Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Hockey and Basketball Arena

Untitled Document



Brooklyn Nets

General Motors Place

Wachovia Center

Pepsi Center


Brooklyn, New York


Vancouver, British Columbia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Denver, Colorado
Date: 2006 (Projected)  Opened September 1995  1996  Opened 1999
Uses: Nets basketball games, concerts, other events.  Professional basketball, hockey, and lacrosse games, concerts, and 2010 Olympics.  Professional basketball and hockey games, concerts, circuses, 2002 NBA All-Star Game, and other events.  Pepsi Center hosts professional basketball, hockey, lacrosse, and arena football games, concerts and other events.
Size: Seats 20,000  Seats 20,004  Seats 21,600 people  Seats 19,000 people
Projected Cost: $435 million (projected)  $160 million (Canadian)  $206 million  $160 million
Public Cost: $150 million in government funds for streets and rail connections.  $13 million from the city and state.  $4.5 million in infrastructure, $2.25 million for construction sales tax rebates and $2.1 million annually for property tax exemptions.
Private Financing: Nets owner Bruce Ratner plans to pay for the arena, the centerpiece of a $2.5 billion commercial and residential development that would stretch for three blocks along Atlantic Avenue.  Primarily privately financed by General Motors Canada, which paid $18.5 million for 20-year naming rights.  $200 million, which includes naming rights at $40 million over 21 years and an undisclosed additional cost eight years afterward.  Privately financed by investors and through the sale of luxury boxes. Pepsi paid an estimated $68 million for naming rights.
Voter Referendum? No  No  No  No
At Issue: Opponents say as many as 1,000 people will be evicted from their homes. They also say that the majority of the new housing will not be affordable to current residents and fear an influx of traffic. The project will use Tax Increment Financing, which diverts future property, sales and income taxes in a designated district until the developer can pay off the costs of the project. While the General Motors Place arena will host the hockey games for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, government officials are committing $400 million to build other venues for other events. In Philadelphia, all the major sports teams – football, baseball, basketball, and hockey – wanted new venues. The new arena was the first built and opened in 1996. Though the teams wanted a larger public subsidy, the owners had to pay for most of it privately. The old arena, The Spectrum, is still open and used for concerts, minor league hockey games, and other events. Philadelphia has recently built a new football stadium for the Eagles and a new baseball stadium for the Phillies, both with public subsidies. In 1986, Denver’s McNichols Arena was renovated at a cost of $12.5 million to the city, but owners of basketball and hockey teams wanted a new one. In return for breaking the lease on the old building, the city wanted the teams to agree to stay in Denver for 25 years. The teams resisted. Two years later an agreement was reached. With new stadiums for baseball and football that used public subsidies and tax increases also planned, owners were forced to finance it primarily with private money.
Benefits Promised:

The arena, designed by architect Frank Gehry, will be a tourist attraction featuring a skating rink, restaurants, and stores. In addition to the arena, the Atlantic Yards plan calls for six acres of park land, 4,500 apartments, 2.1 million square feet of commercial office space, and 300,000 square feet of retail space to be built over a 10-year period. Officials promise to create 15,000 construction jobs, over 10,000 permanent jobs, and 400 permanent jobs at the arena.

 General Motors Place was built in 1995 to showcase professional sports, concerts and other events.  The new arena was designed to bring more high profile events to the area.  The Pepsi Center is part of an area dedicated to sports and recreation. It is located near a football stadium, baseball stadium, and Six Flags amusement park.
Benefits Delivered: The Vancouver Grizzlies basketball team moved to Memphis in 2001. The lacrosse team folded. And in 2005, the arena did not host any games by the Canucks because the professional hockey season was suspended over contract disputes between owners and players. In addition to sports, the arena has drawn other events such as the Republican National Convention in 2000. The arena was recently voted the top basketball arena by USA Today.



Print Friendly and PDF

Editor's Choice

Gotham Gazette: New York Voters Approve $4.2 Billion Environmental Bond Act
New York Voters Approve $4.2 Billion Environmental Bond Act
Gotham Gazette: 
New York City Voters Approve Racial Justice Ballot Measures
New York City Voters Approve Racial Justice Ballot Measures
Gotham Gazette: Max Politics Podcast: A Winning Formula for Democrats in Tough New York Races
Max Politics Podcast: A Winning Formula for Democrats in Tough New York Races
Gotham Gazette: Max Politics Podcast Max Politics Podcast