The Amway Center in Orlando was built with luxury and comfort in mind.
The new kingdom for the Orlando Magic contains 161 suites for the well-heeled viewing pleasure, 1,428 club seats, five concourses with a myriad of options, 37 public restrooms, a Grey Goose nightclub, six bars and a whole host of modern day entertainment facilities scattered about the arena.
The seats are plusher, the sight-lines are fantastic and the game day experience is one that rivals any other arena in the NBA. The Amway Center was built with the promise of Dwight Howard and his crew of shooters dominating the league and hanging championship banners from the rafters. The arena was Orlando’s $480 million investment to finally build the Magic into legitimate title contenders for years to come.
That dream never materialized.
Instead of chasing championships, Howard schemed his way out of town, opposing teams found the arena a much more pleasant experience than the old Amway Arena and just like that, the Amway Center was not as magical as Magic fans hoped it would be.
Yes, the first year in the new digs were good. Orlando complied a 29-12 record at home in the 2010-11 season. But even with all of the bells and whistles, there was something missing from the place. Gone were the thunderous crowds that made the old Amway Arena such a tough place to play.
In its place, a more “sophisticated” fanbase came in. Those fans were not as vocal as the old crowd in the old building was, and it showed on the court. Since the 2010-11 season, Orlando has gone 46-62 at home. A big part of the pitiful play at home is due to the Magic trading away their franchise player, but in reality, the Magic’s new kingdom has not really felt like a kingdom.
With their loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday, the Magic are now assured of a second-straight season of having more losses than wins at home. Sure, 20 wins are not out of the question, and it is a whole lot better than the dismal 12-29 home record the team posted in 2012-13. But it will still be below .500, and in this league, taking care of business on your home court is one of the hallmarks of being a playoff team.
If the Magic expects to make any noise in 2014-15, it must protect its own house.