Phillips Arena is the sparkling home for the NBA Atlanta Hawks and the NHL Atlanta Thrashers. When they picked
a new location for their new venue, which opened in 1999, several alternatives to the location of the old Omni were
considered. But why re-invent the wheel? The best spot for the new venue was right where the old one stood. So
the Omni was razed, and right in its spot the new Phillips Arena was built. We can't imagine a better spot than this!
Getting to the venue
The arena is situated on the east side of downtown, right next to the landmark Georgia Dome and the huge
Georgia Convention Center. Directional signage throughout the downtown streets are abundant, and coming in to
downtown from any of the arterials, I-75, I-85 or I-20 will also direct you to the venue. Another easy way to get here
is via the MARTA rail line. Exit W1 is steps from the building's front door. Cost for parking in the ramp is $15,
though cheaper lots can be found for as little as $5. Free on street parking is pretty scarce and far away so plan to
Outside the venue
Other well known Atlanta landmarks such as the CNN World Center and Centennial Park are right next to the
arena. In fact, the CNN Center is connected right to the arena, and the breathtaking 20 story atrium houses a good
number of restaurants, shops and fast food eateries, so this makes for a good pre game destination. One of the
most unique characteristics of the exterior facade is for the word ATLANTA which is inscribed in huge letters in the
pillars of the front lobby. A video board and lighted marquee sits on a wall of the parking garage a block away .
Once inside the arena take a walk around the concourses with plenty of merchandise and concession stands.
There were a couple of things that caught our eye here, one was an old four-sided scoreboard without a video
board. Later we were to find out that this was the old main scoreboard at the Omni and as we saw during the
game it is still fully functional and still used to keep time and score and other vital stats of the game going on in
progress. The other thing we noticed was the wall of television monitors(roughly 100?) as we went up the
escalator to the upper level showing various sports events from around the nation. You could catch the action on
those screens from many vantage points in the upper and lower concourses. And at the top of the escalator is
where the arena has an interactive game experience area with hoops for kids, video games and so on.
The major merchandise store is located near the CNN Center entrance of the venue.
Another major feature of the lower concourse is a colorful area named "HawkWalk", simply it is the prime area of
the venue to find concessions, merchandise and the like.
Inside the arena bowl you will find the usual two level seating area with suites and the like. However this building
diverges in a major way from other arenas when it comes to club seats and suite locations. Instead of the
traditional, suites and club seats between the upper and lower seating areas this arena has all club seats
consisting of the entire lower seating level on one sideline of the arena and there are four level of suites atop
overlooking these club seats. Truly unique and something we have not seen before or since.
There is a four sided Phillips videoboard in the center of the building along with dot matrix boards above the
seating area at each end zone supplying statistics and out of town scores. LED ribbon boards run around the
circumference of the balcony and are complemented by companion boards at the base of the center scoreboard.
Banners, Retired numbers.....
The Hawks have three retired numbers for Bob Pettit (from the club's days in St. Louis), Lou Hudson, and
Dominique Wilkins. They also have banners commemorating their division titles won while in Atlanta.
The Thrashers have two banners: one for their inaugural season of 1999-2000, and one for their fifth season in
2003-04. What??? No banners for the second, third , and fourth seasons? This reeks of those "thank you for
participating" certificates that kids get after playing in Little League and has absolutely no place wasting air in an
Did you know???? The Hawks franchise began play in the mid 40's as the Buffalo Bisons.
Slam dunks, assists, fouls
Extra point(s).....The Thrashers and Hawks both had pretty wretched teams that season yet both teams were
victorious. The Thrashers with a one goal win over the then-division leading Panthers, and Hawks hanging on to a
narrow win over the Pistons as Detroit's last gasp FG attempt for the W bricked off the backboard.
Foul....on our return visit in 2004 , we attended the Hawks opening night, and the Hawks put on an astounding
display of why they've been an NBA lottery regular. They tied a franchise low for points in a half on their way to
being routed by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Slam Dunk.....During the Thrashers game they brought out a real decibel counter to show how loud the fans were,
a refreshing change from all of those useless "Fan-O-Meter" graphics on too many Jumbotrons across the US.
Extra point..... The big game in town that weekend in 1999 wasn't the Hawks,Thrashers, or Falcons but the SEC
Championship at the Georgia Dome Saturday Night as Alabama pummeled Florida for the right to go to the Sugar
Bowl. I can still remember us failing miserably at kicking field goals at the SEC Experience as well as all of those
Gators fans on I-75 making the trek up with us to Atlanta.
Special thanks to Scott Riley, who put us up at his home in the 'burbs for a few days during our first visit, saving us
a bundle on hotel expenses. That alone qualified him for induction into our Hall of Fame.
We like arenas in bustling downtown locations, and this one certainly fits the bill. Better yet, the Georgia Dome and
the massive convention center complex are also nearby, creating all sorts of urban synergies. Two elements
make this venue unique and striking... first of all, the connection the building has with the CNN Center next door.
The dramatic atrium almost serves as the venue's main lobby, and lots of shopping and eating options here for
before the game. Second, the "Hawk Walk" concourse is so festive and colorful, it really sets the tone for this
building. Too bad the teams that play here are mired in such muck. For Phillips Arena is a great venue in a vibrant
and exciting city, and earns a top mark on our list.
Food and team store 8
Scoreboard and electronics 8
Fan support 3
Location and neighborhood 7
Banners and history 1
In game entertainment 8
Concourses/fan comfort 6
Bonus: CNN Atrium 4; Old Omni scoreboard 2; Real time noisemeter on video board 2
been relocated to