Philips Arena is the home of the Atlanta Hawks, a member of the National Basketball Association. It has been home of the Hawks since 1999, and it’s owned by the city of Atlanta.
The reason that Philips was constructed was that Ted Turner, who was the owner of the Hawks at the time, wanted an upgrade from the Omni Coliseum which opened in 1972. The Omni was demolished in 1997, and it was replaced with Philips, which also was home of the Atlanta Thrashers of the National Hockey League.
Because of the way it’s constructed, as well as the location and food, Philips Arena is one of the best NBA experiences in the country. And it doesn’t hurt that the Hawks are a pretty good basketball team, as well.
And Philips is only going to get better, as it was announced in early 2016 the arena is going to go through major renovations that could cost up to $300 million.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The food is what makes Philips Arena enjoyable. There are the basic concession foods, such as chicken tenders, nachos and wings. The prices are competitive, as it will cost at least $10 for a meal, which includes chicken tenders, fries and a soft drink (Coke products).
But there are a few unique restaurants to check out, such as an upscale restaurant called RED, the Buckhead Diner which is a traditional diner, and Taco Mac, where you can get any type of wings and any type of beer you want.
But if you don't want to eat inside the stadium, the CNN Center is located right next to Philips Arena, and it has a food court. The restaurants inside the food court include Burger-Fi, Wendy's, Arby's, Subway and Chick-fil-A.
My recommendation would be to go to Taco Mac and get any type of wings they have. You will not regret it.
One of the new improvements that was done at Philips for the 2015-16 season was the court. The Hawks made a change to their color scheme from red, white and blue to red, black and yellow, which is now shown on the court.
The scoreboard is also a plus. When the Hawks were playing in the Omni, they did not have a scoreboard that provided video. Philips had the scoreboard/video board installed when it was built, and no matter where you are sitting at Philips, you won't miss any action, because there are four screens that circle the scoreboard.
As far as pre-game entertainment, the Hawks do a good job making sure the fans are ready before tip-off. The PA announcer is very energetic and creative, the mascot is lively and the cheerleaders are just fun to watch.
But the one thing that stands out is the 3D floor projection when the Hawks are introduced. It's something I have never seen before, and that alone simply wants to make you come back to Philips Arena again and again.
Philips is in the heart of downtown Atlanta, which means there is never a dull moment.
When it comes to eating, the CNN Center is an option, but the best place to go is Stats, which is located a couple blocks from Philips. Stats provides good food and plenty of TVs to watch whatever you want.
There is also Hudson Grille, a German restaurant called Der Beirgarten which is located right next to Stats, and if you're a baseball fan, there is the Atlanta Braves All-Star Grill located a mile away from the arena.
As for attractions to visit, the CNN Center is a great place, because you can take a tour of CNN Studios. There is also the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium and the College Football Hall of Fame. All of these places are located less than a mile from the arena.
Out of all the fan bases in the Atlanta area, the Hawks fans are the most passionate and the most loyal. The reason for that is they believe in the team, and the players on the roster are good guys.
The attendance is not as strong as other NBA franchises, averaging about 16,500 fans per night. But when there's a big game or the team gets on a hot streak, the fans are very involved.
One of the more noticeable things about the fans is the sixth man section, which is a group of college kids that are always loud, always on their feet and always holding up signs. Watching them support the Hawks is definitely a treat.
Getting to and from Philips Arena is not a breeze, but it is not a challenge either.
The best bet is to take MARTA, which is the public rail system. MARTA takes you straight to Philips Arena, and it only costs $5 for a round-trip ticket.
Driving is also an option, and there are plenty of places to park. But traffic can be an absolute nightmare, and the cost of parking can be as much as $20.
As for entering the arena, there is an entrance at the CNN Center, which is the best option, because the majority of fans enter through the main entrance, which can get congested. The concourse of the area is not too big, but it does not get too congested when the game is over.
Tickets for a Hawks game can cost from $25-$150. And with the cost of parking, as well as food, it could cost a family of four around $175.
However, there are deals that are available all throughout the season where you can get some really good deals on tickets, such as four tickets with four Chick-fil-A meals or four tickets and four $10 Hudson Grille vouchers.
And with the parking, food and watching a high-quality NBA team in action, going to Philips Arena is worth the price of admission.
The old Omni scoreboard is located in the concourse of Philips Arena. It shows the organization will always remember its roots.
The Hawks also have a statue of Dominique Wilkins in front of Philips Arena. It's a great way to pay tribute to the greatest Hawk of all-time.
There is always an item on sale for $10 at the Hawks team store. Normally it's a shirt, so it's definitely worth grabbing.
The postgame show is always in Philips Arena. Normally, the fans get behind the host during the show and go crazy.
The club level of the arena is very nice. It has great seats, clean restrooms and a variety of unique places to eat and drink.
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.
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.
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.
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Atlanta, GA 30303
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