When I travel, I often attend different sporting events as a way to relax. I have been to NHL hockey games in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Hartford (remember the Whalers?), MLB baseball games in Anaheim and San Diego, NBA basketball games in Chicago and Charlotte. I have also attended many other minor league, college, high school and even little league events. When I go to these games, I love to take in the atmosphere of the different venues – the roar of the crowd, the view from the seats, the music on the PA system and of course, the food and drink.
On a recent trip to Texas, I had an open night and on a whim, decided to catch an NBA game at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas. The Mavericks played the previously unbeaten New Orleans (8 – 0) Hornets. Dallas started off with a 10-0 run, but lost the lead in the second quarter and went down by as many as 15 points in the second half. The regained the lead with less than 2 minutes left and ended up winning 98 – 95 after the Hornets missed three 3-point attempts in the last 10 seconds of the game. All in all it was a good night of basketball.
As I walked into the American Airlines Center, I could not help but compare it Conseco Fieldhouse. In many aspects the buildings are surprisingly similar. Both are built like a bowl with great sight lines from almost every seat. Both have long escalators to get to the upper level including my seat – Section 326 Row F Seat 15 ($31 face value, scalped for $20 prior to the game). Both have a huge mid-court scoreboard that can actually take your attention away from the game. Take a look at the view from my seat and you will see the similarities.
Here are several other interesting facts about the two arenas:
American Airlines Center Conseco Field House
Opened: July 17, 2001 November 6, 1999
Cost to Build: $420 Million $183 Million
Home to: NBA – Dallas Mavericks NBA – Indiana Pacers
NHL – Dallas Stars WNBA – Indiana Fever
Arena Football – Dallas Vigilantes
Capacity: 21,041 18,345
Luxury Suites: 144 66
Club Seats: 1600 2500
Style: High Tech Retro
As you can see, there are also differences between the two arenas. The most startling is the cost to build $420M (American Airlines Center) versus $183M (Conseco Fieldhouse). For my money, we got a much better deal. The other small difference I noticed between the two buildings was how they were decorated. I much prefer the ‘Retro’ look of Conseco Fieldhouse with its sports memorabilia and fun paintings / signage to the stark, barely decorated, boring concourses in Dallas.
The other differences have much more to do with the fan experience than the buildings. For example:
Bathrooms – There are many more, easily accessible bathrooms in Conseco Fieldhouse
Food / Drink – Conseco Fieldhouse has a much better selection of food and eating establishments than the American Airlines Center. Although my German Hot Dog meal (see photos) definitely hit the spot.
Seats – I have to admit the padded seats at the American Airlines Center were very comfortable.
Fans – In fact the seats were so comfortable, the fans never stood up. The crowd did wake up when the Mavericks made their run late in the game. For my money, I will take Indiana Pacers fans any day. On the flip side, there were few empty seats at the game.
Public Address – When you go to the Pacers’ games, you get a full entertainment package from the public address. This includes varied music, encouragements, fun interactive games, and of course the inspiring movie clips (Hoosiers / Braveheart). At the Mavericks’ game you get a head pounding ‘Let’s go Mavs’ when Dallas has the ball and weak ‘De-Fence’ every time New Orleans had the ball. Let’s Go Mavs / De-Fence / Let’s Go Mavs / De-Fence – back and forth ALL GAME LONG!! It got very old by the beginning of the second quarter.
Fun Factor – Boomer and Bowser and the rest of the gang bring a high level of energy and fun to the game. This was lacking from the Mavericks’ mascots – a horse named Champ and a basketball bodied guy named Mavs Man. The fun in Dallas must come from the fact that the Mavericks win more games than they lose.
As I left the American Airlines Center, I promised myself that I would attend more Pacers games at Conseco Fieldhouse this year. I plan on keeping my promise and hopefully the Indiana Pacers continue to improve and fulfill their ‘Promise’. After all, whether we know it or not, living in the Indianapolis area with the Indiana Pacers playing at Conseco Fieldhouse , we are spoiled. No, we are spoiled rotten.
- Submitted by guest writer Derrick