The Puck Drops Here as New Arena Opens In Raleigh Tonight
Posted October 28, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — After years of planning, construction delays, and $154 million, fans will finally fill Raleigh's new Entertainment and Sports Arena Friday night.
BTI employees cannot wait to see the Canes hit the ice, and it shows, even in the boardroom. Almost everyone has tickets, even if they are not in the corporate suite.
The Hurricanes hope fans keep the enthusiasm coming. Even though tonight's game is sold out, they still have seats to fill for future games. They need to sell 14,000 seats each game to break even.
Gale Force Holdings' Dean Jordan says he knows it will take a little while to build a strong fan base in the Triangle, but they are hoping to meet that goal in their new home.
"We're here now. We can focus all of our efforts on this market, whereas before you're trying to divide your attention between here and Greensboro. You know, do you market heavily in Greensboro? Do you market heavily in Raleigh? At times, things got stretched thin," Jordan says.
There is a party today in the parking lot that starts at 4:30 p.m. The doors open at 6 p.m., and the puck drops at 7:30.
Authorities suggest using the Edwards Mill interchange to get to the arena.
The counterflow traffic device there creates reversible lanes and signals cars to keep the traffic flowing.
There will be three lanes heading in to the arena before the game and two leaving. After the game, there will be three lanes heading out and two in.
The Raleigh Chamber of Commerce estimates the Hurricane franchise will generate $108 million its first year in Wake County.