The Classic Center celebrated a topping out of the construction for The Classic Center Arena on November 28, 2023. Many leaders and community members gathered for this momentous occasion, where several exciting announcements were revealed for the new arena, set to open in the Summer of 2024.
- Jake Strickland, Vice President at Mallory & Evans Development, shared plans to develop a Battery-like entertainment center with shops, hotels, condos, and a new parking deck to connect Downtown Athens to the Oconee River and the Firefly Trail.
- The new arena and development will bring in tourism opportunities through an exhibit of a collection from the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and Athens-Clarke County Center for Racial Justice and Black Futures, creating a museum-quality experience.
- Todd Mackin, President of Spire Sports Inc., an organization that owns and operates Rapid City Rush and the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, filled the room with excitement as they plan to develop a professional hockey team in Athens. The arena will also be home to the UGA Ice Dawgs.
- Windy Reeves and Chad Ballard from Feld Entertainment revealed that Disney on Ice will be making its way to The Classic Center Arena in Spring 2025.
- Sims Hines, Senior Vice President of Venue Development and Operations at Oak View Group, the largest developer of sports and live entertainment venues around the world, announced their partnership for the arena. This partnership will bring larger entertainment opportunities to Athens and have a huge economic impact on the community.
- Paul Cramer, President/CEO of The Classic Center, shared that the first Founding Level Partner for the new arena is Coca-Cola United.
“It is inspiring to see progress and leaders come together to support a project that will drive millions in economic impact in Athens-Clarke County,” said Paul Cramer, President/CEO of The Classic Center. “This project will create over 600 new jobs, link Downtown Athens to the Oconee River, and provide an estimated $30 million in annual economic impact.”