ORLANDO — If you’ve gotten used to telling family and friends you to see a game or concert at the Amway Center, it’s now 2024, and Orlando’s premier downtown sports and entertainment destination has a new name: Kia Center.
The arena in downtown Orlando, which is also home of the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic, got renamed in December, for the first time since this arena first opened in 2010. Alex Martins, the CEO of the Orlando magic,m said he and the team are excited about the chance, and welcome it.
“The Orlando Magic and Kia America have been proud partners for several years and we share in the excitement of Kia’s success and growth,” he said.
So what prompted the name change?
Why is Amway Center now Kia Center?
The renaming was made official on Dec. 20. Kia and Kia Motors Corporation, of course, is the multinational automobile manufacturer headquartered in Seoul, South Korea.
Kia America has a longstanding partnership with the Orlando magic, which led to the newly redubbed Kia Center, and the agreement includes more than simply the name change. Kia is revving its engines for multiple changes. Also in the works are:
- New indoor and outdoor signage reflecting the new name
- The installations of electric vehicle charging stations outside
- Kia vehicle displays inside
- and the Kia Terrace, a hospitality lounge for not just the arena’s usual sports and concert fans, but alsof automotive enthusiasts.
Martins noted that the Orlando Magic and Kia America have a long-standing partnership, and this was the natural conclusion of it.
“The Orlando Magic and Kia America have been proud partners for several years and we share in the excitement of Kia’s success and growth,” Martins said. “We look forward to our expanded partnership which allows Kia to drive its brand forward and deliver a direct, impactful message to our fan base and beyond using the power of the NBA. Kia also becomes a ‘Champion of the Community’ partner and we look forward to working together to positively impact the Central Florida community.”
What’s In It For Kia America?
Kia America — which is the official automotive partner of the National Basketball Association and the Orlando Magic — echoed those sentiments.
“The naming of the Kia Center is another example of the strength of our partnership and provides us a year-round sports and entertainment platform for our fans,” said Sean Yoon, President and CEO of Kia America. “This facility is a spectacular asset for those who call Central Florida home and for those who visit this global tourist destination. Coupled with our naming rights of the Kia Forum in California, we now stretch from coast to coast.”
The renaming of Amway to the Kia Center also coincides with the launch of the automotive industry’s first 3-row, all-electric SUV, the Kia EV9.
This change follows the renaming of the Kia Forum in Los Angeles, giving Kia a foothold in arenas on both coasts.
In Florida, Kia’s southeast operation has dealerships in Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville. With 11 dealerships in Central Florida, this has become the fastest growing Kia market in the nation.
Kia America will now have their name emblazoned on a downtown arena that has earned numerous awards over the past 13 years, including:
- Being named SportsBusiness Journal’s 2012 Sports Facility of the Year
- Tthe International Association of Venue Managers’ Venue Excellence Award
- TheStadiumBusiness Awards’ Customer Experience Award
- and recently voted by fans as the No. 1 venue in the NBA for its game experience.
Not too shabby for the folks at both Kia America and Orlando Magic.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book A Christmas Eve Story. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.