Mayor Kasim Reed is deciding how much taxpayer money he's going to give Hawks owners for Philips Arena reonovations. I don't blame majority owner Antony Ressler for getting his piece of the stadium hustle. That's on us.
Obviously this isn't about Philips being in such bad shape that it needs up to $200 million for renovations. The building is only 16-years old, and it's a nice place to watch an NBA game. I covered the league for eight seasons and I’ve been to every arena in the league except for the Barclays Center (Nets). For aesthetics and atmosphere I rank Philips no worse than seventh out of the 28 arenas I’ve visited.
The arenas I like better: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Pacers), Staples Center (Lakers/Clippers), Moda Center (Trail Blazers), Air Canada Centre (Raptors), AmericanAirlines Arena (Heat) and Madison Square Garden (Knicks). Philips is up there with them, though.
These things are subjective, of course. It's a matter of taste. But my high regard for Philips is shared by othersand--and not just fans who packed the arena last season to give the Hawks the largest attendance increase in the NBA.
The Hawks touted the awesomeness of Philips Arena in their media guide, which includes this blurb: “In April 2005, USA Today ranked Philips Arena the No. 7 fan-friendliest NBA venue out of 29 arenas and No. 4 in the Eastern Conference. In this survey of the fan experience, Philips Arena finished No. 1 in the concessions category and its main concourse ranked second in atmosphere.”
Back in May, Stadium Journey Magazine ranked all NBA arenas and Philips came in at No. 5. Paul Swaney, who has an awesome job, writes:
“There is no such thing as a bad seat in the house at Philips. The way the arena is set up, not one fan will miss any of the action no matter how high or how low they are sitting. The fans are starting to get behind the Hawks because the team is starting to play its best basketball in recent memory. But the Kia Sixth Man section features some of the best basketball fans in the country. They are loud, hold up signs and they never sit down.”
I can't get behind the Sixth Man section—nothing personal you guys, I’m just anti-artificial noisemakers. But I agree Philips is among the best arenas in the NBA. Like I said, obviously this renovation isn't about fixing any big flaws.
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