“They’re coming up in late 2019,” Koonin said in October of the arena’s naming rights. “We’re getting ready to go out and see the market. With all the things that are being contemplated in downtown renovation, we want to have everything set in place (before proceeding).”
That was a reference to proposed development of the “Gulch” area, the tangle of parking lots and railbeds near the downtown Atlanta arena. The area has been pitched, among many others, as a possible site of a second headquarters for Amazon.
Philips had little to say about the Atlanta arena Thursday.
“Philips has a contract in place with Philips Arena until 2019,” company spokeswoman Silvie Casanova said by email, “and the company does not speculate on future contracts.”
The arena is in the midst of a two-year, $192.5-million makeover that is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2018-19 NBA season, which will be the final season of the current naming-rights deal.
Los Angeles-based developer CIM Group, founded by Richard Ressler, brother of Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler, has crafted a plan for a live-work-play community near the arena. Such a development in the Gulch area could significantly enhance the value of the arena's naming rights.
The Hawks and Philips signed a 20-year, $185-million deal before the arena opened in 1999. It was among the largest naming-rights deals in U.S. sports at the time, and 19 years later it remains an upper-echelon deal for the Hawks.