Time Warner Cable Arena (originally Charlotte Bobcats Arena and commonly The Hive, Time Warner Arena, or The Cable Box), is an entertainment and sports venue, located in center cityCharlotte, North Carolina. It is owned by the city of Charlotte, and operated by the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA. It made its grand opening in October 2005 as the Charlotte Bobcats Arena, with a concert by the Rolling Stones and hosted its first Bobcats game on November 5, 2005. The arena's center-hung video screen, known as "Hornets TV", measures 16 feet by 28 feet, which was the largest scoreboard size of any indoor arena at the time of its completion.
The arena seats 19,077 for most NBA games, but can be expanded to seat up to 20,200 for college basketball games (and presumably NBA playoff games). The arena also served as home to the Charlotte Checkers, an ice hockey team that plays in the AHL, until the end of the 2014-15 season. When ice hockey is played at the arena, capacity is reduced to 14,100, though 4,000 of those seats have obstructed views.
Though the arena was built with the Bobcats/Hornets in mind, the arena hosts many types of sports and entertainment events. As North Carolina is a hotbed for college basketball, it was expected that the arena would host many NCAA basketball games. Among the games Time Warner Cable Arena has hosted include:
The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the oldest historically black collegiate conference in the United States, has held its men's and women's basketball tournaments at the arena since 2006. The Charlotte 49ers have also tentatively agreed to play several high-profile games there over the next several seasons.
In addition to the Hornets, the arena had one other permanent tenant for almost a decade. The Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL vacated historic Bojangles Coliseum to play in the new arena in the fall of 2005. When the ECHL Checkers gave way to an AHL team with the same name, the AHL team remained at the arena. Unlike other multipurpose arenas that can accommodate both basketball and hockey, the arena was primarily designed for basketball use. It can nevertheless accommodate an NHL-sized ice hockey rink, but the seating capacity for hockey is 14,100, and the seating arrangement is asymmetrical. This resulted in a lot of seats with obstructed views, which resulted in poor sightlines. Primarily because of those factors, on December 16, 2014, it was announced that the Checkers would move back to Bojangles Coliseum starting with the 2015-16 AHL season. The Charlotte Sting of the WNBA moved, along with the Bobcats/Hornets, from the old Charlotte Coliseum to the then-new venue in 2005, played for one season and then folded due to low attendance.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Pit Crew Challenge, part of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, is held on the Wednesday night of the race week at the arena, creating an indoor atmosphere so the pit competition will occur, rain or shine.
In January 2007, the Professional Bull Riders association hosted a Built Ford Tough Series event at this venue. The event was known as the "Dale Jr. PBR Clash", named after NASCAR driver and longtime PBR fan Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who teamed up with the PBR to put this event together. The PBR will visit Time Warner Cable Arena once again in the fall of 2011.
The arena in 2008, with its first logo as Time Warner Cable Arena
The arena was originally intended to host the Charlotte Hornets, the city's original NBA team. 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. This was done in order to demonstrate what was believed to be wide public support for construction of a new uptown venue. The arts package would have been funded with the issuance of bonds by the city.
There was opposition to the referendum, with many feeling that the city shouldn't fund a new arena at all (the Charlotte Coliseum, since demolished, was just 13 years old at the time). 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. It argued that it was immoral for the city to build a new arena when city workers didn't earn enough to make a living. Many of the city's black ministers switched sides in the arena deal and urged their parishioners to oppose it. 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 didn't require voter support, but let it be known that they would not even consider building it unless the 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 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—what became the Bobcats—as part of the deal.
As of 2005[update], 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 graduations. The fee was eventually waived following a story in The Charlotte Observer concerning the fees.