Venues Then: A Bit Of Industry History

To mark new magazine feature, we share reader memories of bygone buildings

  • by Rob Knapp
  • Published: June 20, 2018

Charlotte Coliseum, home to the original Charlotte Hornets and one of the last NCAA Final Fours before its move to stadiums. (Courtesy Kimberly Mahoney)

We’ve cut the ribbon on a new feature in VenuesNow this month: “Venues Then,” an opportunity to look back on some of the places and people that make this business special. In the first installment, Linda Deckard writes about the Met Center in Bloomington, Minn., and the many professionals who formed the tight-knit team there and went on to great things in the industry.

To mark the occasion, we present some replies sent by readers when we asked in a VN Pulse earlier this year about favorite venues that, like the Met Center, are no longer around. Here are some of the memories about their own “Venues Then” that they shared.

For me, it was the Charlotte Coliseum (home to the original NBA Charlotte Hornets).  I did my internship there in 1994 and that experience determined my career path.  Both the building and the people are very important to me, many of which I am still in contact with regularly. I worked for Steve Camp, CVE and Sporty Jeralds, CVE.  Beyond the usual concerts / special events and NBA games, we hosted the Men's ACC Basketball Tournament and the NCAA Men's Final Four that year (one of the last, if not the last, Final Fours in an arena before they moved to stadiums).

Coincidentally, I also worked at the Georgia Dome when I was in grad school at the University of Georgia giving tours during the week and during events, including NFL games, Peach Bowl and a Super Bowl. Lastly, I also previously worked as an event coordinator at the old Charlotte Convention Center which has also been demolished.

Kimberly Mahoney
Assistant professor, University of New Haven College of Business

Chicago Stadium, aka the Madhouse on Madison. Too many games there to list one, but the memories of the roars, the analog penalty time clocks on the great old scoreboard ... and all the cigarette smoke choking you between periods in the concourses. It was dusty, smelled like old popcorn and spilled beer ... and I can't imagine a better place to become a Hawks fan for life.

Remembering some more Stadium visits: Team Canada vs. Russia in the ’70s. ... Covering Bulls vs. Nuggets in 1992 as a sportswriter and watching Jordan drop a casual 50 points. ... Mostly also remembering how ugly it looked from the outside, like a Soviet warehouse or something. We've come a long way to places like U.S. Bank Stadium and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Paul Kapustka
Editor and founder, Mobile Sports Report

My first industry job was at an arena that is still here, but it’s been completely repurposed, so in a way it’s “gone.” I was a college intern at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis in the first quarter of 1993, home of the then-Memphis State Tigers (now University of Memphis, who play at FedEx Forum). I called out of the blue to ask about interning, and the GM (through his administrative assistant) told me I could show up and they’d find something for me to do. That “something" was reading magazines for the first week and inflating Globetrotter basketballs at a nearby gas station.

Fortunately, they soon found a way to get with me box office, the event coordinator, food service, and ops/engineering over the course of three months. And at night I was a paid event staff employee for CSC. It was a fantastic experience, which has led to a 25-year career in the business, and after two more stints working for that same GM, I’m now business partners with Russ Simons.  At least during that first week I got my picture taken with famed Globetrotter Curly Neal (below).

Tom Williams
Partner, Venue Solutions Group


  • by Rob Knapp
  • Published: June 20, 2018