The Magic are set to begin construction on what I have called Amway Center Phase 2 next summer.
When will the entertainment complex that will be there rise up? Magic COO Alex Martins hopes it will be in time to be part of the team's 2017 or 2018 All-Star bid, he told attendees at an Orlando Business Journal event (h/t Richard Bilbao of Orlando Business Journal).
Martins informed the crowd that the Magic will likely bid this March to host the 2017 or 2018 All-Star Games. The Magic last hosted in 2012 and as Amway Center was being built commissioner David Stern said he would like to see Orlando as part of a regular rotation to host the NBA's premier mid-season event.
As for the team's plans for this entertainment complex, the team will tear down the parking lot and retail space across the street from the arena as well as the old Orlando Police headquarters and two blocks behind it to build an entertainment complex that will include hotels, shopping, retail space and a small convention center. The Magic hope to fashion it after L.A. Live or Beale Street in Memphis.
So why would this be an integral part of the Magic's next All-Star bid?
The big complaint that I had heard from media covering the event in 2012 was that the event was too spread out. Having to shuttle from the Mariott near International Drive to the Convention Center and then to Downtown Orlando to the Amway Center was a long trek.
It was very unlike typical All-Star host cities like New Orleans, Los Angeles or Houston. In Los Angeles and Houston, at least, the convention center which would host the NBA Jam Session and media day events were connected to or on the same street as the arena. It made for easy transport to and from the events for the people covering them.
Additionally, the entertainment complex may alleviate the complaints that marred some of the 2012 All-Star Game. The NBA had to erect barriers between store owners across the street from the Amway Center to prevent non-ticketed participants from getting in to see the outdoor concerts planned before the events.
The retailers complained and attempted to sue the city and the NBA to prevent them from going up. They did and they did not reap many of the rewards from the weekend because of them.
Petty, on the NBA's part, I know.
With the Magic being heavily involved in the development of this entertainment complex, it would make sense that more of it would be open and part of the festivities even for those unble to get into the Amway Center.
In any case, having it available will make the event a truly Downtown event and bring more people into Orlando rather than spreading them out around Orange County.
The question of whether Orlando will get another All-Star game is clearly not a matter of it, but when. The entertainment complex may determine how soon.