New Hawks Owner Wants New Digs

The NBA’s Atlanta Hawks are exploring the possibility of a new building to replace the 16-year-old 


New controlling team owner Tony Ressler told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the arena needs to be remodeled or replaced.

Leaving the building as it is “isn’t an option,” Ressler said, noting Philips is “not in the upper quartile of arenas.” The state of the 21,000-capacity venue, which includes 92 luxury suites, nine party suites, and 1,866 club seats, hasn’t seemed too damaging to ticket sales.

Philips Arena ranked No. 10 in the world in Pollstar’s 2014 Year End rankings, moving 608,084 tickets for 64 events.

Pollstar asked the motivation behind rebuilding or renovating the building, which is only 16 years old and has suites. Teams usually use the lack of suites as a reason for new digs.

However, Garin Narain, VP of public relations for the Hawks, did not address the concerns and said it’s simply too early in discussions to say what the team will pursue.

“All options are open at this point,” Narain said. “There is a commitment to having a great arena and providing an outstanding experience to all of our fans.”

The potential price tag for either of the options hasn’t been discussed but the Hawks appear to have one major player on their side in Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Reed told the AJC he is willing to consider a deal involving the use of public funds to either rehab or rebuild.

“What I’m willing to do is come to the table with a plan that makes sense and is fair to the people of Atlanta,” Reed said. “I’m not closed to participating in a reasonable plan to make sure that the Hawks remain in the city and that’s what I expressed in our meeting.”

Plans for a new or renovated Philips Arena come amidst the construction of two other taxpayer-funded sports projects in the city – new stadiums for both the Falcons and the Braves.