Spectrum Center (arena)

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This article is about the arena in Charlotte. For the former arena in Philadelphia, see Spectrum (arena).
Spectrum Center
The Hive
The Cable Box
Spectrum Center.png
Former names Charlotte Bobcats Arena
Time Warner Cable Arena
Location 333 East Trade Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202
Coordinates 35°13′30″N 80°50′21″W / 35.22500°N 80.83917°W / 35.22500; -80.83917Coordinates: 35°13′30″N 80°50′21″W / 35.22500°N 80.83917°W / 35.22500; -80.83917
Public transit CTC/Arena
Owner City of Charlotte
Operator Hornets Sports & Entertainment

Basketball: 19,077
(expandable to 20,200)
Ice Hockey: 14,100
Pro-Wrestling: 20,200 (maximum)

*End stage 180°: 13,376
*End stage 270°: 15,236
*End stage 360°: 18,249
*Center stage: 18,504
*Theatre: 4,000–7,000
Surface Multi-surface
Broke ground July 29, 2003
Opened October 21, 2005
Renovated 2016
Construction cost $260 million
($315 million in 2016 dollars[1])
Architect Ellerbe Becket[2]
Odell Associates, Inc.
The Freelon Group, Inc.
Project manager PC Sports[3]
General contractor Hunt/R.J. Leeper[4]
Charlotte Hornets (NBA) (2005–present)
Charlotte Checkers (ECHL) (2005–2010)
Charlotte Sting (WNBA) (2006)
Charlotte Checkers (AHL) (2010–2015)

Spectrum Center (formerly Time Warner Cable Arena) is an indoor arena located in center city Charlotte, North Carolina. It is owned by the city of Charlotte and operated by its main tenant, the NBA's Charlotte Hornets. Opening in October 2005, the arena seats 19,077 for NBA games but can be expanded to seat up to 20,200 for college basketball games.

In 2012, the arena hosted the Democratic National Convention.[5] The arena was scheduled to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game,[6][7] 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.[8][9] 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.


The arena in 2008, with its first logo as Time Warner Cable Arena
Logo used from 2012 to 2016.

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 The Charlotte Coliseum was outdated, despite being only 13 years old, and the team wanted a new arena closer to the city, and with amenities found in arenas built after the Coliseum.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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.[10] 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.[11] 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. 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.

The arena opened as the Charlotte Bobcats Arena 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.[12] 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.[13] In early 2006, the arena became the subject of controversy when the Bobcats charged a $15,000 fee to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for graduation ceremonies held at the building. The fee was eventually waived following media attention from a local newspaper. Many high schools in the area moved graduations to Bojangles' Coliseum.[citation needed]

On April 8, 2008, the Bobcats announced a naming rights deal with Time Warner Cable, the area's largest cable television provider, renaming the venue Time Warner Cable Arena. As part of the deal, TWC shuttered its poorly-performing regional sports network C-SET (which was established to serve as the Bobcats' rightsholder) and allowed the team to negotiate a new deal with Fox Sports South to ensure wider distribution of its games.[14][15] Following Charter Communications' purchase of TWC, the arena was re-named Spectrum Center, in accordance with Charter's cable services brand Spectrum.[16]


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 in preparation for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.[17]

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 are 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.[18][19] This marks the first major renovations to the Spectrum Center in its history.


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.[20] 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.[21]

College basketball[edit]

The arena in 2012
The arena during a Bobcats game in 2005

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:

The Charlotte 49ers basketball teams have tentatively agreed to play a number of high-profile games at the arena over several seasons.[citation needed]


The arena is used for more than just sporting events, with musical acts, family productions and many other events, such as concerts, circuses and professional wrestling all performing there.

Other events[edit]


  1. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved November 10, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Ellerbe Becket - Time Warner Cable Arena". 
  3. ^ "Charlotte Arena Quick Facts". Charlotte Bobcats. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  4. ^ Muret, Don (November 14, 2005). "Carolina Character". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  5. ^ Spanberg, Erik (February 1, 2011). "Charlotte to follow Denver as host city of Democratic National Convention". Denver Business Journal. Retrieved February 1, 2011. 
  6. ^ Ananth Pandian (June 22, 2015). "Report: Charlotte will host 2017 NBA All-Star Game". CBS Sports. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  7. ^ Preston, Ken (April 8, 2010). "Carolina Hurricanes to Host 2011 NHL All-Star Game". Carolina Hurricanes. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  8. ^ Mahoney, Brian (July 21, 2016). "NBA moving All-Star Game out of Charlotte, cites LGBT law". National Basketball Association. Associated Press. Retrieved September 14, 2016. 
  9. ^ "NBA All-Star Game pulled from Charlotte over HB2 law". Sports Illustrated. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  10. ^ "World Class City, Third World Paycheck". Creative Loafing Charlotte – Archives. 
  11. ^ "Council willing to amend 'new owner' statement". ESPN.com. Associated Press. February 16, 2002. 
  12. ^ http://basketball.ballparks.com/NBA/CharlotteBobcats/
  13. ^ http://www.timewarnercablearena.com/timewarner/highlights/
  14. ^ Cranston, Mike (April 7, 2008). "Time Warner gets naming rights for Bobcats Arena". WCNC-TV. Associated Press. Retrieved April 7, 2008. 
  15. ^ George, Jefferson; Bonnell, Rick (April 9, 2008). "Deals Widen Bobcats' TV Reach". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved April 16, 2008. 
  16. ^ Peralta, Katherine (August 17, 2016). "Charlotte Hornets' home arena changing name to Spectrum Center". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  17. ^ Spanberg, Erik (September 8, 2014). "Council backs $34M for Charlotte Hornets' arena". Charlotte Business Journal. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Hornets Introduce New Scoreboard Design". Charlotte Hornets. February 24, 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  19. ^ Kiser, Bill (February 24, 2016). "Hornets unveil design for new $7 million scoreboard, rave about its unique features". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  20. ^ http://www.gocheckers.com/articles/952-charlotte-city-council-approves-funding-to-renovate-bojangles-coliseum
  21. ^ Cranston, Mike (January 3, 2007). "WNBA Franchise Charlotte Sting Folds". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  22. ^ http://www.theacc.com/news/ACC-Press-Conference_03-27-14_a59w19

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