Formerly called Time Warner Cable Arena, the uptown entertainment and sports venue is called the Spectrum Center, reflecting the name change of the building sponsor after the company’s buyout. The arena is owned by the city government, but it is managed by the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association. As part of the deal, they enjoy all profits from the arena, but are also on the hook for any losses from its operations.
While they do book as many entertainment acts and concerts as they can throughout the year, the primary event hosted here are home games for the NBA team. The question now is, can they fill all the seats?
Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the then-Charlotte Hornets lead the league in attendance seven straight seasons at the older and now-demolished Charlotte Coliseum. When that franchise left for New Orleans, the city had already soured on NBA attendance, and even though a new expansion Bobcats franchise was awarded quickly, the team never really caught on. Attendance was tepid, and the team’s performance was rather tepid, even abysmal at times.
The original Hornets eventually changed their name to the Pelicans, reflecting a local connection to New Orleans in naming themselves after the Louisiana state bird. That freed up the Hornets name and legacy, which returned to Charlotte after some negotiations and legal wrangling.
Many of the original fans have loved seeing the name come back, but the team has struggled somehow to sell out games. The city is much larger than it was back then, but there is also a lot more for consumers and fans to do, including a new minor league baseball stadium in the center city, NFL action with the Carolina Panthers, and minor league hockey.