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ESA Gets Its Official Dedication

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RALEIGH — TheRaleigh Entertainment and Sports Arenareached a milestone Wednesday. It was given an official dedication.

The arena has been open for almost four months. Since then, more than 500,000 people have attended basketball and hockey games.

TheCarolina Hurricanesaverage 12,000 people a game, andN.C. Statebrings in 17,000. In addition, there have been concerts and other events at the ESA.

"Just in the past five days, more than 85,000 people have visited this building," says Jim Hyler of the Sports Council.

The arena came with growing pains. Construction delays, rising costs and finger pointing were all part of the project's infancy. Governor Jim Hunt says it was a matter of keeping focused.

"You have to have a vision, you have to have a plan and then you have to invest," says Governor Jim Hunt. "This was worth investing in. It is now, and increasingly will be, a big part of our economic growth."

The arena is stillwithout a name. Several companies have expressed interest, but it could be months before a deal is made. The public is invited to an open house at the arena on Sunday, March 5. The open house will be free and offer a behind-the-scenes tour of the building.


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