Last weekend HP Pavilion scheduled one of its occasional day-night event doubleheaders. The Harlem Globetrotters were in town for a 1 PM matinee, followed up by a 7:30 PM Sharks-Blues matchup. The Sharks/SVSE took a time-lapse video of the changeover.
The Globetrotters don’t attract sellout crowds, yet they routinely play in some of the largest, most modern arenas. HP Pavilion’s main tenant is a hockey team, so any arena floor or seating changes have to be done with preserving the rink in mind. In the Globetrotters’ case, there’s no need to pull out the special basketball risers that would be used for a NCAA hoops regional or NBA game. Instead, they use a set of low-rise risers while the end seats at the hockey boards aren’t used. When the big hoops games come, the end seats are retracted and replaced by a different set of risers. The change seen above requires a little less labor, so no big deal. If you tried to sit along the hockey boards at the ends, your view of the court would be obstructed.
At American Airlines Center in Dallas, the end seats are in a dual-rise system which allows for maximum flexibility. The risers are well-pitched for hockey games, but they convert into a more gradual pitch for basketball. The chief benefit of this arrangement is that none of the end basketball seats are on the floor – except for the ones closest to the court. Just about every new dual-sport arena has something like this in place. This one in Dallas or Portland’s Rose Garden or the Verizon Center in DC are perhaps the most extreme.
For perhaps the worst example of how to do this, you don’t need to go much farther than everyone’s favorite whipping boy, Power Balance Pavilion ARCO Arena. There, the floor’s bizarrely unique configuration has its sideline seats retract to create extra floor space. By doing this, all ice shows or hockey games have to played on transversely mounted ice. Since a basketball team is the chief tenant, ice is not a permanent floor feature, so the ice brought in from containers in sheet form and mounted much the same way a floor would.
There may actually be a way to pull this off in a more modern arena with the right technology. Unfortunately, ARCO’s not getting any of that stuff.