Boy are the Atlanta Hawks fans going to have to get used to asking directions to the arena to watch the Hawks in the future if they get lost…
Since the beginning of the millenium, the Atlanta Hawks had an arena naming rights agreement with Philips that spanned for 20 years starting in 1999. The agreement will expire after this season and WSB-TV was first to report that State Farm and the Atlanta Hawks have come to an partnership agreement going forward. The report details that the Philips Arena will be renamed the State Farm Arena and the price of doing business is in the neighborhood or more than $175 million dollars for the next 20 years.
That’s not all Hawks Hoopers, this agreement is the start of a “Generational collaboration to transform the city of Atlanta” with the name change starting with the 2018-19 season. The State Farm Arena will be known as the “New Home of the Hawks”. The doors will be open to the fans in October to show the $192.5 million dollars that was invested in renovations.
Here’s the official statement concerning the agreement …
“We are honored to work with State Farm, one of the nation’s most recognizable and civic minded organizations and want to thank Michael Tipsord and Rand Harbert for their leadership and commitment to this exceptional collaboration,” said Principal Owner Tony Ressler. “Our ownership group considers the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club a community asset, and we are excited to have found a partner that shares our vision and has committed to working with us to expand on the community engagement and philanthropic initiatives we do that benefit the many communities that make up this great metropolitan area. Generations will be positively impacted by the work we do throughout Georgia, and we could not be prouder to have the State Farm name on our arena.”
The Neighborhood open house party is scheduled for October 20th.
But you can’t start a new chapter without closing the old one. Let’s take a look back at the almost 20 years of good times that were housed in the Philips Arena…
The arena opened way back in 1999 at the reported cost of 213.5 million dollars, replacing the old Omni coliseum. Not only was the arena used for the Hawks, it served as a home for the Atlanta Dream from 2008-2016. But did you know that arenas are not used just for basketball anymore?! The NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers spent a short period of time in Philips before the team moved to Winnipeg (renamed the Jets).
There are quite a few banners that were raised in the Philips Arena era.
For the Atlanta Hawks....
1958 NBA championship (See...Hawks fans, the team may be down right now but you can bring that up in fan debates! Enjoy!)
- 1970 Western Division Champions
- 1980, 1987, 1994 Central Division Champions
- 2015 Southeast Division Champions
For the Atlanta Dream…
2010, 2011 and 2013 Eastern Conference Champions
That’s right HawksHoopers, even the hockey team gets love…
2006-07 Southeast Division Champions
Now let’s honor the players with retired jerseys…
No.9 Bob Pettit
Considered one of the greatest Hawks of all-time. He was the one that put the franchise on the map. The man that brought the only championship to the Hawks in 1958 while the team was in St. Louis. One of the first athletic basketball players in the early era of the NBA. He played from 1954-1965.
No. 21 Dominique Wilkins
In my opinion, THE best ever. Dominique Wilkins was the reason for Hawks fans to come to the arenas EVERY night. “The Human Highlight Film” may not have brought the Hawks a NBA title but he brought flash and exposure that the team had not had before and has been missing since. No one could match his star power...NO ONE!
No.23 Lou Hudson
Sweet Lou! You know you are a bad dude when you are drafted by the Hawks in the NBA and the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL. Hawks fans are glad he chose hoops. He made the 1967 All-Rookie team after averaging 18.4 points per game. Hudson parlayed that into averaging at least 24 points a game five straight years starting in 1969. These accomplishments along with 17,940 points in 13 seasons is why this man’s jersey is in the rafters.
No.44 ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich
Sweet Lou’s backcourt mate. I can’t say that this was the smoothes relationship, but we all can agree Maravich scored when the mood hit him. He was moody. Two All-Star games, a couple of playoff appearances doesn’t diminish one of the 50 greatest players in NBA History.
No. 55 Dikembe Mutumbo
Helped the Hawks to back-to-back 50 win seasons in 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons. Only one problem here...Michael Jordan was back by then. Mutumbo won NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year both years. The father of the ”finger wag” that is now banned. Yes, Mutumbo is in the rule books...and the rafters.
No. 59 Kasim Reed
Former mayor of Atlanta (2010-2018)
Who can ever forget the most famous Hawks owner? His accomplishments speak for themselves.
This State Farm partnership shows that the Hawks ownership group led by Tony Ressler are serious about starting a long productive relationship not only with State Farm, but with the fans in the surrounding communities. This is not a business arrangement that just fell out of the sky. This was a long time coming. Ressler announced his plans of remodeling the arena to keep the Hawks in downtown Atlanta. This was not going to be cheap. The reported cost was in between $150 to $250 million dollars.
Some of these renovations are in a effort to connect themselves with other popular attractions such the Centennial Olympic Park and Mercedez-Benz Stadium, the home of the Atlanta Falcons.
The arena renovations will lay out premium seating areas, a new center video board that is massive compared to its predecessor, a bar and grill and a barber shop. These two businesses are operated by the group Zac Brown Band (Bar and Grill) and Atlanta rapper Killer Mike and Topgolf suites (Barber shop).
The renovations are to be done tentatively by October 15, 2018 and the first game is played October 24, 2018 against the Dallas Mavericks.
Now fans, the Hawks put some money in to build a beautiful arena. Go out and support the team!
Maybe the HawksHoop bunch will see you there...ROAD TRIP!