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Amway Arena (formerly known as the Orlando Arena, TD Waterhouse Centre, and The Arena in Orlando , and colloquially known by the nickname of O-Rena) is an indoor arena in Orlando, Floridamarker. It is part of the Orlando Centroplex, a sports and entertainment complex located in downtown Orlando. The arena is home to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League/Arena Football 1 and the Orlando Titans of the National Lacrosse League. It also hosts the PlayStation Pro event on the Dew Action Sports Tour and the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus annually, along with various concerts and other events.

History

The logo as TD Waterhouse Centre
TD Waterhouse, a division of Canadian finance company Toronto Dominion, purchased naming rights to the Orlando Arena in 1999, and named the venue the TD Waterhouse Centre (utilizing Canadian spelling). Before the Orlando Arena's naming rights were sold, the other two buildings in the Orlando Centroplex—Orlando Expo Centre and Bob Carr Performing Arts Centremarker--utilized that spelling as well, so it was more than simply the fact that TD Waterhsouse is a Canadian company that the building used the "Centre" spelling. Those naming rights expired on November 30, 2006, and TD Ameritrade, which bought TD Waterhouse's U.S. operations earlier in the year, chose not to renew them. The venue was briefly known as "The Arena in Orlando" before the new naming rights contract was signed, a period of approximately one week.

On December 7, 2006 it was announced that Amway would become the new sponsor, renaming the building as the Amway Arena. Amway will pay $1.5 million over 4 years, or $375,000 a year, for the rights. Amway will also have an initial exclusive option to negotiate for the right to name the new Amway Centermarker. Amway founder Richard DeVos owns the Orlando Magic team.

The nickname of the building for Predator games is "The Jungle". During the 2005-2006 AFL seasons, the facility was referred to as Hummer Field at TD Waterhouse Centre.

It is also the former home of the IHL's Orlando Solar Bears, and also the RHI's Orlando Jackals. Completed in 1989 at a cost of $98 million - entirely publicly financed - the arena seats 17,519 for basketball and has 26 luxury suites. The naming rights were sold in 2000 to TD Waterhouse at $7.8 million for five years. It is also used for entertainment events, particularly large rock concerts.

The 1990 SEC men's basketball tournament was held here, as was the WWF Royal Rumble that year. WCW held its Bash at the Beach there in 1994. WWE Armageddon 2003 was also held there. On March 29, 2008 World Wrestling Entertainment held their Hall of Fame induction at the arena in conjunction with WrestleMania XXIV, which was held at the Citrus Bowlmarker. The most notable inductee was Ric Flair, who two nights later on an episode of WWE Raw announced hias retirement from professional wrestling which was also held at this arena. On July 13, 2009 WWE Raw held a Live Event on The USA Network where Seth Green made a Celebrity guest appearance at this very arena.Early rounds of the NCAA Tournament were held there in the early- to mid-1990s.

In 1991, the facility was voted "Arena of the Year" by Performance Magazine. It was also nominated for "Best Indoor Concert Venue" in the Pollstar Concert Industry Awards.

The 42nd annual NBA All-Star Game was held at the facility February 9, 1992.

The arena was the site of three ArenaBowl games. The Predators lost to the Detroit Drive in 1992 and Arizona Rattlers in 1994 before defeating the Nashville Kats in 2000.

During the 1993–94 NHL season, the Tampa Bay Lightning played five of their home games here.

Games One and Two of the 1995 NBA Finals were held at the facility, as well as Games 3, 4, and 5 of the 2009 NBA Finals between the Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Arena also hosted IHL Finals in 1996, 1999 and 2001, when the Orlando Solar Bears won the Turner Cup in the IHL's last season of operations.

In 2004, Orlando was selected as one of five cities to host the Dew Tour, an extreme sports franchise started in 2005. It is the site of the PlayStation Pro, the final event each season on the tour.

The facility was the site of the 1992 United States Figure Skating Championships.

For several years, the PBR's Challenger Tour series held an event, the Tater Porter Invitational, at this venue. In June 2008 the PBR will bring the Built Ford Tough Series to the Amway Arena for the first time.

On August 22, 2004, the City of Orlando evicted the Orlando Seals, a minor league hockey team, from the TD Waterhouse Centre. They were forced to sit out the first season of Southern Professional Hockey League play for 2004–2005 as a result. They ultimately moved to Kissimmeemarker's Silver Spurs Arenamarker and resumed play in 2005–2006 as the Florida Seals until they were evicted from Silver Spurs Arena on January 4, 2007. The franchise subsequently folded.

On February 22, 2007, the officials from the Buena Vista corporation announced that the Orlando Sharks, an expansion team in the Major Indoor Soccer League, will play in the aremna beginning in fall 2007. Although the Sharks intended to play in the National Indoor Soccer League, rent issues with Amway Arena led them to eventually fold.

In 2004 Presidential candidate John Kerry held a rally inside the arena filling the floor and most of the lower bowl. On September 20, 2008, Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama held a major outdoor rally immediately outside the Amway Arena north entrance that drew over 50,000 supporters. Additional speakers at the rally included U.S. Senators Hillary Clinton and Bill Nelson. The major rally drew national attention to Florida as an election battle-ground state and was covered live on national eveninge newscasts on all major networks.

The Orlando Titans of the National Lacrosse League arrived in June 2009 to begin play in the 2010 season, which will be January through April plus playoffs. They will play their first season at Amway Arena.

In 2007 the Orlando Magic announced that the Arena would be replaced by their new arena the Amway Center. The old Amway Arena will be sold for an asking price of $90 million by the city of Orlando. The new Amway Center is scheduled to be opened in October of 2010.

Successor arena

Beginning around 1999, the Orlando Magic and the City of Orlandomarker entered discussions for a complete refurbishment or demolition of the TD Waterhouse Centre in favor of a new facility. In recent years, arena and city officials had reported revenue losses, and criticized the facility for not being large enough compared to more recently constructed arenas. The media have offered rumors that the Orlando Magic may relocate to another city, but team officials denied such claims. The facility currently ranks near the bottom in the NBA as far as capacity and luxury.

On September 29, 2006, the City of Orlando and Orange County came to an agreement on a $1.1-billion improvement package that includes $480 million for a new arenamarker. The Magic will provide $114 million in cash and up-front lease payments and guarantee $100 million in bonds toward the arena. The venue plan received final approval on July 26, 2007, and the arena is expected to be complete in time for the 2010–11 NBA season. The Orlando Sentinel reported on June 12, 2009 that the city is trying to sell the 367,000 sq ft building that seats up to 18,000 and has parking for 4200 cars. The asking price is only $90 million. Of course, there is still the possibility of it being torn down but hopefully that will not be necessary.

References

  1. The Arena in Orlando was used only briefly, lasting approximately a week in December 2006 and serving as the interim name between the expiration of the contract with TD Waterhouse and the announcement of the new naming rights deal with Amway.


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