Hockey may return to James Brown Arena after nearly a decade

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 10:11 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Hockey hasn’t been something Augusta has seen since 2009 when the Lynx were the Garden City’s team.

A study showed results on Monday to see the pros and cons of what it would look like if a hockey team made a return if a new James Brown Arena comes to fruition.

“We’re gonna go through it,” said chair of the Coliseum Authority, Cedric Johnson. “Look at it and see if there are some benefits to have in hockey but I guess the proof is in the details. So, we need to go through the details and look at it and analyze it and see what it’s saying.”

A team would bring 32 home games to downtown and into the arena. The study says a team makes the property $993,000 more in profit than without a team.

“We’re not opposed to hockey. I want to make sure everybody understands that,” said Johnson. “Again, the proof will be in the details.”

The saying goes, ‘Build it and they will come,’ but if a team comes, will patrons flock to the JBA to be hockey fans?

“I’m not sure. I’m not sure being honest with you,” said Johnson. “We do know that there are some very vocal fans of hockey.”

They’re looking at places like Savannah, a city of similar size to Augusta, which got a hockey team last year. They’ve sold out 33 of their 36 games and data shows a majority of their out-of-market ticket sales are going to people from Augusta.

In order to find out what will happen, voters first have to approve funding for a new arena.

“If voters don’t say yes, in November, then we have nothing,” said Johnson.

So, if voters do say yes, a new James Brown Arena will come, and maybe Hockey will too.

With the election for the funding, the Coliseum Authority is encouraging everyone to come out and vote.

“Less than 10% of the people coming out. You’re talking about a $250 million arena. We want people to come out and vote. We want to educate them on why it’s so important to come out and vote and we want to educate them on why we need a new arena,” said Johnson.