Since 1998, the Bank Atlantic Center has been a premier entertainment venue for events in the Miami area. The story of its inception is an interesting one that began when a businessman named H. Wayne Huizenga acquired the Florida Panthers hockey franchise. The team entered the league in 1993 and while they initially played at Miami Arena, they needed a new arena to serve as home base.
In 1996 the site was chosen and the arena was finished a scant 26 months later. Originally known as the Broward County Civic Arena, the Bank Atlantic Center is not within the limits of Miami itself. It is located in the city of Sunrise, Florida, close to Fort Lauderdale in neighboring Broward County. Close by is the Sawgrass Mills Mall, one of the largest outlet malls in the nation. It is easily reached from Miami or other cities via the Sawgrass Expressway; take the Oakland Park Boulevard exit.
This 185 million dollar venue consists of 872,000 square feet for the arena alone. It seats 19,250 people when set up for hockey games, and 20,763 when concerts and other shows are held. The plaza and mezzanine level each boast three food courts and two retail kiosks as well as the Pantherland store full of team merchandise. Full service bars are to be found throughout the arena complex.
For fans desiring a bit of privacy, the Lexus Suite level contains 48 private suites, 2 spacious function rooms, the Budweiser terrace, and two clubs that are open to all guests during Panther home games. For the high rollers, head to the Lexus Club level for one of its 26 posh suites complete with wet bar and other amenities. Also on this level is the AvMed All-Star Cafe and the exclusive 16,000 square foot ADT Club. The Sunrise Terrace is the location of the Coach’s Club, which hosts catered parties and offers a spectacular view of events.
The Florida Panthers are the big kids on the block, but the Bank Atlantic Center is also home to the Miami Caliente of the Lingerie Football League and once hosted the now defunct Florida Pit Bulls of the American Basketball Association. The arena is also frequently used to host other entertainment events. As a hockey stadium, it is perfect for the ice skating shows that visit the Miami area. Huge concerts and comedy shows are held at the Bank Atlantic Center too; it has seen performances from some of the biggest stars in the industry like Jimmy Buffet, Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi, and Eric Clapton. Tickets for these events can be purchased through TicketNetwork
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