Dallas is setting a new standard for sports and entertainment venues. With the best minds in architecture and entertainment, the city and owners of the Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks have meticulously crafted the best sports facility in the country
American Airlines Center.
The Center will open in Fall, 2001 at a cost of approximately $325 million, and will include every modern convenience. Its advanced design will be defined by wide, open concourses and specifically designed seating bowls that put fans closer than ever to the action.
The Center will feature 143 luxury suites located on the Flagship, Platinum and Admiral levels, as well as Platinum seats offering a host of comforts and amenities.
The Platinum Level will include fine restaurant dining with seating that overlooks the downtown skyline or the game. This exclusive level also will include private conference centers and specialty food and drink bars.
Not to be confused with American Airlines Arena in Miami, the American Airlines Center sits on the northwest shoulder of downtown Dallas amid a 70-acre emerging development called Victory. Victory will be an engine for continued downtown revitalization with more than 6 million square
feet of entertainment, retail, residential and office space.
High tech hockey
American Airlines Center sits on a buried superhighway of fiber optic cable. So it was easy for designers to give the facility the most cutting-edge technological amenities available today.
With Dallas quickly becoming a technology boomtown, and with tech-savvy owners like Mark Cuban, Ross Perot Jr. and Tom Hicks, this project was bound from the beginning to be a technological masterpiece.
American Airlines Center will boast:
* More digital signs than any other sports and entertainment center
* Replay boards five generations beyond the ones in Reunion Arena
* High tech sounds and P.A. systems
* Internet access in luxury suites and conference rooms
* Ticket tracking technology that will tell management who comes to the
games, how often, and special information about them that can help make
their visit more comfortable.
And the Center will stay on the cutting edge for years to come. Builders have
installed extra raceways, ductwork and conduit for wiring that isn't even
available yet. Extra large utility closets are available for technology
that hasn't even been invented.
The cold hard facts
One of the challenges facing American Airlines Center designers was
the climate in North Texas. American Airlines Center has been specially
designed to maintain the ice in the hot Texas climate. For instance:
* American Airlines Center's air conditioning capacity will be 4600 tons.
Reunion Arena's is 1400 tons.
* The ice making capacity in American Airlines Center is 312 tons. In
Reunion Arena, it's 280.
* The ice hockey slab in American Airlines
Center will require 10,000 gallons of water (about the same as a residential
pool) and use over 8 miles of pipe to keep the surface frozen.
From floor to lofty ceiling, American Airlines
Center is a masterpiece of architecture, entertainment and technology.
American Airlines Center was designed by David M. Schwarz/Architectural Services, Inc. and HKS, Inc. The team combined architecture and technology to give Dallas a beautiful, fan friendly venue with lots of hi-tech touches. From its sweeping signature arches to the retractable seating, American Airlines Center's unique features single it out as the premier sports and entertainment venue in the country.
Anchoring the 72-acre Victory development, American Airlines Center will serve as the backdrop to what will soon become Dallas' most vibrant urban gathering space. As recently as three years ago, the site contained an abandoned rail yard, cooling ponds and an old power plant. But after removing 200,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil, the Environmental Protection Agency recognized the site as a prime example of how to re-use an urban, industrial site and make it viable again.
The Exterior Design
The exterior of American Airlines Center is made of brick, limestone and granite and the signature arches provide an open arm welcome to Dallas' citizens. The venue has four entrances, one on each side of the building for easy access. The north and south ends of the building feature dramatic outdoor balconies at the Platinum Level with spectacular views of downtown looking over the public plaza and cityscape.
Seating Bowl Design
American Airlines Center's seating bowl features a one-of-a-kind retractable seating system. This unique, patented design reduces the conversion time between hockey and basketball floor configurations. The result is great sightlines for basketball and hockey fans on the north and south ends.
Another unique feature of the seating bowl is the roof structure. The 150,000 square foot roof is supported only at its four corners. In order to resist the forces generated by the weight of the roof, columns are tied together at the corners by a series of steel rods embedded in the floor of the upper concourse.
Each of American Airlines Center's concourses are highly finished with terrazzo floors, windows, crown molding and painted walls. Avoiding the typical "racetrack" configuration, the venue has five concourses full of wide, open space. The building's four lobbies are points of references each with its own theme. The American Airlines Lobby looks over the public plaza and has spectacular views of the downtown skyline, the North Lobby looks toward the Design District, the East Lobby looks to the Crescent complex, and the West Lobby view stretches over Stemmons Freeway to the Trinity River.
The owners of the project strongly supported the inclusion of Public Art in American Airlines Center. The ownership group matched the City of Dallas' commitment to provide an estimated $3 million for public art. The artwork was integrated as part of the building rather than applying works after the building was completed.
Source: American Airlines Center
THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
December 29, 2001 & December 31, 2001 - With the extreme weather situation here in Buffalo last week, we figured there was no way
they would get our airport open in time for us to catch a plane and make it to Dallas for our
weekend slate of games. Would 82 inches of snow stop the Ultimate Sports Road Trip? NOT
A CHANCE! Undaunted, we tanked up the car, challenged the driving bans, and pointed our
way south. We made it to Cleveland/Hopkins Airport, made our connecting flight, and got
down to Dallas in time to keep our plans intact. Whew! We haven't even started yet and
already another story to tell!
|American Airlines Center Ranking by USRT|
|Fan Support|| 8|
|Concourses/Fan Comfort|| 8.5|
|Bonus: Fans Shout "Star"|| 2|
|Bonus: Friendly Fans|| 2|
|Total Score|| 70|
Dallas' sparkling new arena just opened in late summer of 2001, and is the new home for
the NHL Dallas Stars and NBA Dallas Mavericks, and will also be the home venue of the
Arena Football expansion Desperados come 2002. Built at a jumbo cost of $420 million, the
money spent here really shows in terms of aesthetics, opulence, technology and is clearly a
marvel to see and experience.
Getting to the Venue
The American Airlines Center is located on the northern fringes of downtown, and is
accessible via several expressway spurs, including I-30, I-35E, US 75 and the Tollway, all
converging downtown. Most of the parking immediately surrounding the arena, including a
huge parking ramp, is sold on a permit basis only, but plentiful cash parking can be found 2
blocks south at a cost of $8-$10. DART, the area's light rail line, runs service from the center
of downtown right to the arena.
Outside the Venue
The Center is part of a 72 acre north end redevelopment site, which will include housing,
office and retail and in effect create an entire neighborhood for the arena. At this point,
one new condo complex is open directly to the south. Other parcels are marked off with
blue fencing. Despite the openness of surrounding lands, the grounds around the building
are beautiful, especially on the south side with a huge public plaza/walkway, complete with
fountains, benches, mood lighting. The arena itself makes a bold architectural statement,
with its light brick facade, dramatic arches and entry ways on all four sides, plenty of glass
and a castle like appearance. The building denotes sheer size and strength and emulates
those qualities which personify the state of Texas.
Plenty to do in downtown Dallas, with the historic West End entertainment district about a
10 minute walk from the arena, with restaurants, nightclubs and shops offering many
choices. Of course, no trip to Dallas is complete without a visit to the JFK Sixth Floor
Museum and Dealey Plaza, site of a moment of time which forever changed our history.
The minute you walk into this arena you will be instantly mesmerized. At each of the four
entrances is a magnificent atrium/lobby, extending to the very top of the building, and each
of them has its own corporate sponsor and is decorated in that sponsor's logos. The most
dramatic lobby is the south entrance, where American Airlines is the sponsor, and model
airplanes dangle from the ceiling, mixed with flags of their logos and huge jumbotron
screens show their corporate ads done to their theme music which plays softly in the
The concourses are octagon shaped, and colors are done in soft whites and beiges with
grey and white mosaic tile flooring. Between the lobbies in each corner are four rotundas,
again reaching to the top level, and beautiful mosaic artwork is laid into the flooring. The
art can best be enjoyed from the top level, where one can look straight down and see the
floor from up high. By the way, TV monitors are everywhere, but not the ordinary TV sets -
instead, flat screen, HDTV plasma monitors offering the newest in video technology.
Escalator towers are located on each side of the building, with separate escalators for the
upper concourse and another for the club/suite levels. The concourses are spacious,
bright, and easy to navigate. If there is one commentary we would like to make, the
concourses here do not look like those you would find in a sports arena. Indeed, the
hallways in this place have more a feel of a symphony hall or opera house. Whether that is a
good or bad thing is for you to experience and judge, and we will leave it at that.
The Seating Bowl
If the building itself and the concourses are not enough, this arena's seating bowl will blow
you away. The most distinctive feature here is the arched roof, with steel supports painted
kelly green and cream colored piping and baffles, the ceiling of the bowl just adds to the
ambience. The seating area is divided into three levels, a lower and an upper level, and in
between, three "mini levels" of combined Platinum Club seating and a total of 182 suites.
The seats, all padded, are colored grey with a subtle pattern of American Airlines logos.
Along the club level balcony is a 360 degree surround digital effects LED board, with
companion LED boards on each of the 8 panels of the main scoreboard. The scoreboard
itself is 8 sided, but unlike most configurations, 4 viewing screens and 4 dot matrix boards,
this board can display video, LED graphics and cool special effects on ALL EIGHT SIDES.
There are also two huge companion display boards hanging high above each end zone.
Adding to the regular fare are such local favorites as the "Edge of Texas", offering mexican cuisine, Hot Popped and Twisted with gourmet cookies, pretzels and specialty popcorn, and
Sonny Bryan's BBQ with, what else, Texas Barbecue. On the main concourse is a restaurant
and bar named the Jack Daniels Old No. 7 club, offering full bar service, pregame buffet
and a la carte menu. High up in the top level are the Miller Lite SkyBar and the Dr. Pepper
Bottling Plant, two nooks with plenty of memorabilia to look at as well as food and
The Platinum Club level offers many of the amenities available in similar facilities, and the
Breakways Restaurant here offers a wide item of specialty foods and desserts served
market style, similar to our 200 level Harbour Club in Buffalo. At the other end is the Club
restaurant itself, offering fine dining, a well stocked wine cellar and breathtaking views of
the Dallas skyline. The club concourse itself is a bit bland and austere - much in need of
some color, displays etc.
The Mavericks have had little success in their franchise history - only one divisional title
and two retired numbers, those of Brad Davis and Rolando Blackman from the 80's. The
Stars display their various divisional and conference championships, and of course, the
one banner that strikes a dagger in the heart of us Buffalo fans --- the 1999 Stanley Cup
championship banner. The Stars had some success when they played in Bloomington as the
Minnesota North Stars, making 2 trips to the Cup finals. The folks here must have had a
case of amnesia since no mention is made of these accomplishments. Curiously, all the Stars banners are colored white save one - that being the 1999 Stanley Cup banner which has a black background. We can only deduce that this banner is black to better mask the stain and taint of this questionable accomplishment - the "No Goal" debacle and NHL officiating in its most shameful and disgusting moment. OK, enough about that...
Slam Dunks, Assists, Fouls
Slam Dunk - to the Stars fans who shout the word "STARS" twice during the playing of our National Anthem.... a uniquely Dallas thing and a cool one at that.
Slam Dunk - to AM 1310 "The Ticket", namely producer Rick Arnett and hosts Dan McDowell, Brad Sturm and Wally Lamm for inviting us in studio for a terrific interview. We were also given a mentions on both the Mavs and the Stars post game shows done from the Miller
Like Sky Bar. Incredibly, Wally Lamm remembered us from 1999, when we visited Reunion
Arena for game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals and we had met him back then. Thanks to
everybody and you are all inducted into the Ultimate Sports Road Trip Hall of Fame!
Foul - to the Stars, for dropping the cool "Let's --- Go --- Dal ---las --- Stars" chant done at Reunion Arena to the cool music of hometown rock group Pantera. What happened to the mix guys?
Slam Dunk - The amazing run of the USRT karma reaches an epic length with the Stars 2-1
win over the Bruins, as the roadtrippers witness a victory by the home club for the
fourteenth consecutive time!!!! Look out Green Bay!!
Foul - To the management of TGIF at the Ballpark at Arlington. The restaurant is three
quarters empty yet patrons have to wait 20-30 minutes for a table. WHO'S RUNNING THIS
Slam Dunk - the Mavs win over the Hawks was a historic one for Dallas as head coach Don
Nelson earned his 1000th career victory, joining only Pat Riley and Lenny Wilkens as the
only coaches who have won that many games. Nice job Nellie!!!
Foul - Unfortunately on this night, Mavericks point guard Michael Finley did not play due to a lame hamstring. This ended his impressive consecutive games played streak at 490. We
guess that sometimes the USRT karma works in mysterious ways.....
The design, ambience, finishing touches, artwork and superior technological
enhancements makes the American Airlines Center one of the premier venues in the NHL
and NBA, if not among the four major sports. Our expectations going in were high, and we
were not disappointed. About the only thing we would recommend is a better sports motif
in the concourses and more decor and color in the club concourses. Otherwise there is
little more that we could suggest. Awesome job, Dallas!
June 17, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
The city of Dallas expects to pay off its debt on American Airlines Center in late 2011 and years ahead of schedule, city financial officers told City Council members. In 1998, the city issued $140 million in bonds to pay its $125 million contribution to the arena's construction. The last of those bonds were scheduled to be paid off in 2027. But higher than expected tax receipts over the years allowed the city to redeem the bonds much more quickly than anticipated. Dallas pledged two tax sources to pay off the bonds - a 2 percent addition to the hotel occupancy tax and a 5 percent rental car tax. Those taxes - particularly the rental car tax - brought in more revenue than anticipated, allowing the city to redeem bonds more quickly than expected, city officials said. Now, just $26.23 million in principal remains on the debt. Once that is paid off, the taxes pledged to the debt will no longer be assessed.