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A look back at the renovation of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and what it means for the All-Star Game

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
Posted at 10:17 AM, Feb 18, 2022

CLEVELAND — The newly renovated Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse opened its doors in September of 2019. Since then, the venue has been wowing visitors for concerts and events. This weekend, the NBA All-Star Game rolls into Cleveland and the celebration may not have happened if it weren’t for a facelift at the FieldHouse.

When it opened as Gund Arena in 1994, it was the crown jewel of the newly formed Gateway District. But after 22 years with without any major renovations, the Cavaliers organization wanted to give the building an iconic look worthy of a postcard and make it a hub of activity for years to come.

“There are many markets that have yet to even have their first. It's our third here in Cleveland,” said Cavs CEO Len Komoroski. “Without having done the transformation, this would not have happened.”

It’s been nearly three years since the $185 million dollar transformation project reshaped how we see the arena. The project was designed to bring the building up to NBA standards and extend its lifespan.

“The challenges were ingress egress, people waiting outside to get in… It wasn't a great experience, and it really didn't handle people,” Komoroski said. “We have a building that's the 27th most active arena in the world for live entertainment activity.”

The original plan called for a 50/50 split between the public and the Cavs, but the team ended up kicking in an extra $45 million to take on 62% of the total cost.

“With the dollars that were utilized publicly, they're effectively generated by Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse,” Komoroski said.

The renovations can be tied directly to attracting big-ticket events like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the annual Mid-American Conference Basketball Tournament and the 2024 Women’s NCAA Final Four.

"Adam Silver, our commissioner, felt so strongly about the need for our venue to be more competitive, he basically had been the proponent of putting forth and contributing an All-Star Weekend saying, if you can get this done, we will work to bring All-Star here,” Komoroski said. “We can go in there swinging for any event, knowing that we have a good shot because we have a great offering overall.”

The renovations also extended the Cavs lease in downtown Cleveland until 2034.

RELATED: Take a sneak peak at the work going on inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

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