Aerial photo of the Spectrum Center. Home of the Charlotte Hornets.

Image Credit: James Willamor (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Atlanta Hawks are renovating Philips Arena, their home arena, at a whopping $192 million. There are now whispers around the Charlotte Hornets organization about what the team could do to improve the Spectrum Center. The renovation to Philips Arena will be the second largest renovation project in NBA history. The Charlotte Hornets are currently renovating and relocating their box office and team store to better locations on the arena’s property.

The Spectrum Center, formerly Time Warner Cable Arena, is set to host the 2019 NBA All-Star Game and it’s unlikely that any upgrades will be able to be completed by then. 2019 is when a new renovation project would likely begin. The city of Charlotte’s lease agreement with the Charlotte Hornets specifically states that the team must keep the arena updated to NBA standards. The Milwaukee Bucks recently found out what “NBA standards” meant. The city of Milwaukee was given the option of either building a new arena for the Bucks or losing the team to Seattle or Las Vegas. As Commissioner Adam Silver put it, the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee just wasn’t up to the standards that other NBA arenas offer.

Improvements to the Spectrum Center will be paid for in part by a maintenance fund that both the Charlotte Hornets and city of Charlotte contribute to. The city of Charlotte paid the $265 million for the construction of the Spectrum Center, which opened in 2005. Many years ago, the city balked at building a home arena for the original Charlotte Hornets and lost the team to New Orleans (Pelicans). The Charlotte Bobcats began play as an expansion team in 2004 and changed their nickname back to the Hornets in 2014. In 2014, the Spectrum Center received a face-lift via new seats on the lower level, a new scoreboard and lighting system as well as improvements to the restaurants and bathrooms.

We’re all for keeping stadiums and arenas updated with all of the important bells and whistles. However, it becomes controversial when local taxpayers are asked to foot the bill for the majority of a venue’s construction costs.




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