Kim Klement/USA TODAY
The luster off Amway Center the building has not faded very much, but a new review of Amway Center in Stadium Journey Magazine shows that the experience of watching the Magic at their new building has started to take a turn for the worse.
After giving Magic fans a decent mark in 2012, Stadium Journey's reviewer was less than impressed with the atmosphere inside Amway Center, something longtime Magic fans have noticed and expected as the team nose dived to the bottom of the standings.
Stadium Journey's reviewer, Andy Mantsch awarded Amway Center a 3.7 out of five stars in his review after receiving a 4.7 out of five last year and finishing second only to Los Angeles' (Lakers) Staples Center among NBA arenas.
The biggest fall was certainly to the fans, which received a review-low two stars for the game. Mantsch attended December's game against the Hawks in which a group of Hawks fans invaded the arena and were boisterous and loud over the somewhat sleepy Magic crowd filing in for another game on a team destined to miss the Playoffs again.
The review seemed to re-inforce the "wine and cheese" reputation Magic fans at Amway Center seem to have:
The crowd at the Magic games seems to be pretty laid back (not necessarily in a positive way). I've heard they sell out often despite their poor showings in recent years, but on the occasion I was in attendance, it was nowhere near full. As far as volume, it's not really there at all. It's more of a feet up on the seats, hang out at the beautiful bars type of crowd. They cheer appropriately at big plays, but the overall noise level isn't there.
You kind of feel though that this would change once the Magic get good again. Winning attracts fans and boisterous fans. That just seems to be sports marketing 101.
Still, if the ambiance and drink and entertainment options are what you are after, Amway Center continues to score well in those areas. The reviewer gave the arena four stars for its "Extras" being the bars inside and outside the arena. He joked you could probably go on a pub crawl inside the arena alone:
Huge bonus points for the ridiculously cool 'Ronas & 'Ritas open air bar that offers a great view of the city from comfortable seating on the side of the arena. Bonus points also for the Budweiser Baseline Bar and O-Zone. When you combine all of those, you have a really cool venue for a social evening at a basketball game. You could actually pub crawl in this arena. More bonus points are given for the seamless blend into the immediate neighborhood. Overall, it's a very cool place to just hang out before and after the game.
And for the second straight year, the magazine likes how the arena is integrated with the city and the downtown area. The proximity to the bars and restaurants on Church Street continue to be a plus for out of town visitors.
Just wait for the entertainment complex to get built.
Overall, the results should not be too surprising. The arena continues to impress with its amenities and tie to the city. Only the basketball team on the floor seems to disappoint. That tends to drag some of the experience down a bit.
As Magic fans proved Sunday night in the win over the Celtics however, Amway Center can get loud and rocking when the game is truly on the line. In time, it might be like that for 48 minutes and shoot back up this list.