Arena

The Atlanta Hawks franchise settled in Moline, Illinois, calling the Wharton Fieldhouse home from 1946-1951. Once the team moved to Milwaukee in 1951, the appropriately named Milwaukee Arena became the nest for the Hawks. Both stadiums had not been built with basketball as their primary purposes, meaning that capacity and amenities were problems at both venues. After moving to St. Louis, the Hawks moved into yet another arena, this time Kiel Auditorium. By the time the team moved there, however, the stadium was over twenty years old. While being a great venue for events such as a speech from President Harry Truman and Ms. Universe Pageants, the Hawks still longed for a basketball-minded arena.

They finally got their wish, as the Omni Coliseum opened in 1972, although the team had to play four seasons at the home of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, as the arena was being built. The Omni served as a great stadium for the Hawks, while also being home to the Atlanta Flames of the NHL, minor league hockey teams, pro wrestling matches, soccer teams, and the 1996 Summer Olympics as the indoor volleyball venue. When constructed, it was seen as one of the most advanced stadiums to ever be built. Despite being demolished in 1997, the scoreboard of The Omni still hangs in the pavilion of the Hawks Current home, the Phillips Arena.

The Phillips Arena opened in 1999, built in the same location as The Omni. The arena currently serves the Hawks, the Atlanta Dream, and was the former home of the Atlanta Thrashers before their relocation to Winnipeg. The arena was built in large part because the construction of newer, state of the art arenas in other cities to accommodate other franchises. Ted Turner’s desire to bring an expansion NHL team back to Atlanta, following the Flames departure, also led to the construction of the Phillips Arena. Today, the stadium can hold just under 20,000 fans for a Hawks basketball game. Phillips Arena was also the first NBA venue to achieve LEED status, acknowledging the stadiums leadership in energy and environmental design.