Memphis Grizzlies pyramid stadium arena

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Memphis Pyramid (The Pyramid Arena)
The FedEx Forum serves as the Grizzlies home arena and home to the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball program of the University of Memphis. The multipurpose arena that was opened on July 22, 2003 is capable of seating 18,119 for basketball plus 1000 premiere courtside. However, the FedEx Forum isn’t the team’s initial home ground after relocating to Memphis from Vancouver in 2001. The first three seasons the Grizzlies spent in Memphis saw them play their home games at the Memphis Pyramid.

The Memphis Pyramid was initially known as the Great American Pyramid when it was established in 1991. It was later referred to as the Pyramid Arena and locally referred to as The Pyramid and the
Bass Pro Shops Pyramid. It was originally built aa a 20,142-seat arena located in downtown Memphis, in the U.S. state of Tennessee, at the banks of the Mississippi River. The facility was originally owned and operated jointly by the city of Memphis and Shelby County. Shelby County later sold its shares to the city in April 2009. The arena’s structure plays on the city’s namesake in Egypt, known for its pyramid.
At 321 feet (about 32 stories) tall with base sides of 591 feet; it is by some measures the tenth-tallest pyramid in the world. The Memphis Pyramid was originally conceived by a Memphis artist by the name Mark C. Hartz in about 1954. The project originally included three pyramids located on the south bluffs of Memphis. The largest of the three would have been two-third scale of the Great Pyramid of Giza near Memphis, Egypt; the flanking structures would have been scaled at two-thirds the size of the main pyramid. The project languished for three decades until Memphian Jon Brent, Hartz’s son resurrected the concept. Hartz who was well known for his architectural renderings, rendered a new bronze glass-glazed pyramid.

PHOTO OF memphis grizzlies pyramid arena inside

The younger Hartz’s concept was adopted by John Tigrett after years of negotiations, as a symbol for the city of Memphis. The ground breaking ceremony took place on September 15, 1989.Tigrett brought several entertainment companies in conjunction with the construction manager, Sidney Shlenker (part owner of Denver Nuggets) to develop tourist attractions and on November 9, 1991 the building was opened.
The Pyramid was the home court for the University of Memphis men’s basketball program from 1991-2004 and the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies till 2004. It was also home to the Memphis Pharaohs of the AFL from 1995-96. The arena has also played host to a number of notable events, such as:
The 1993 Great Midwest Conference Men and Women’s basketball tournaments
The 1994 and 1997 Southern Conference men’s basketball tournament
The 1996 and 2000 Conference USA Men’s basketball tournament
Mary J. Blige’s Share My World Tour in 1997
The WWF St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: In Your House pay-per-view in 1999
The Annual Church of God in Christ’s International Convocation from 2002 to 2006
25th Anniversary commemoration of Elvis Presley’s death in 2002 and so on.

The arena despite having its own memorable moments, has had its own downs. For instance, on the Pyramid’s opening night, the arena floor flooded because of inadequate drainage pumps that forced stage hands to sandbag the entire perimeter to preserve the electrical runs under the stage. The Pyramid’s death knell sounded when the Grizzlies moved from Vancouver. The arena was originally thought to be suitable for the NBA team, but it was discovered that it needed to be upgraded significantly to make it a viable NBA arena. The city of Memphis had a contract with the Grizzlies that forbade the use of the arena without the team’s approval. This in turn resulted in the arena going dark. In 2005, Memphis businessman Scott Ledbetter studied possible uses of the arena and considered converting it into a casino, an aquarium, a shopping mall or an indoor theme park. In 2008, the city and Bass Pro Shops reached a tentative agreement to develop the then abandoned structure. On June 30, 2015, after 5 years of negotiation, the City of Memphis and Bass Pro singed a 55-year lease for a Bass Pro Shops megastore.
One million people visited the Bass Pro Pyramid between the grand opening in April 2015 and July 8, 2015. Due to this large success, Bass Pro is considering adding a zip-line and a second hotel to the Pyramid. Alongside images of iconic structures from Tennessee’s three other large cities, the Pyramid was incorporated into the standard design of Tennessee’s state-issued driver’s license in 2011.

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