Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

bsutton1

ESPN Zone

25 posts in this topic

With the Hurricanes, UNC, Duke, and NC State in the area, I always wondered why ESPN never considered Raleigh for a future ESPN Zone spot. With all the changes going on dt, an ESPN Zone would be a great addition. It would get alot of people downtown and even to Raleigh. The closest ESPN Zone is in DC and Atlanta.

What do ya'll think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


That would be a fantastic addition to downtown and I think easily sustainable. Fayetteville St would be nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As many people go out regularly for UNC, Duke, NCSU games as well as the Canes it would probably work but I prefer the local sports bars like Woody's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are only two problems here:

a) ESPN only considers the NFL and NBA "real" sports

b) My perception is that their zones are basically tourist traps that locals don't frequent. Had the RBC Center been built downtown it would be a natural fit.

It would be a badge of honor, not doubt, but I don't know if it would make our lives easier. When I went in one, I could really see myself going very much if we had one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There are only two problems here:

a) ESPN only considers the NFL and NBA "real" sports

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^haha. I doubt that considering we can't even get ESPN-U on TW Cable.

Since ESPN Zone is partial to pro sports then, Charlotte would be great for it then with the Panthers and Bobcats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be something of a fit down by the CC but it would not add the type of flavor I am interested in for downtown...I suppose a good diverse downtown has many districts and while I want places like Times and Slims to flourish, tourists and their dollars tend to be more comfortable in places like ESPN Zone...I also can't see most residents of downtown liking something like it but could see say the north raleigh contingent driving into downtown for the game so it would sell downtown as a destination....some parts of downtown need to be livable and some need to be destination oriented and I do think those two concepts tend to clash a bit though not completely....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It would be something of a fit down by the CC but it would not add the type of flavor I am interested in for downtown...I suppose a good diverse downtown has many districts and while I want places like Times and Slims to flourish, tourists and their dollars tend to be more comfortable in places like ESPN Zone...I also can't see most residents of downtown liking something like it but could see say the north raleigh contingent driving into downtown for the game so it would sell downtown as a destination....some parts of downtown need to be livable and some need to be destination oriented and I do think those two concepts tend to clash a bit though not completely....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I think this could actually be a hit in DT Raleigh. Fayetteville Street or the Sandreuter block would be great. This area hosts ESPN quite often with the Tobacco Road rivalry games, and the Triangle is the true heart of NC sports if you ask me. With the combustible nature of the local sports scene, it could be a great spot for fans to enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe if Raleigh got a MLB team in the future ::cough::Dix Park::cough:: then an ESPN Zone would be a natural fit. However

a) ESPN only considers the NFL and NBA "real" sports

b) My perception is that their zones are basically tourist traps that locals don't frequent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The one in DC is near Metro Center, the hub for the subway system, as well as several museums, theaters, the Verizon Center, Chinatown, the Department of Justice, and H&M department store. Sportszone are built in areas that are buzzing nearly 24/7 with dense pedestrian traffic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it'd be a great idea, however it is very unlikely that we would ever get something like that. I've only been to the one in Times Square in New York, but I thought it was a pretty neat place. Would be nice to see something similar be built eventually, but I'm not gonna hold my breath.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to their website, there are only eight ESPN zones -- Anaheim, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, NYC, and DC. Anaheim is tied to ESPN's corporate parent Disney, and is near LA. Las Vegas has no sports teams, and probably won't any time soon after the All Star game-related issues. Tourists are more important to locations than sports teams, which doesn't bode well for the Triangle.

They aren't expansion happy like Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, All Star Cafe, etc. were in the 90s. They have more of a Jillian's/Dave and Busters arcade games/pool/other games vibe than the museum aspects of the other places. There could be some "super sports bar" concept with pool tables, games, and a lot of TVs somewhere downtown in the new convention center district when the CC opens. Woody's City Market was pretty crowded a couple of Fridays ago, even though it wasn't first friday and there were no sporting events with local ties. Site one or the parking deck street level at Cabarrus and Wilmington, near Lincoln Theater, could be a location.

An Ale House (Wake Forest road, Crossroads in Cary, Brier Creek) or Draft house (Greystone, Cameron Village, Harrisons, etc.) -- could work and they are locally owned! Sports fans could add to the downtown mix and give conventioneers something else to do at night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh! This reminds me of a story. Back in 1986 I went on a school trip to Chicago and the Hard Rock was one of our stops. At that point there were just a few Hard Rocks (NYC, Chicago, London, LA, Tokyo??, Sydney?). One of my friends' father is a hilarious guy who deals in numbers with way more commas than I'll ever imagine. He was impressed by the place. As he looked around kind of wide-eyed at the real memorabilia, he seriously said,"I think one of these would go in Raleigh!" Hilarious. Yeah, just add us to the end of that list!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Be nice to have a novelty restaurant like Hard Rock, but considering how weak the triangle is with its live music scene, it'd make no sense to have one. Trust me on the music deal b/c I work in that industry for Live Nation/Walnut Creek Amphitheater. Our live music scene of national acts playing at smaller venues is starting to slowly but surely come around, but its nothing that Hard Rock would even consider. With the exception of Walnut Creek's summer season and the RBC Center occasionally having a concert, Raleigh has struggled for a music scene. I know there may be great local bands around here, but if you consider the venues that Raleigh has had to work with over the past 10 years, you'll understand why that without Walnut Creek and RBC Center, we'd have nothing. Only recently has the Lincoln Theatre starting really trying to pull in acts that The Norva (Norfolk VA), House of Blues (Myrtle Beach) and scattered Charlotte venues have always received. A lot of that has to do with a new production company they're using, which actually one of the members is a production assistant at Walnut Creek. The renovations they made don't hurt either.

Basically, without a steady music scene year 'round we'll never have a Hard Rock...honestly, it'll probably never happen because even still we don't have the the tourist location draw that the other Hard Rock locations have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll trust what you say because you're directly involved, but I thought the Triangle was noted for it's music scene, no? Annuals, Roman Candle, Ben Folds, Superchunk, Connells to name a few? And what about Cat's Cradle--that's one of the more noted small venues on the East Coast. Not saying we should get a Hard Rock though--and it's way late for that...the novelty was gone about 15 years ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When Disco Rodeo was the Ritz, they used to get a fair number of "in between" acts -- too big for the Cat's Cradle but too small for an arena or amplitheater. Or an act that could play an amplitheater but was on the road in the October through April window. It was (still is?) affiliated with the Longbranch. I saw a few shows there in college and shortly after -- Hole, Lords of Acid, Quiet Riot (free tickets, but still paid too much), Stereolab, etc. In the last few years, it seems they rarely book bands though. I think they had Death Cab for Cutie and/or Fall Out Boy, but that's about it. Wilco played Raleigh Memorial Auditorium and Modest Mouse played the old CC before the implosion, but that is not enough to build a "scene" around. Is the latin dance thing doing well enough? Are bands at that level not touring in this area? Are they just jumping from DC and/or Norfolk to Charlotte or just skipping NC entirely and play Atlanta?

It would be nice if there was a Ritz/Disco Rodeo sized venue in/near downtown, but there isn't any structures oustide the warehouse district that could pull it off. Maybe if the pool hall and hibachi parts of Jillians were combined, with a "VIP area" upstairs in the entryway to the arcade. The land is probably too valuable for that kind of use, but it would be a cool anchor to the entertainment district from the CC area through Glenwood South. That sized space is too big to do much else during the off nights. With King's current location being knocked down, where will bands that played there go? Raleigh Music Hall? A relocated Kings?

To sort of get back on topic, ESPN Zone is to the former All-Star Cafe as House of Blues is to Hard Rock Cafe. Hard Rock has a couple of performance places (Orlando, Vegas) but HoB's bread and butter is its clubs. Several bands play from location to locaion. In the Triangle, HoB sent its acts to Koka Booth Amplitheater in Cary during its season. When the new CC opens, could the area support a house of blues? Would it want to?

Raleigh doesn't have a "this is/was Raleigh" kind of place other than the city museum on F Street. Hayes-Barton Cafe is nice, but it has a lot of 50s photos, etc. Big Eds has a few things, but it is dominated by farm equipment. Finch's would be good, but it has little to no decoration at all. Chapel Hill has/had the Rat, and Durham has.. ? Bullocks?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Raleigh doesn't have a "this is/was Raleigh" kind of place other than the city museum on F Street. Hayes-Barton Cafe is nice, but it has a lot of 50s photos, etc. Big Eds has a few things, but it is dominated by farm equipment. Finch's would be good, but it has little to no decoration at all. Chapel Hill has/had the Rat, and Durham has.. ? Bullocks?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll trust what you say because you're directly involved, but I thought the Triangle was noted for it's music scene, no? Annuals, Roman Candle, Ben Folds, Superchunk, Connells to name a few? And what about Cat's Cradle--that's one of the more noted small venues on the East Coast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Have you ever been to PR? Mitch's? Amedeos? Raleigh standards that are all much better than a cheesy ESPN Zone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dropped by the ESPN thing in Buckhead in Atlanta a couple years ago with a coworker. The bar looked empty so we went to go sit down. We were turned away, the bar was reserved seating! Wandered upstairs, basically looked like Jillian's game room, and we all know what happened to that place. No thanks.

If you want a nice TV overload sports bar, try Damon's. The selectable audio at each table is nice, and the food is tasty and reasonably priced. Hi5 is decent too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damon's is nowhere near downtown, and very difficult to get to if there is an event at the RBC Center. The food is in line with the various draft house and ale house locations. I appreciate the selectable audio, but it is usually overkill, with one event having a lot more interest than the others. If TVs were the only requirement for a sports bar, the Flying Saucer could hold its own.

Hi 5 has grown on me... $5 for everything on the menu is too much for some items (fries, onion rings, deserts) but quite reasonable for sanwiches and the entrees. We were there for the first Carolina/State and Carolina/Duke basketball games this season and had a good time.

There is no pool tables or dart boards between Damon's and Hi 5. The Saucer's back room pool table is nice on a slow night when there is ample room to make shots.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi 5 has grown on me... $5 for everything on the menu is too much for some items (fries, onion rings, deserts) but quite reasonable for sanwiches and the entrees. We were there for the first Carolina/State and Carolina/Duke basketball games this season and had a good time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi-5 is really nice. The irritating thing about that place is that they KEEP making drastic menu overhauls. Don't fall in love with anything on the menu because it won't last.

I honestly don't understand where that restaurant group's money is coming from. I don't know anyone who loves Michael Deans, Twisted Fork, Bogarts, or Red Room. The places are rarely crowded during dinner and they still have money to keep renovating and upgrading AV equipment. A headscratcher for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.