FedExForum is one of the National Basketball Association's most distinctive Arenas. It officially opened in September 2004 after much debate and also an Alberta clipper wind storm in July 22, 2003, that nearly brought the Crane (machine) that were building it down on famed Beale Street. It is in the southern part of downtown Memphis, Tennessee, at 191 Beale Street and Third Street. It is the home of the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA and men's basketball program of the University of Memphis (the Tigers). They both previously played home games at the Pyramid Arena. The arena was built at a cost of $250 million and is owned by the City of Memphis; naming rights were purchased by Memphis' most well-known business, FedEx for $92 million. FedExForum was financed using $250 million of public bonds, which were issued by the Memphis Public Building Authority (PBA) The venue also has the capability of hosting Ice hockey games, Concerts, and family shows.
FedExForum was designed by architectural firm Ellerbe Becket. The Arena is 805,850 ft² (75,000 m²) in size, covering 14 Acres (57,000 m²). The Arena is round, with a dome. The playing floor is lower than ground level. It is capable of seating 18,119 for basketball and has 1,000 premiere courtside seats. There are 26 courtside suites, 33 club suites, 4 party suites, and 80 club boxes. It also contains a full-sized practice basketball court, visible from the huge lobby. The plans called for a mass transit bus depot, which brought a federal grant of $6 million; somehow the depot was changed to a premium parking garage, and Memphis had to return the money.
FedExForum's interior was designed to pay tribute to Memphis' musical heritage, with paintings and murals depicting some of the city's most famous artists. Most of the Arena's restaurants are named in conjunction with FedExForum's overall theme of music with Opus Restaurant and the Blue Note Lounge. The two other restaurants are sponsor-driven with the Lexus Lounge just off the Arena Floor and Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 in the Grand Lobby of the Arena.
FedExForum was the first arena to utilize new "see-through" shot clock units which allow spectators seated behind the basket to see the action without having the clocks interfere with their view. The idea came when a fan of the NBA's New Jersey Nets who sits behind the basket at Continental Airlines Arena sent an E-mail to NBA Commissioner David Stern, asking for technology to improve his view, and Daktronics obliged with the innovation at FedExForum in 2004.
The NBA approved the unit a year later for full use and has seen the new units installed at the Wachovia Center, Time Warner Cable Arena, TD Banknorth Garden, Rose Garden, and the Philips Arena after the approval.
On February 23, 2008, FedExForum hosted the college basketball game featuring the Number 1 ranked University of Memphis Tigers vs the Number 2 ranked University of Tennessee Volunteers. The Vols won the game 66–62. The facility has also hosted the Conference USA men's basketball tournament since 2005. It will be the site of the one of the four Regional finals in the 2009 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, and one of the four Regional finals in the 2010 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament.
On September 25, 2004, FedExForum hosted the Glen Johnson vs Roy Jones Jr. for the IBF Light heavyweight title. Johnson won the fight with a 9th round knockout.
FedExForum has also hosted two major professional wrestling events: World Wrestling Entertainment's Unforgiven on September 16, 2007 and the PMG Clash of Legends independent show on April 27 of that year. The main event on the latter card was Hulk Hogan versus Paul Wight.
FedExForum has hosted lots of concerts including the Transiberian Orchestra, AC/DC, Rolling Stones, Kid Rock, The Eagles, and Def Leppard.
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