Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel
When the Orlando Arena opened in 1989, few people had heard of the newfangled Internet, and mobile phones were the size of bricks.
When its replacement opens Oct. 1, the technology inside the new Amway Center will have changed as much as it has in people’s homes during the past 21 years.
“It truly will be the most technologically advanced arena facility in North America,” Orlando Magic President Alex Martins is fond of saying.
Since the $480 million arena’s conception, Magic and city officials have made technology an integral part of the project, from the 1,100 flat-panel video screens throughout the building to an advanced telecommunications network not much different from the one that controls America’s air traffic.
The state-of-the-art technology means more flash for fans, who will be bombarded with images and sound before they even walk in the door. And just as important for the team’s owner, it also means more advertising cash for the Magic. [...]
Advertisers who can afford it will also be able to have their product or name displayed on every screen in the building at the same moment, an opportunity the Magic is selling as “the moment of exclusivity.”
It’s not clear how much the Magic and the city spent on the building’s high-tech features, but the team has the most to gain. Under an agreement with the city, the Magic keep the revenue from the sale of advertising, naming rights and luxury suites in exchange for an annual payment to the city of $1.75 million, an amount that increases 3 percent a year.
As training camp is set to begin in less than a month for the Orlando Magic, it’s very important to note that ownership is paying nearly $94 million in salaries and that’s before the luxury tax is taken into account. This is going to be the most expensive roster in franchise history and Magic fans need to be enjoy this era while they can, because it’s not going to last forever.
The Magic are spending a lot of money to take advantage of Dwight Howard‘s prime and an opportunity to win a championship. That being said, it’ll be interesting to see how much of an influx of revenue Orlando will see and how that’ll impact the team’s ability to continue to pay the luxury tax in future years when the Amway Center opens in less than a month.
That’s a point of emphasis that isn’t being talked about enough and it should be, given that the Magic are a small-market team in the NBA.
Money is nearly no obstacle for the Magic right now, given that owner Rich DeVos has opened up his checkbook the past several years, but it remains to be seen whether or not the investment pays off. Orlando is going to have a tough road ahead in the Eastern Conference, having to deal with the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat.
More advertising cash means more revenue for Orlando, but how much?
We’ll find out eventually.
Fact or Fiction: Vince Carter is Valuable Enough to Merit an Upgrade at the Wing Position in a Trade
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Fact or Fiction presents both sides of key issues the Orlando Magic will face in the upcoming season.
Vince Carter’s expiring contract is the Magic’s best opportunity to upgrade the wing position with a high-quality player (go-to guy) for the future.
The off-season is nearly over for the Orlando Magic and the rest of the NBA, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t any drama along the way. After the Magic lost to the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, the rumor mill began to heat up concerning Vince Carter‘s future with the team after his lackluster performance in the series.
In late June, word broke out that Chris Paul was open to being traded as long as he got a chance to win and soon after, there was a report that Orlando offered Carter in a trade alongside Jameer Nelson for the all-world point guard. And when Carmelo Anthony indicated his desire to leave the Denver Nuggets nearly a month ago, the Magic were initially listed as a team of interest. Even though Carter’s name wasn’t explicitly brought up in any trade scenarios, it was assumed that he could be dealt since he would be replaced by Anthony at one of the wing positions.
Why all the chatter about Carter?
Because Carter has, more or less, an expiring contract. It’s important to note that Carter’s contract in 2012 is guaranteed for $4 million if he’s waived before June 30, 2011. Even though it’s not a purely expiring contract, there’s no question that any team acquiring Carter in a deal would save a chunk of money.
It’s clear that Carter has value and could be a trade chip for Orlando at the deadline, if general manager Otis Smith wants to explore the possibility.
Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
While the rivalry between the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat might lay dormant at times during the offseason, the venom between the two heated, hated sides clearly never bubbles too far below the surface.
And old rivals Otis Smith, Stan Van Gundy and Heat president Pat Riley have made sure that the vitriol between the two teams continues to flow all summer long.
Irked at some of the comments from Smith, Orlando’s President of Basketball Operations, and Van Gundy, the Magic’s head coach, following Miami’s free-agent signings of LeBron James and Chris Bosh in July, Riley went on the offensive on Friday. He was highly critical of Smith, Van Gundy and TNT analyst Charles Barkley for becoming the “moral conscious or moral authority’’ of players in the NBA.
Van Gundy, who worked in Miami with Riley for 12 seasons from 1995-2006, fired back on Saturday at the many inconsistencies in Riley’s behavior and criticisms through the years.
“I thought it was pretty typical. I was kind of amused by it, especially reading down through the interview,’’ Van Gundy said. “He goes into Charles Barkley, me and Otis and then says he doesn’t worry about what people say. Wait, you called the press conference, you went off and everybody and you don’t care what people say? Clearly, he cares a great deal about what people say. I was laughing when I saw that.’’
Did I not say it was personal between the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat?
These are two franchises that don’t like each other.
- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “I don’t think you can argue against this game being tops among [Rashard] Lewis‘ performances with the [Orlando] Magic. There ought not be any debate here. The Magic lost this game in overtime–memorably, Courtney Lee’s wide-open lob layup attempt at the end of regulation was well off the mark–but we aren’t necessarily counting wins and losses in these evaluations. Understand that this game is an unmitigated disaster, along the lines of the Game 1 blowout, without Lewis’ white-hot shooting. He tallied 34 points to lead all scorers, which still stands as his highest mark in a Magic uniform. And yet the raw numbers don’t do enough justice to how crucial he was to Orlando in this hard-fought defeat. Thankfully, we have Popcorn Machine, in addition to our own brains, to fill in the traditional box score’s gaps. Lewis scored 18 of the Magic’s 20 second-period points, on 7-of-10 shooting, while his teammates sputtered to a 1-of-13 mark. The Magic trailed the Lakers by a mere five points at intermission, and rallied in the third quarter to make the game more competitive. As in, having a two-point lead with 47 seconds remaining.”
- Miami Heat president Pat Riley: “Riley specifically cited Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith and former NBA star turned analyst Charles Barkley as examples of people who took what the Heat president thought were unwarranted shots at the way the Heat went about business this summer. He also mentioned Magic coach Stan Van Gundy — Riley’s former protege in Miami — as well. On the day after Miami signed James to a six-year contract that lured him away from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Smith said, ‘I thought he was, I guess, more of a competitor.’ Riley responded to that Friday, saying Smith made ‘an absolutely stupid remark. He never made any kind of comment like that when he signed Rashard Lewis and he brought him down from Seattle with a $128 million contract.’ ”
- Told you it was personal between the Orlando Magic and the Heat.
- Matt Moore of CBSSports.com has more on Riley’s comments: “Riley had to expect this, though. Especially from Van Gundy. Asking ‘what happened’ to Van Gundy? Pat Riley did. And Barkley taking strong sides is nothing new. But this is just the beginning. Every loss to a major team will be played as a revelation that this team isn’t ready to really sacrifice and play together. Every win will be dismissed unless it’s in the Finals, and then it will simply be discussed as ‘They should win! They have the talent!’ ”
- Aron Phillips of Dime Magazine: “As Season 3 of Gatorade REPLAY kicks off, two major names in Chicago basketball – the Bloom Township Trojans and the Brother Rice Crusaders – will reunite to replay their 2000 super sectional game that ended with a questionable last-second tip-in at the buzzer. But this time, 10 years later, each squad will have the help Dwyane Wade (Bloom Township) or Dwight Howard (Brother Rice) on the bench as honorary coaches for the two teams.”
- Dwight Howard is a lot like Alonzo Mourning, according to Casey Mack of Dime Magazine: “Dwight Howard is an intimidating defensive force who — despite his oft-criticized offensive game — can still drop 20 points on you at the other end. His strong build and skills as a rebounder and shot-blocker draws a clear comparison to Alonzo Mourning. ‘Zo won two NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards. Howard has matched that total already, and it’s safe to say a few more are on the way before his career is over.”
- We reminisce when Vince Carter scored 50 points against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Gary Bassing/Orlando Magic
Via the Orlando Magic:
On Wednesday, September 8, Pepsi Beverages Company (PBC) joined forces with Ryan Anderson of the Orlando Magic to fill 750 backpacks with healthy snacks and school supplies. The backpacks were donated to the students of Flora Ridge Elementary School as part of the Backpack Giveaway Agenda. Along with the backpacks, PepsiCo generously provided the school with a $1,000 check to aid in the purchase of student uniforms.
The day began with the stuffing of 750 backpacks with healthy goodies and school supplies by Derek Lewis, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBC, and two Orlando Magic Dancers. Later in the afternoon, Orlando Magic Forward Ryan Anderson and Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw arrived with the loaded backpacks at the Flora Ridge Elementary School Media Center where they greeted the school’s principal and the eagerly awaiting students. Ryan Anderson led the way, distributing the backpacks to the excited and grateful students. The day was capped off by a photo and autograph session.
The backpacks were provided to benefit the Flora Ridge Elementary students in need. 87 percent of the children are on a free or reduced lunch plan and 50 percent speak English as their second language. Studies have shown that one in four children does not have an adequate amount of food and more than 15 percent of local parents said their kids skipped meals because there was not enough money for food.
Thanks to the efforts of both Pepsi Beverages Company and the Orlando Magic, these children were fueled with food and supplies to ensure a good start for the new school year.
Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic
Via the Orlando Magic:
On Friday, October 1, the new Amway Center will open its doors to the Central Florida community for the first time. Opening Weekend at Amway Center will feature a series of free, community events that showcase all of the fan amenities and state-of-the-art technology available only in Downtown Oralndo’s new events center.
Opening day activities will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, October 1 on Church Street in front of the Amway Center. At precisely 10:01 a.m. on 10/01, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando Magic President Alex Martins, Orlando City Commissioners and other Central Florida leaders will open the doors to the new Amway Center for the first time to the public. Following the ceremonial ribbon cutting and building dedication, the community will be invited into the lower bowl for Mayor Dyer’s Annual State of Downtown Address. This year, the State of Downtown is a free event where the entire Central Florida community can participate in this historic day.
On Saturday, October 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mayor Dyer invites Central Florida residents back to the Amway Center for a free, community open house. This event will feature self-guided tours, entertainment and local performances, free popcorn and soda and commemorative items to celebrate this historic accomplishment. Representatives from the Orlando Magic and Orlando Predators will also be on-hand. Residents can experience a “taste of the Amway Center” with a sampling of the newest food offerings available for purchase.
The self-guided tour of the Amway Center will take patrons through the most technologically-advanced events center in the country, showcasing two levels of spacious concourses that include an impressive array of concessions; a stop along the way so the kids can climb STUFF’S Magic Castle, then up to the contemporary, open-air setting of Gentleman Jack’s Terrace, then up 100 feet to the Sky Bar spotlighting some of Downtown Orlando’s best views; past the player locker rooms and ultimately in the lower bowl where you can see the largest arena videoboard in the country.
For more information on Opening Weekend activities including how residents can obtain their free ticket to the community open house and free parking options, visit amwaycenter.com. A new, improved and interactive web site – www.amwaycenter.com – is now available to keep Central Florida residents and patrons updated with the latest information about Amway Center events and offerings. The new amwaycenter.com is a one-stop destination for complete information including box office, ticket sale, parking and event calendar details.
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “As the Orlando Magic’s President and the project manager for the new Amway Center the past four years, Alex Martins can have just about any seat that he wants when the dazzling, $380 million facility throws open its doors to basketball fans on Oct. 10. Instead, Martins plans to stand that night so he can fully see the awed reactions from the patrons when they step inside a building that promises to be the most modern and technologically advanced facility in North America. The Amway Center hit another major milestone in its construction on Wednesday when superstar center Dwight Howard, local politicians and celebrities, students from the Nap Ford Community School and even Martins himself participated in the Drano Royal Flush. For 10 minutes straight, people flushed the 560 toilets in unison, operated the 430 sinks and turned the other 210 drinking fountains and showers on and off. The 875,000-square-foot facility, one that is almost three times the size of the Amway Arena that the Magic played in the previous 21 years, passed the flush test. Up next is the Magic’s Oct. 10 preseason home opener against the New Orleans Hornets and fans first chance to see that the new facility passes their eye test. Martins is eager to see the looks on the fans faces that first night when they get to fully enjoy his labor of love the past four years.”
- John Krolik and Rob Mahoney of ProBasketball wonder whether or not the “small-ball” era is over: “For example, Dwight Howard doesn’t dominate games by getting the ball on the block and making a move every time the Magic have the ball, because that’s not how things work anymore. However, his ability to guard the paint has become invaluable, because there’s no way to stop faster players from getting into the paint without fouling them on the perimeter. Offensively, Howard’s ability to turn Jameer Nelson‘s penetration into an alley-oop finish is more valuable than it would have been previously, because Jameer now penetrates more.”
- Dwight Howard’s magical moment with Kay Kellogg.
- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that Denver Nuggets All-Star Carmelo Anthony would prefer Denver deal him to the Chicago Bulls or the New York Knicks. For this site’s purposes, the report is more interesting for which team it doesn’t mention, rather than the teams it does. Indeed, the Orlando Magic are nowhere to be found in Spears’ report, which indicates that ESPN’s panel of experts may have been onto something a few weeks ago when it didn’t list the Magic among contenders to land Anthony. Three weeks ago, Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported that the Magic topped Anthony’s list of possible trade destinations. But the talk linking Anthony to the Magic has calmed considerably since then, with teams like the New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets, L.A. Clippers–in addition to the Bulls and Knicks–appearing more prominently in the rumor mill.”
- Jameer Nelson shoots a lot like a shooting guard.
- Howard is participating in Gatorade’s REPLAY event, where “members of both the Chicago-area Bloom and Brother Rice 2000 high school basketball teams will take part in a rematch between the two schools. Sponsored by Gatorade, the pairing hopes to serve as a bit of closure after Bloom won a highly contested (both in game, and after it) 42-40 Super Sectional win, after Joe Chapman managed a tip in around (some say before, some say after) the final seconds ticked off the clock.”
- Matt Barnes, former Magic player, is in a heap of trouble with the law.
Fernando Medina, Orlando Magic
Via the Orlando Magic:
The new Amway Center in downtown Orlando met another milestone as the traditional “Royal Flush” was held September 8, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at the construction site. The purpose of the Drano “Royal Flush” event was to observe sanitary sewer flows, water consumption and pressure in and around the arena. Approximately 443 toilets were flushed simultaneously; there are 18 men’s and 19 women’s restrooms in the new Amway Center, compared to just four of each in the old facility. [...]
Orlando Magic Center Dwight Howard poses with the students from Nap Ford Community School for the Drano “Royal Flush”. More than 150 people participated in the event with approximately 443 toilets flushing simultaneously. The new Amway Center will have 18 men’s and 19 women’s restrooms. Overall, there are nearly 1,200 plumbing fixtures in the new Amway Center including approximately 560 toilets / urinals, 430 sinks, and 210 other-type fixtures, including drink fountains, showers, and disposals.
Make sure to read Ben Q. Rock’s retrospective look at Dwight Howard‘s career night. A must-read.