Inside the Amway Center – The Facility


Taj Mahal.  Sistine Chapel.  Palace of Versailles.  Legoland.  Amway Center.  These are all architectural wonders which will be studied and imitated throughout the rest of time.  True marks of excellence showing the unique ingenuity of man.  Ok, maybe not, but that doesn’t change the fact that the opening of the Amway Center is the most exciting thing to happen to Central Florida since the recent arrival of Five Guys Burgers and Fries into the region.   

Last week, I took a look at the launch of the Amway Center and how residents can get involved and get a sneak peak of the new Events Center.  With this post, I plan to take a look at all the information you need to know (and way more) about the facility itself.  Love flat screen monitors? You won’t miss a second of the game with 1,100 HD monitors spread throughout the building.  Hate lines?  The new $380 million facility has 37 restrooms and one concession point of sale for every 125 spectators.  Needless to say, this is a vast improvement over the former Amway Arena.

After the jump, read all the facts, stats and information you would ever want to know about the new building and all that Magic fans and Central Florida residents have to look forward to.

The Orlando Magic served as the developer of the new downtown Amway Center which will compete to host major national events, concerts and family shows. The facility is owned and operated by the City of Orlando on behalf of the Central Florida community.

The Amway Center was designed to reflect the character of the community, meet the goals of the users and build on the legacy of sports and entertainment in Orlando.

The building’s exterior features a modern blend of glass and metal materials, along with ever-changing graphics via a monumental wall along one façade. A 180-foot tall tower and spire serves as a beacon amid the downtown skyline.

Amenities for all levels of ticket buyers

At 875,000 square feet, the new arena is almost triple the size of the old Amway Arena. The building features a sustainable, environmentally-friendly design, unmatched technology, featuring 1,100 digital monitors and the largest, high-definition scoreboard in an NBA venue, and multiple premium amenities available to all patrons in the building.

Every level of ticket buyer will have access to the:

  • The Budweiser Baseline Bar
  • Club Restaurant
  • Nutrilite Magic Fan Experience
  • Orlando on Demand Info Garden
  • Kid’s Zone
  • Gentlemen Jack Terrace
  • Sky Bar
  • Multiple indoor-outdoor spaces which celebrate Florida’s climate.

“It’s a great day for Central Florida. History will look back on this day in the same light as the day that Walt Disney announced he was building his theme park in Orlando,” Magic President Alex Martins said the night of the approval, adding: “I would like to thank Mayor Rich Crotty and Mayor Buddy Dyer, as well as both the County and City Commissions for their vision and leadership. I would also like to thank the Walt Disney World Company, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association, as well as the entire Orlando business community for their active participation in ensuring this positive outcome for new downtown sports and entertainment facilities for the people who call Central Florida home.”

The Magic were major financial participants in the public-private partnership – contributing $50 million toward construction of the Amway Center, $10 million toward the arts center, and $25 million toward construction of five community recreation centers. The Magic’s other contributions toward operations, fundraising and financing push the team’s total participation to more than $150 million.

Uniquely Orlando

“In designing the community’s new center we feel we have created the framework for a facility that will be the catalyst for economic revitalization in downtown’s west side, while establishing a flexible design that will serve as a great home and attract the nation’s premier events,” added the Magic’s Martins. “The building has a design unique to Orlando, while providing a framework for environmental sustainability.”

To celebrate Central Florida’s moderate climate, the building is filled with a variety of indoor-outdoor spaces. For instance, once guests enter the voluminous, 80-foot-tall main lobby, they are able to return to the outdoors via a spacious balcony overlooking Church Street.

The arena was designed to respond to its distinct urban setting while revealing the activities occurring within. Bounded by Church Street, Hughey Avenue, South Street and Division Avenue, the arena’s primary entrance faces north to Church Street, creating a natural extension of the nearby downtown entertainment core. The Church Street entry features a large public entry plaza connecting the arena’s spacious entry lobby.

Jobs in a tough economy

The massive construction project served as a boon to the local construction business in a time when jobs were scarce because of the sharp downturn of the nation’s economy.

The Magic and City of Orlando worked closely with local minority and women-owned businesses — some of which were based out of the nearby Parramore community — awarding them with more than 30 percent of the contracts totaling a whopping $90-plus million.

Of the 170-plus minority and women-owned firms which worked to construct the facility, 61 were African-American-owned firms, 51 women-owned firms, 36 Hispanic-owned firms, 20 Asian-American-owned firms and two Native-American-owned firms.

Environmentally friendly

Sustainable design and construction specifics focused on the opportunities to create an environmentally-friendly building in various categories. Among them:  providing water efficiency; optimizing energy and atmosphere protection; conserving materials and resources; monitoring indoor environmental quality and health; selecting environmentally preferred operations and maintenance.  These elements combine to create one of the most environmentally-friendly, high-performing professional arenas in the country.

Inside the arena, patrons will find modern amenities in a comfortable setting – perfect for hosting family events as well as basketball games. Concourses are spacious, offering unique concessions and activities for kids and adults alike. The Budweiser Baseline Bar on the main concourse overlooks the event floor, and children will enjoy spending time in the kid-oriented fun zone and retail opportunities on the upper concourse.

The Magic’s old home, Amway Arena, housed 17,500 seats in just 367,000 square feet of space. The new arena features 875,000 square feet of space – more room to incorporate more modern day amenities found in most professional arenas of the day – and seating which will be expandable to more than 20,000 seats to accommodate major national events.

The new $380 million facility has 60 suites, 1,400 club seats, eight levels, 37 restrooms, retail stores and one concession point of sale for every 125 spectators.

Most technologically advanced building in North America

Harris Corporation is the official technology partner of Amway Center. The arena has more than 1,100 screens of high-definition content via Internet Protocol Television and a state-of-the-art digital signage network which maximizes fan engagement and interaction, distributes an unprecedented amount of patron information, as well as providing unlimited opportunities for advertisers and sponsors.

The Daktronics centerhung scoreboard alone includes four primary high definition LED video displays with 840 lines of resolution, eight auxiliary video/scoring/statistics displays and two LED ring displays. The venue will be the first in the world to utilize high resolution 6 mm surface mount LED pixel technology on all of the centerhung digital displays. More than 9 million individual LEDs will be used in the 18 displays incorporated into the centerhung scoreboard. Overall dimensions of the centerhung scoreboard are 42 feet by 41 feet by 41 feet (HxWxD), making it the largest and most capable of any in NBA venues. Complementing the primary scoreboard will be two LED ribbon boards mounted on the interior fascia of the seating decks.

“We’ve designed a facility that has so many built-in amenities for every level of ticket-buyer,’’ Martins said. “So many of these buildings in the past have been designed where a lot of the amenities have focused only on the premium ticket-buyer, the courtside seat holder or the club seat holder. But here with the new building, we have bars, restaurants and clubs on every level for every ticket-buyer; and that’s for Magic games and every event. So it really is a building that has a high level of amenity for everybody.’’


Opened: October 2010

Cost: $380 million (total construction cost)

Location: Downtown Orlando; bound by Church Street (north); Hughey Avenue (east); South Street (south); Division Avenue (west)

Owner: City of Orlando

Operator: City of Orlando

Primary Tenant: Orlando Magic

Functions: NBA and collegiate basketball, arena football, indoor soccer, concerts, hockey, circuses, stage shows and exhibitions

Design Architect: Populous (formerly HOK Sport)

Local Architects: C.T. Hsu + Associates; Baker Barrios Architects, Inc.

Construction Manager: Hunt Construction Group in association with Rey Group, R.L.

Burns, Inc., HZ Construction and Albu & Associates, Inc.

Program Manager: Turner Construction Company

Theming and Environmental Graphics Designer: RipBang

Announced “Champion of the Community” Partners: Harris Corporation; AirTran; PepsiCo; Geico

Site Acreage: 8.75 acres

Number of Levels: 7: Event Level (E); Mezzanine (Level 1); IOA Founders (2); Terrace (3); Club (4); Promenade  (5); Sky (6); Press (7)

Square Footage: 875,000 square feet

Seating Capacities: 19,700 (center stage concert)

16,000 (end stage concerts)

18,500 (NBA)

Brian Serra is a contributing blogger at Howard the Dunk and the founder of  You can follow/add him on Twitter and on Facebook.