A big year across the NBA arena landscape has begun. While 2017 had its share of memorable moments when it came to the opening of new, and renovated, facilities, the year 2018 will offer plenty of storylines across the league.
In 2017, the NBA saw the arrival of a new venue in the form of Little Caesars Arena—home to the Detroit Pistons—and the finishing touches of several major renovation projects. This year offers a similar mix, with one team moving into a new arena and multiple clubs undertaking renovations of their home facilities.
The Milwaukee Bucks will provide the biggest highlight of the year with the opening of their new downtown arena (shown above), which is on track to debut for the 2018-19 NBA season. The arena is being developed as part of a larger downtown project, and is the season’s only new arena opening in the NBA. While not all of the components of the downtown development project will be ready when the arena opens—work on a new entertainment district will still be unfolding when the Bucks play their first game at the facility—the Bucks still figure to make a splash later this year.
Between now and the new arena’s debut, the Bucks will say goodbye to the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Bucks are scheduled to play their final regular-season game at the Bradley Center April 9 against the Orlando Magic. That will mark one of the last major events at the facility, which is slated to be demolished once the new arena opens to clear the way for future development.
Elsewhere, the Atlanta Hawks will debut the latest results of their ongoing renovation to Philips Arena. Some components of that overhaul were completed in time for the 2017-18 season, but this year will bring some of the biggest changes to the arena to date. Once the full renovation is complete, Philips Arena is expected to offer a unique mix of amenities that include new social spaces. If the renovations stay on schedule, they will be completed in time for the Hawks’ 50th anniversary in Atlanta.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers are moving forward with improvements to Quicken Loans Arena. The team had hoped to begin work on the project last year, but an effort to place arena renovation funding on a voter referendum stalled that plan. Since the petitions were retracted last summer, however, the Cavaliers have been continuing with the planning for the project.
Once the renovations are completed, Quicken Loans Arena will offer more interior gathering spaces and a new exterior design. This will be perhaps the largest renovation completed at the arena since its opening in 1994. As a result of the project, the Cavaliers will be extending their stay at Quicken Loans Arena through at least 2034.
After a strong year on the arena front, the NBA has more to look forward to over the coming year. While more information about these projects should emerge over the next several months, it is already clear that the league will offer a strong mix of new and renovated arenas in 2018.
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