Amway Center continues to impress as a building and arena experience even three years into its existence.
Stadium Journey Magazine has once again ranked Amway Center among the top arena experiences in the league, coming in third place in this year's poll of NBA stadiums. The Amway Center ranked second in last year's poll behind only the Staples Center in Los Angeles for Lakers game.
This year's poll has Amway Center third behind AT&T Center in San Antonio and Staples Center (Lakers) in Los Angeles.
If having a gorgeous place to watch a game is why you come to the place, then it is outstanding. It is very upscale, even if you are in the cheap seats. The employees there are among the friendliest stadium workers in the business. They really go out of their way. They have something for everyone, including a play area for the little kids. Even outside the arena, walking in and going up the escalators to your seats is impressive. The streets are clean and the arena is lit up in Magic Blue lights. The lobby looks like something you'd find in an airport. For "WOW" it is hard to beat.
The poll takes into account the overall stadium experience including the price of concessions, in-stadium atmosphere, the neighborhood the stadium is located and "return on investment."
Paul Swaney of Stadium Journey Magazine said the reason the Amway Center dropped from second to third in the league was because of the in-game atmosphere at the stadium, something he attributed to the team's overall record and performance.
The Magic were not a strong team this season, but still did decently in attendance. They ranked 16th in the league in attendance this year according to Basketball-Reference, averaging 17,596 in attendance per game.
The criticisms of the Amway Center crowd experience still exist. Fans are still often late to return to their seats after halftime and the crowd can be disinterested at times. However, when the game gets tight or when it is a big game, Magic fans are as good as any others in the league. The team's poor record certainly affects interest on the court.
It will be interesting to see how the atmosphere might change when the Magic complete the entertainment district they have planned for the property across the street from Amway Center. That is still in its planning phases and is at least three years away from being realized. By then, hopefully the novelty of Amway Center has not worn off and the stadium is still delighting fans.