Philips Arena

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Philips Arena
The Highlight Factory
Philips Arena Logo.svg
Philips Arena.jpg
Address 1 Philips Drive
Location Atlanta, Georgia
Coordinates 33°45′26″N 84°23′47″W / 33.75722°N 84.39639°W / 33.75722; -84.39639Coordinates: 33°45′26″N 84°23′47″W / 33.75722°N 84.39639°W / 33.75722; -84.39639
Public transit Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Dome / GWCC / Philips Arena / CNN Center
Owner Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority
Operator Atlanta Hawks
Capacity Basketball:
19,445 (1999–2005)
18,729 (2005–2011)
18,371 (2011–2012)
18,238 (2012–2013),[1]
18,118 (2013–2014),[2]
18,047 (2014–2017)[3]
15,711 (2017–present)[4]
Ice hockey: 18,545 (1999–2010), 17,624 (2010–2011)
Concerts: 21,000+
Field size 680,000 square feet (63,000 m2)
Broke ground June 5, 1997[5]
Opened September 18, 1999
Construction cost $213.5 million
($307 million in 2016 dollars[6])
Architect Populous (then HOK Sport)
Arquitectonica (Expansion)
Project manager Barton Malow[7]
Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti[8]
Services engineer M-E Engineers, Inc.[9]
General contractor Atlanta Arena Constructors (AAC), a joint venture of Beers Construction Co., Holder Construction Co., H.J. Russell & Co. and C.D. Moody Construction Co.
Atlanta Hawks (NBA) (1999–present)
Atlanta Thrashers (NHL) (1999–2011)
Georgia Force (AFL) (2002, 2005–2007)
Atlanta Dream (WNBA) (2008–2016)
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (NCAA) (2011–2012)

Philips Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in Atlanta, Georgia, and is home to the Atlanta Hawks, of the National Basketball Association, and the Atlanta Dream, of the Women's National Basketball Association. It also served as home to the National Hockey League's Atlanta Thrashers from 1999 to 2011, before the team moved to Winnipeg. It opened in 1999 at a cost of $213.5 million, replacing the Omni Coliseum. It is owned by the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority and operated by Tony Ressler, who also, with a group of investors that includes Grant Hill, owns the Hawks.


Philips Arena-Atlanta.jpg

The arena seats 19,050 for basketball and 17,624 for ice hockey. The largest crowd ever for an Atlanta Hawks basketball game at the arena was Game 6 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on May 2, 2008 (against the Boston Celtics), where there was an announced attendance of 20,425.[1] The arena includes 92 luxury suites, 9 party suites, and 1,866 club seats. For concerts and other entertainment events, the arena can seat 21,000.[10]

The arena is laid out in a rather unusual manner, with the club seats and luxury boxes aligned solely along one side of the playing surface, and the general admission seating along the other three sides (the arrangement was later emulated at the Detroit Lions' home, Ford Field, and UCF Arena in Orlando, FL). This layout is a vast contrast to many of its contemporaries, which have their revenue-generating luxury boxes and club seats located in the 'belly' of the arena, thus causing the upper deck to be 2–4 stories higher. The layout at Philips was done so as to be able to bring the bulk of the seats closer to the playing surface while still making available a sufficient number of revenue-raising club seats and loges.[10] Since 2005 for Hawks games[11] and for the 2010–11 Atlanta Thrashers season, the 400 level has been curtained off.[12]

On the exterior, angled steel columns supporting the roof facing downtown spell out "ATLANTA." The side facing the Georgia World Congress Center originally spelled out "CNN" (whose headquarters adjoins the arena), but that section has since been altered to accommodate a Taco Mac restaurant. The Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center rail station below the arena provides access to MARTA public transportation.

The Dutch Royal Philips Electronics, based in Amsterdam, purchased the naming rights to the arena upon construction.

For the 2007–2008 season, Philips Arena utilized the new "see-through" shot clock units which allow spectators seated behind the basket to see the action without having the clocks interfere with their view, joining FedExForum, Wells Fargo Center, TD Garden, United Center, Talking Stick Resort Arena and the Spectrum Center. Video advertising panels replaced the traditional scrolling panels.


Atlanta Hawks[edit]

Title banners

  • 1958 NBA championship
  • 1970 Western Division Champions
  • 1980, 1987, 1994 Central Division Champions
  • 2015 Southeast Division Champions
Atlanta Hawks retired numbers
No. Player Position Tenure
9 Bob Pettit F 1954–1965
21 Dominique Wilkins F 1982–1994
23 Lou Hudson F, G 1966–1977
44 'Pistol' Pete Maravich SG 1970–1973
55 Dikembe Mutombo C 1996–2001
Ted Turner Owner 1977–2001

Atlanta Dream[edit]

  • 2010, 2011, 2013 Eastern Conference Champions

Atlanta Thrashers (1999–2011)[edit]

  • 2006–07 Southeast Division Champions

Widespread Panic[edit]

  • 15 Sold Out Shows; 1999–2006


During the late 1980s and early 1990s, many cities started building new state-of-the-art sporting venues for their NBA and/or NHL franchises, or in hopes of attaining one. Many of these arenas had modern amenities for their high-end customers, such as luxury boxes, club seats, and large, posh club-level concourses; some even had practice facilities on-site. These attractions were rarely found in arenas constructed in the early 1970s, when the Omni Coliseum was built. However, it is likely that the Omni would have had to be replaced in any event. It had been built using Cor-Ten weathering steel that was intended to seal itself, ensuring it would last for decades. However, the Omni's designers didn't account for Atlanta's humid climate. The Cor-Ten steel never stopped rusting, causing the arena to deteriorate faster than anticipated.

Ted Turner, owner of the Hawks at the time, wanted to bring NHL hockey back to Atlanta; the city's first NHL team, the Atlanta Flames, had moved to Calgary in 1980. However, the NHL determined that the Omni was not suitable even as a temporary facility due to its lack of amenities and structural problems. The league told Turner that it would only grant an expansion team on condition that a new arena be in place for the prospective team's inaugural season. After much consideration of possible other sites both in Downtown Atlanta and in the suburbs, it was decided that the Omni would be demolished in 1997, and a new arena would be built in the same location. The Hawks split their games between the Georgia Dome and Alexander Memorial Coliseum for the next two seasons. The Omni was demolished on July 26, 1997. Philips Arena was built over the old Omni Coliseum area.

Philips Arena held its first event with a September 1999 concert by the musician Sir Elton John. The Omni's "center-hung scoreboard" now hangs in the lobby of Philips Arena, where it still displays the Omni's logo along with those of Philips Arena, the Hawks, and the Thrashers (who never played in The Omni). The scoreboard still functions and displays information relevant to the game taking place in the arena. On April 2, 2009, Philips Arena achieved LEED for Existing Building: Operations and Maintenance certification as specified by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). It was the world's first LEED certified NBA/NHL arena.[10] It has been nicknamed the "Highlight Factory", due to the number of exciting plays, or highlights, that occur and Philips' history with lights and electronics.


Philips Arena prior to a Hawks game vs the Phoenix Suns

The arena hosted the NBA All-Star Game in 2003 and the Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Basketball Tournament in 2012.

The first playoff game in any professional league played in Philips Arena was in 2005, when the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League hosted, and won, its first home playoff game. The first NHL playoff game in Philips Arena was in 2007, the Thrashers' only appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first NBA playoff game in Philips Arena was in 2008, when the Hawks made the 2008 NBA Playoffs after an eight-season drought of missing the playoffs. On April 10, 2011, the Thrashers lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5–2, in their final game. Tim Stapleton scored the final goal for the Thrashers in team history.

The venue had been named the site of the 2005 Southeastern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament; however, when the NHL announced in early 2004 that the 55th NHL All-Star Game, scheduled for February 2005 would be held in Atlanta, arena officials withdrew the Southeastern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament – which was then moved 140 miles to the northeast along Interstate 85 to the BI-LO Center in Greenville, South Carolina. Oddly, the arena would not even be the host of that planned All-Star Game due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout. As a result, Atlanta became the second (San Jose being the first) city to lose a planned All-Star Game because of a labor dispute. Philips Arena would later be announced as home to the 56th NHL All-Star Game in 2008. Also, Philips Arena hosted game three of the 2010 WNBA Finals, where the Seattle Storm defeated the Atlanta Dream.

In 2013, Philips Arena hosted the finals of the men's NCAA Division II and Division III college basketball championships. The events were held as an undercard to the 2013 NCAA Final Four held at the Georgia Dome, in celebration of the 75th edition of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship.

MMA & Wrestling[edit]

The arena hosted UFC 88, UFC 145, and UFC 201 in 2008, 2012, and 2016 respectively. Philips Arena also hosted the 2011 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the night before WrestleMania XXVII was held at the Georgia Dome. Philips Arena also hosted Royal Rumble (2002), Backlash (2007), Royal Rumble (2010), Hell in a Cell (2012), and Survivor Series (2015).


Philips Arena is among the busiest arenas for concerts in the world, having sold well over 550,000 concert tickets in 2007[13] and ranked as the third-busiest arena in the U.S. in 2011.[14]

Other events[edit]

The arena hosted the 2004 US Figure Skating Championships.

Every year in January, the Philips Arena hosts one of the largest Christian college aged conferences: Passion Conference. The conference typically takes place over the first weekend in the new year and features big names in the Christian world such as Louie Gigilio, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Kristian Stanfill, John Piper, rap artist Lecrae and many more. The conference is typically sold out.


Shortly after acquiring the Hawks and the operating rights to Philips Arena on June 24, 2015, Tony Ressler announced his intentions of remodeling the arena to keep the Hawks in Downtown Atlanta at a cost between $150 million and $250 million. The proposed renovation would rebuild the entire seating bowl to optimize its sightlines for basketball and remove the wall of suites which dominate one side of the arena and replace them with a more traditional suite configuration.[15] The Hawks are also in discussions with the city about building a mixed-use entertainment district similar to L.A. Live around Philips Arena, to better connect it to other nearby attractions such as Centennial Olympic Park and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.[16] On November 1, 2016, the Hawks and the city of Atlanta reached a financing agreement on renovating Philips Arena, with the city contributing $142.5 million and the Hawks $50 million plus cost overruns to the project. With the renovation, the Hawks signed a lease extension lasting through June 30, 2046, with an early termination penalty of $200 million plus the remaining balance of the arena's bonds. Renovations officially began on June 21, 2017 and will be completed in two phases to allow the Hawks to play at Philips Arena during the 2017–18 NBA season. The renovations are expected to be fully completed for the 2018–19 NBA season to coincide with the Hawks' 50th anniversary in Atlanta.[17][18] On September 27, 2017, Hawks CEO Steve Koonin reported on the Hawks' weekly radio show on WZGC that seating capacity at Philips Arena for the 2017–18 season would be reduced by 2,350 seats due to the removal of the suite wall.[4]

Due to the renovations conflicting with the WNBA schedule, the Dream announced that they would move their 2017 and 2018 home schedules to McCamish Pavilion on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology.[19]


On March 14, 2008, an EF1 Tornado struck near Philips Arena. The arena only received minor exterior damage.


  1. ^ a b "2012-13 Atlanta Hawks Media Guide" (PDF). Atlanta Hawks. p. 295. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ "2013-14 Atlanta Hawks Media Guide" (PDF). Atlanta Hawks. p. 282. Retrieved January 28, 2015. 
  3. ^ "2014-15 Atlanta Hawks Media Guide" (PDF). Atlanta Hawks. p. 288. Retrieved January 28, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Vivlamore, Chris (September 27, 2017). "Renovations Will Reduce Philips Arena Seating Capacity". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved October 2, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Turner Hopes Arena a Start On Bigger Plan". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. June 6, 1997. 
  6. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  7. ^ Philips Arena –
  8. ^ Thornton Tomasetti - Sports/Entertainment Brochure
  9. ^ Philips Arena – M-E Engineering
  10. ^ a b c Philips Arena Media Guide
  11. ^ Tucker, Tim (November 6, 2005). "The Business of Sports". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  12. ^ Maniscalo, Mike (December 17, 2010). "Atlanta Still a Terrible Sports Town". WCMC Radio. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  13. ^ Pavia, Will (January 5, 2008). "From Unwanted Empty Shell to the World's Busiest Venue". The Times. London. 
  14. ^ Ruggieri, Melissa (February 14, 2012). "Philips Arena Ranked Third Busiest in the Nation". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  15. ^ Trubey, J. Scott; Vivlamore, Chris (October 22, 2015). "Atlanta may help pay for arena remodel to keep Hawks downtown". The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved August 3, 2016. 
  16. ^ Bluestein, Greg; Trubey, J. Scott (March 7, 2016). "Hawks, city in talks for entertainment district at Philips Arena". The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved August 3, 2016. 
  17. ^ Trubey, J. Scott; Vivlamore, Chris. "Kasim Reed announces deal to keep Hawks in Philips Arena". The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  18. ^ Tucker, Tim. "LEADOFF: Hawks 'set to begin' Philips Arena renovation today". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 26, 2017. 
  19. ^ Vivlamore, Chris. "What Philips Arena renovations will mean for Hawks seasons". The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Georgia Dome
Home of the
Atlanta Hawks

1999 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Atlanta Thrashers

Succeeded by
MTS Centre (as Winnipeg Jets)
Preceded by
Arena at Gwinnett Center
Home of the
Georgia Force

Succeeded by
Arena at Gwinnett Center
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Atlanta Dream

2008 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
New Orleans Arena
Joe Louis Arena
Home of the
Royal Rumble

Succeeded by
TD Garden
Preceded by
American Airlines Center
Host of the
NHL All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Bell Centre