Philips Arena has been one of the most popular concert venues since its opening in 1999. However, it’s also home of the Atlanta Hawks, and because of the recent success of the franchise, Philips Arena has become a very attractive NBA venue.
From the actual court design, to the activities in the concourse, Philips has greatly improved the NBA experience over the years and it’s one of the arenas on the rise in the league.
There may be better places to watch and experience an NBA game, but if you are in the Atlanta area, going to a Hawks game is a must.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
If there is one thing for sure, you will never go hungry at Philips Arena. There is the typical stadium food such as fries, chicken tenders, nachos and wings. But there are a few restaurants that are worth checking out.
RED is one of the newer restaurants that feature high-quality dining and tiered level seating so you won't miss any of the action. Then there's Taco Mac which is one of the best places in the country to get wings and beer.
But if you don't want to pay for food inside the arena, the CNN Center, which is located right next to Philips, is a great alternative because the food court features, Arby's, Burger-Fi, Wendy's, Chick-fil-A and Subway.
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.
But if there is one place to sit, it would have to be courtside. I know the price for those tickets are dicey, but it's worth it to buy those tickets one time because you really get a feel for NBA action up close and personal.
The cheerleaders are always fun to watch, but they also do a good job entertaining the fans during the game. And the PA announcer is one of the most energetic in all of sports. He really does a good job getting the fans fired up.
Philips Arena is in the heart of downtown Atlanta, so there is never a dull moment.
The best place to eat and watch games in the area is Stats, which is one block away from the arena. If you want to do something other than eat, go to the Georgia Aquarium or the World of Coca-Cola. Both are right next to each other and both are very informative and fun for families.
Sports fans will want to visit the College Football Hall of Fame, which opened in the fall of 2014. Even if you are not a college football fan, this is a great place to learn about the history of the game and be a part of the action with all of the activities.
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.
Hawks fans do a good job of making Philips a home court advantage for the team. They do not let out-of-towners get tickets and wear the opponent's jersey. That has been a huge problem with the Braves and the Falcons recently, but not so much for the boys of Philips.
Because Philips Arena is in the heart of downtown Atlanta, getting to and from the arena is not a huge issue. The best option is MARTA. The transit station will take you to and from Philips Arena for $5. Driving is also an option because there are plenty of places to park. However, it will cost you $20 to park close to the arena.
The concourse is big, the security check is a breeze and the restrooms are clean.
Tickets can range from $25-$149. But because of the way the Hawks have played recently, those numbers can increase, especially when a marquee team comes to town.
Regardless, you get some see high quality NBA action in one of the best basketball cities in America. And when you add in the price for food and parking, going to a Hawks game is one of the better bargains in the league.
One of the cool things about the arena is that the scoreboard from the Omni (the old Hawks arena) is located in the concourse. It shows that the organization will never forget their history.
The programs are always free and they give you all the information you need for the game.
The Hawks gift shop, located in front of the arena, always has great deals. Normally, they have a t-shirt on sale for $10 every night.
The radio station that broadcasts the games is an FM sports talk station, and the announcer is the biggest homer in all the NBA, which always makes his calls entertaining.
The new Pac Man logo in the middle of the court is flawless. The old-school logo gives the arena an edge it didn't have before the 2014-2015 season.
When they blew up the old Omni Coliseum in 1997, my young self (just awakened to the beauty of basketball and having attended my first few pro games at this place) was obligatorily sad to see it go. The interim years before we got our new digs were painful as a team that was actually playing on the pro level (not a given in our town) did not have facilities to match. During those interim years our NBA affiliate was housed between the Georgia Dome and Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
If only the Atlanta community had known what was to come in 1999: An 18,000-plus-capacity palace for both basketball and hockey. But more on the latter sport in another review; this is all about Philips Arena as the Highlight Factory, home of the Atlanta Hawks.
Everything fades with time, and such is the fate of Philips Arena. At the time that it opened in 1999, it was state-of-the-art – and in many ways, it still is. And please, dear reader, don’t get it twisted: This is still a good place to take in a basketball game.
But this stadium has had its time in the limelight, first as a young whippersnapper of a facility that, just four years into existence, hosted the NBA All-Star Game; and then, as the site of a Southern sports revival around its 10th birthday, when the Hawks actually started winning.
By now, though, the “Highlight Factory” branding is starting to wear. No matter how loudly or largely the marketing department claims that Jeff Teague is Derrick Rose’s “thorn,” it will never be true; we don’t have the on-court product to pack the place, and that’s unfortunate, because full seats are what Philips needs at this point in its life-cycle.
Rising out of the ashes of the old Omni came Philips Arena. Given the moniker "The Highlight Factory," Philips Arena was driven by the vision of former Hawks owner Ted Turner as part of his push for an NHL expansion team. The Atlanta Thrashers are gone, and the Hawks have gone through some significant turmoil, but the Highlight Factory remains a central figure in downtown Atlanta.
The Hawks were pushed through the last quarter of the century by the ownership of media mogul Ted Turner. In 1982, the Hawks acquired their quintessential player and face of the franchise, Dominique Wilkins. Wilkins quickly earned the moniker "The Human Highlight Reel," which the Highlight Factory is certainly a nod to. Well after the Human Highlight Reel's era ended, Turner would get out of the Hawks ownership group, selling to a group of executives known as Atlanta Spirit. Under Atlanta Spirit, the Hawks would be characterized by ownership in-fighting, which would lead to lawsuits, boardroom battles, and bad-feelings. The result on the team was a lack of corporate leadership, extremely poor teams on the court, and a ton of empty seats in the Philips Arena.
Eventually the dust settled, and the members of Atlanta Spirit figured it all out, with Bruce Levenson and Michael Gearon emerging with majority control of the board. The company would quickly sell the NHL team, the Atlanta Thrashers to a group from Winnipeg to become the Winnipeg Jets, playing in the MTS Centre. All Atlanta eyes became focused on the Hawks, and they answered the call, becoming a much better NBA team, and a consistent playoff participant.
Right now, a trip to the Highlight Factory gives patrons the opportunity to see some great basketball, in what could be a really great environment. It could be the center of your Atlanta destination. It could be the Highlight.
I'm going to be objective on this one as I pretty much have given up watching the NBA as a whole (too many punks and crybabies in the League) and the owners of the arena (they pretty much lowballed any investor so they can dump the Thrashers to Winnipeg).
Overall the times I've been to Philips Arena for basketball or hockey have been great experiences. The food is fine, whether you go into the game (prices are reasonable), or go to the CNN Center for a bite. Getting there, unlike its neighbor the Georgia Dome is relatively easy. There are things for the fans to get involved with by meeting former players or current ones before the game, or raffles/auctions on the concourses and the concourses before the Thrashers moved for Winnipeg were pretty neat (haven't seen it since they've gone though).
Largest complaint was the fans. They didn't show up when the teams are winning. And those who did show up, show up for the opposing teams (Lakers, Heat, Bulls, Knicks, etc.). A very thin fanbase where the fans are just not energetic at all.
Good facility, but just a rough atmosphere in general.
Back in September 1999, Sir Elton John performed at Philips Arena, making the concert the first event at the then new facility. Ever since then, the likes of Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z and Drake have performed at what would be known as one of the top concert venues in the country.
However, Philips was always and will be home of the Atlanta Hawks, who have been an up-and-down team since they started playing there. The Hawks have seen their share of good and bad when it comes to wins and losses, but the one thing that has been consistent is the atmosphere of the arena.
Is Philips Arena the best place to watch an NBA game? That’s debatable. But when it comes to food, seating, access and return on investment, the Hawks make sure you leave Philips Arena happy.
Food & Beverage: There are plenty of options both inside and outside the arena
Atmosphere: Very intimate atmosphere. Even though I was in the upper deck I felt like I was right on top of the action
Neighborhood: Phillips arena is located right next to the Georgia Dome and the CNN building. There's plenty to do if you show up a little early
Fans: Not especially loud or crazy but not bad
Access: For being in downtown Atlanta this arena is actually realatively accessible. Plenty of parking in the area
Return: I would definitely go to another Hawks game. Had a great time and got to check out downtown Atlanta afterwards
Extras: I take one point off all the beggars in front of the stadium on game days. But what was really neat was that it's attached to the CNN building so you can spend some time shopping/eating before the game and then just walk right in at game time
I have been to games with a near empty stadium, games with probably a 5 to 1 visiting team fan ratio, and I have been to games packed, loud, rocking, and rolling. Game 6 vs Pacers was amazing. Location/ access both great. Ticket prices for an NBA team are pretty great.
The reason I list the Spurs first is because I am a Spurs fan!! But getting back on point, the game was about what I had expected (a Spurs blowout by nearly 20 points). The arena is beautiful but has areas where, if you don't know where you're going, you'll end up walking out of the arena. One positive is that you don't have to wait outside before the game. The CNN Center is located next door and people can mill around in there before heading to the entrance which connects the arena to the CNN Center! The atmosphere was not bad. The Hawks go out of their way to let you know that the opposing teams are in hostile country! Now by that, I mean that they have people "chasing" opposing fans around chanting "HAWKS" and "A-T-L"! It is by NO means threatening or disparaging. Playful banter. I like that. The arena looks huge on the inside but the court looks small in comparison. It feels like the Hawks management wanted to pack everyone in to see the Hawks play and it works! We had lower bowl seats (behind the goal post) and we had no problem seeing the action, save for the many fans who decided to come late or were getting drinks and food at the MANY eateries on the concourse. The sound system is top notch. A lot of hip-hop music, but it is Atlanta and they pride themselves on hip-hop. No problem. Nothing profanity laced or anything of that sort. The jumbo-tron at mid-court gives a the fans on either end great coverage for action occurring at the other end of the court. But they tend to give "full replays" while action is happening on the court depriving fans of seeing what is happening live. Food and drinks aren't pricey. Just average price one would pay at an NBA game. The fans are kind of "wishy-washy" for lack of a better phrase, or at least they were in the section that my wife and I sat in. Once the Spurs got a big lead, they became disinterested in the game and began talking about either the playoffs or about the Falcons. It's like they had passion, and once they got down by a few points, they were onto another topic. But there was a lot of enthusiasm during the game.
Philips Arena-100 Techwood Drive Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30303
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Atlanta, GA 30318
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265 Park Ave West N.W.
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275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr
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