There’s a lot of change going on with the Atlanta Hawks right now.
There’s a new color scheme, and new uniforms. New ownership. And, due to the NBA Draft and free agency, new players.
Could there be a new arena in the works?
Earlier this week, the Hawks’ new ownership group officially took control of the franchise. In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the team’s new controlling owner, Tony Ressler, hinted that the biggest alteration might be yet to come.
It might be a brand-new arena.
“Ressler allowed that there were three things the new owners could do about Philips Arena, which opened in 1999: Nothing, remodel or rebuild. And the first, Ressler said, ‘isn’t an option,'” the AJC report said.
Philips Arena may be just 16 years old, but that’s only two years younger than Turner Field, which won’t live to see 20 before it’s replaced. In my opinion, Philips is easily the best of the city’s “Big 3” sports teams’ venues, and I honestly can’t think of any major issues I have with the place. I actually look forward to visiting Philips Arena, and that’s not always the case with our other stadiums.
But the new ownership group will look to leave its mark on the franchise as quickly and dramatically as possible. Obviously, the biggest change would be a new arena, most of which are, at least partially, funded by the public.
(Photos: See the Hawks’ new uniforms)
Although it hasn’t happened in Atlanta yet, the public is slowly coming to its senses, and some towns are refusing to spend millions in tax money to build new stadiums when old arenas are just a couple of decades old. It’s a new movement, but once it gathers steam, it will lead to a massive shift in the way cities do business with franchises.
You have to figure the Hawks’ new owners know this, and if they want to squeeze a few hundred million out of Atlanta, they’ll have to move quickly to make it happen.
We probably won’t have to wait long to learn the fate of the young Philips Arena.
Photo: AP/Todd Kirkland