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Concert Venues :: The Omni Coliseum


Now Known As
Date Opened Oct. 14, 1972
Venue Capacity 16,000
Venue URL
Venue Address 100 Techwood Drive NW
Atlanta, GA 30303

Venue Information

The Omni Coliseum, usually called The Omni, from the Latin "for all", was an indoor arena located in Atlanta, Georgia. Completed in 1972, the arena sat 16,378 for basketball and 15,278 for ice hockey. It was part of the Omni Complex, now known as the CNN Center.

This arena was an architectural marvel when first constructed, combining innovative design for the roof, seating, and the structure itself. The logo is based on the unique seating arrangement. Its exterior was supposed to "surface rust" to seal itself, making a solid steel structure that would last for decades. The Omni was noted for its distinctive roof, often joked about as looking like an egg crate.

One of the problems with the building was that some of the innovations were not successful. The worst was that the exterior never ceased rusting to seal itself. By the mid 1990s, the rusting exterior had holes big enough that a chain link was installed in a number of locations to keep people from crawling though the wall to see events. In the late-'80s and early-'90s, a growing number of NBA and NHL teams starting constructing new arenas with better amenities for their high-end customers, such as luxury boxes, club level seating and massive club concourses in order to increase their revenue streams. Some of these new arenas had as many as 200 luxury boxes, compared to the Omni which had only had 16 boxes and no club level at all, thus putting the Atlanta Hawks at a competitive disadvantage. It was also a disadvantage to the city of Atlanta; until the Georgia Dome was built in 1992, the Omni served as its largest indoor facility in terms of seating capacity. Although the Omni hosted many events, it lost more than its share due to its smaller seating capacity and lack of amenities, especially when compared to new buildings constructed in other cities, which often seated over 19,000 people. Despite quite enjoyable seating and viewing for the fans, the structure had the outward appearance of looking very dated and "old" by that time (although the arena was only 20 years old), so there was a collective effort by many parties to build a replacement. This was also stemmed by the desire of Ted Turner to own an NHL franchise after being burned before over a decade ago when the successful and popular Atlanta Flames (they constantly outdrew the Hawks when they were sharing the building; many of their attendance records didn't fall until the mid-late '80s) were sold to Canadian businessmen and moved to Calgary. However, the only way the league would approve an expansion team to him was with the guarantee of a new arena. In 1997, the Omni was demolished and Philips Arena was constructed on the same site, with its completion in 1999.

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