Saturday, November 9, 2019
News 12 at 11 o'clock
AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- James Brown's name has been taken off the marquee outside of the James Brown Arena, but the Augusta Coliseum Authority says the name isn't going anywhere, and it's all part of a bigger plan.
"If you're traveling and you say you're from Augusta it's 2 things," said Brad Usry, Vice Chairman of the Augusta Coliseum Authority. "It's the Masters and it's James Brown.
Usry has lived in Augusta his whole life, and James Brown is a source of pride for him.
"James Brown was a friend of my family...of my father and my mother," he said. "We decorated his house for Christmas for two or three years."
As a member of the board, he knows the value of Brown's legacy on the city. He says Brown is as big as the Masters in Augusta.
The Coliseum Authority launched a new branding campaign in January aimed at promoting not only the James Brown Arena, but also the Bell Auditorium next door.
"We're trying to promote the whole complex," said Usry. "By no stretch are we trying to change the name of the arena."
Usry said the plan is to put signs all over the inside of the arena.
"It's going to be, for lack of a better word, it's going to be funky," he said.
When the community saw the marquee changed, many people took to Facebook to voice their displeasure, including James Brown's daughter. Usry said they didn't expect that type of backlash, and would have been more proactive if they had.
But he assured, the building's name is not changing, and he's asking the community to give them some time.
"Just let us finish. You're going to be very proud of it," he said. "The Brown family will be very proud of what we're doing."
So, the next time you to go see a show at the building on 7th street, your ticket will say James Brown Arena.
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