Celine Dion concert. The next day, Elton John performed, and on October 9, 1998, the Florida Panthers had their first home game at their new arena.
As NRC's new parent company, ANC Rental, went bankrupt in 2002, the Panthers sought a new sponsor for the arena. It became the Office Depot Center in the summer of 2002. (Office Depot is an office supply retailing company, which is headquartered in nearby Boca Raton.) Just over three years later, the arena's name changed again; it became the BankAtlantic Center on September 6, 2005. (BankAtlantic was headquartered in nearby Fort Lauderdale.)
The arena is currently the largest in Florida and second-largest in the Southeastern United States, behind Greensboro Coliseum. During the 2011 offseason, the BB&T Center replaced the original green seats in the lower bowl with new red seats, as a part of the Panthers' "We See Red" campaign.
In October 2012, Sunrise Sports and Entertainment completed installation of the Club Red seating sections encompassing the center ice seats during hockey games. It is an all-inclusive nightclub experience following the trend of other sports and entertainment venues in incorporating high-end seating sections and clubs.
The ADT Club, located on the club level, offers food and beverage. The Duffy's Sky Club at the BB&T Center encompasses approximately 8,000 square feet (740 m2) and can cater to a maximum of about 500 guests. The Penalty Box offers fans another seating and dining option inside the BB&T Center. The Legends Lounge is a restaurant located on the Lexus Suite Level, and offers sit down service.
In February 2019, it was announced that BB&T is merging with SunTrust Banks, to form Truist Financial Corporation. The name of the arena, however, remained unchanged. Eventually, the merged company decided to not renew the naming rights agreement after it expired in 2021; the arena will thus have the temporary name of FLA Live Arena until a new rights partner is found.
In addition to the Panthers, the arena was formerly home to the Florida Pit Bulls of the American Basketball Association, the Miami Caliente of the Lingerie Football League, and the Florida Bobcats of the AFL, along with the only season of the Florida ThunderCats. This arena also serves as the host for the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic held every December in conjunction with the namesake college football game.
- Basketball: 20,737
- Hockey: 19,250
- End-Stage Concerts: 15,207 – 23,000
- Center-Stage Concerts: 25,000
- 17,000 square feet (1,600 m2) of arena floor space for trade shows and other events such as circuses and ice shows.
Parking and loading docks
- Total: 7,045 Spaces (Does not include production or bus/oversized vehicle parking)
- General Parking: 4,787 Spaces
- Suite/Club Seat Parking: 1,430 Spaces
- Garage: 226 Spaces
- Disabled Parking: 90 Spaces
- Event Staff: 512 Spaces
- Truck Doors: 5
- Waste Removal Docks: 2
Food and novelty concessions
- Plaza Level: 3 Food Courts and Pantherland Retail
- Mezzanine Level: 3 Food Courts and two Points of Purchase Kiosks
- "Google Groups". groups.google.com. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
- "Facts and Figures". BB&T Center. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
- 1634 to 1699: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy ofthe United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700-1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How much is that in real money?: a historical price index for use as a deflator of money values in the economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
- "History". BB&T Center. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- "Panthers History: Arenas". National Hockey League. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- Lapointe, Joe (December 11, 1992). "N.H.L. Is Going to Disneyland, and South Florida, Too". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- "Sunrise Gets Serious About Arena". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. December 16, 1995. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- "Prospects Good For Broward Arena". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. February 1, 1996. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- Snell, Alan; Fleshler, David (July 11, 1998). "Huizenga's National Car Rental To Be Name Gracing Hockey Arena". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- Nolin, Robert (September 12, 1998). "Sunrise Arena Ok'd For Occupancy". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- Talalay, Sarah (August 16, 2002). "Panthers Want Car Rental Name Taken Off Arena". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- "BB&T Center Naming Rights Headline Long-term Florida Panthers-BB&T Partnership". NHL.com (Press release). Florida Panthers. September 10, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
- Richards, George (September 11, 2012). "Florida Panthers' Arena Now BB&T Center". The Miami Herald. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- "Panthers See Red In BankAtlantic Center Lower Bowl". National Hockey League. July 25, 2011. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- Valverde, Miriam (January 29, 2013). "Club Red elevates experiences at BB&T Center". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- Nolin, Robert (May 14, 2013). "County to Fund New Scoreboard for Panthers Arena". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- Davis, Craig (October 11, 2013). "Huizenga Joins Viola to Christen New Panthers Era Before 6-3 Win". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- "SunTrust, BB&T have their names on sports". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. February 7, 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
- "Panthers home temporarily renamed FLA Live Arena". NHL.com. September 21, 2021. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
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| Home of the
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NHL All-Star Game
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