One of the most iconic buildings in American sports history has completed its $1 billion makeover and is now giving fans a first-hand glimpse into the detailed construction.
In a video released by Madison Square Garden last Thursday, viewers are quickly guided through the construction process in phases to see the widespread improvements made to the building's interior.
The new features were unveiled at a special ceremony attended by New York luminaries like Willis Reed and Mark Messier, per ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk. Those folks on hand were the first to see the new "Chase Bridges," 600-square-foot video monitors and massive "GardenVision" scoreboards.
Other amenities, like improvements to locker rooms for players and concessions for fans, were also renovated. MSG Company executive chairman and Knicks owner James Dolan cited the fans and players in particular as the impetus for this expensive, three-year project:
We knew the world's greatest fans deserved a complete state-of-the-art experience. This true transformation is for everyone. We wanted our athletes to have upgraded locker rooms, training and video rooms. We wanted our entertainers to have the best dressing rooms, the best sound, the best lighting and acoustics.
The renovation, which began in 2011, is the second major project in the building's history since opening in 1968. This dwarfs the restoration of two decades ago in both cost and scope, as MSG previously underwent a smaller-scale renovation that completed in 1991.
In an era where new facilities are being approved by cities on seemingly a yearly basis, the Garden's old structure had become antiquated in comparison to modern state-of-the-art arenas. Brooklyn opened the $1 billion Barclays Center just one year ago, which is home to the Brooklyn Nets and will soon host the New York Islanders.
But rather than look for funding for a new arena, as the Yankees and Mets did some years back, the Rangers and Knicks collaborated to keep their historic shared facility from the wrecking ball.
"Madison Square Garden is Madison Square Garden, an institution that began in 1879," MSG president and CEO Hank Ratner said. "It is the standard by which other arenas get measured. There are many other arenas in the market place that are peripheral."
A majority of the construction on the renovations was done during the summer months to avoid disrupting the NBA or NHL seasons. The Rangers began their 2013-14 season with nine straight road games to accommodate the completion of construction. They also started the 2011-12 season with seven straight road games.
The WNBA's New York Liberty have been forced to play at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., the past three seasons.
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