If there’s one thing that people from the USA and the UK have in common, it’s our cultures’ obsession with sports and sporting events — we just can’t get enough of them! While Orlando shares the state’s profession sports teams with other cities like Miami and Tampa, it has one thing they do not: Amway Center, a brand-new, world-class arena that rivals any other venue in the country. Since there are a variety of teams representing basketball, arena football, soccer, and even hockey that use the Amway Center (in addition to concerts and other special performances), it is easy to catch a game during your Central Florida holiday.
Of all the sports teams in Orlando, the biggest name is the NBA’s Orlando Magic, who have their 2013/2014 home opener this Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans. Because they are the biggest name, in today’s post I’ll be sharing a few insights about the team and what it’s like to experience a game at the Magic’s hometown court.
The Orlando Magic are one of the more perennially successful NBA franchises of recent years, having only missed the playoffs once in the past seven seasons, and becoming Eastern Conference champions in 2009 (losing in the NBA Finals to the LA Lakers, boo!). During their whirlwind 25-year history they have also been home to some of the NBA’s biggest household names and best players, such as Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, and Tracy McGrady. The team is coming off an uncharacteristically poor year following the trade of their star player, superstar Dwight Howard, at the start of the 2012 season. But the Magic are quickly assembling an exciting new team who will take the franchise back to the playoffs and beyond — at least that what I and tens of thousands of other fans hope! Built around veteran Point Guard Jameer Nelson, rising stars Tobias Harris and Mo Harkless, and the number 2 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, Victor Oladipo, the Magic is widely tipped to be one of the most exciting teams to watch in the new NBA season!
If you’re not a basketball fan, then you might be wondering why you should be interested in this post. I’ll answer right away by letting you know that attending an Orlando Magic game (or any NBA game for that matter) is one of the funnest, most family-friendly activities of its kind, regardless of whether you’re a diehard fan or its your first professional basketball game.
Due to the way the game is played with its frequent timeouts, substitutions, end of quarters, and of course halftime, there are many breaks in play. During these stoppages the court is transformed into a showground for all kinds of entertainment, including dancers, acrobats, games for fans, the ever-popular Kiss Cam, and antics from the Magic’s very own mascot, Stuff the Magic Dragon! He spends the majority of the game acting as a jester, interacting with fans and throwing goodies into the crowd such as sweets, stickers, and t-shirts. The latter he accomplishes using the famous t-shirt cannon that fires shirts well into the upper seats and generally causes mayhem! Stuff the Magic Dragon can often be the highlight of the game, and his trampoline-assisted slam dunk show is well worth the admission fee alone — who needs La Nouba when you can see a Dragon flying through the air!?
The NBA is basketball’s equivalent of the English Premier League, home to the biggest and most famous teams and globally recognised superstars such as LeBron James of the Miami Heat, widely touted as one of the best players in basketball history; Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers (boo!); and players who have seemingly limitless athleticism and skill. The experience seeing these players in person can inspire kids and adults alike.
Yet, as you might have guessed by now, the true selling point of an Orlando Magic game is the fantastic atmosphere, with the resident DJ and organ player keeping the crowd entertained with a wide selection of music throughout play; it’s a real spectacle, a great event, and one that is as safe as it is fun – a far cry from some sporting events back in the UK. I promise, one game and you’ll be hooked for life like me, a consummate Magic fan despite living a nine-hour plane journey away!
Tickets to Orlando Magic games are surprisingly and refreshingly inexpensive, starting at just $10. And don’t think the inexpensive seats compromise your view of the action or enjoyment of the venue. All seats provide stunning views of the court, and if you miss any live action you’ll have almost as much fun getting caught up by watching the Jumbotron screens — JUMBO being the optimum term here — which show game stats and highlights in breathtaking high definition.
There is no doubt an evening with the Magic at Amway Center is one of the best-valued activities offered in Orlando, and it’s one that will create awesome memories for everyone in the family. The NBA season, including the playoffs, runs from October through June. With each team playing three times per week on average, I sincerely hope there is an opportunity for you to experience the action during your next trip.
Let’s go Magic!
When you’re done with this article, see what it’s like to attend a concert at Amway in this OI blog post: An amazing evening with Zac Brown Band at Amway Center.
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Amway Center – complete event schedule
[sws_author_bio user=”danmay” size=”105″ authorposts=”More OI posts by Daniel” name_format=”About the author”] [/sws_author_bio]
Hi Daniel, I’m excited to see something about the Orlando Magic as a change from the usual theme park articles. I just want to add that there are a few ticket vendors offering ticket and transportation packages from around $30! For those going to any of the games, finding parking can be quite hard plus you’ll usually spend $20 or double that if there’s a major event going on. We usually opt for a taxi, I haven’t tried any of the roundtrip transports yet but I am looking forward to doing this for the Orlando Magic. v. Miami Heat game!… Read more »
The_Moss Good point. I agree that transportation and parking definitely need to be part of the plan when organizing a visit to downtown Orlando 🙂
Good to see a fellow magic fan on the site! Totally agree with the parking issues, good point well made!