CLEVELAND (AP) — Quicken Loans Arena, the site of the Republican National Convention now underway in downtown Cleveland, got a speedy makeover from hallowed basketball arena to political ground zero. Some facts and figures about the facility:
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The downtown arena, known locally as The Q, is home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. You may recall the team's historic comeback last month to clinch the NBA championship and end the city's 52-year major title drought. If you don't, Clevelanders will be ready to remind you of it. The American Hockey League's Lake Erie Monsters and the Arena Football League's Gladiators also call the arena home. The site hosts more than sporting events. It also attracts big musical acts and entertainers. Paul McCartney, AC/DC, Kanye West and comedian Amy Schumer are set to perform there this year.
The GOP had four weeks to prepare the venue for the convention because of the Cavaliers' NBA title run. Officials say such changes have never been completed in less than five weeks. Organizers removed more than 3,000 seats to make room for the stage and media platform.
The venue opened in 1994 as Gund Arena, named after the Cavs' former owner Gordon Gund. Current owner Dan Gilbert bought the naming rights to the complex when he took ownership of the basketball team in 2005. Gilbert renamed the venue Quicken Loans Arena after the online mortgage giant that he founded.
The Q has seating for 20,562, according to its website. The venue boasts a yearly attendance of about 2 million people who come to watch sports, concerts and other events. Convention organizers say 175-plus stage hands worked on production. They planned to have 2,472 delegate seats on the arena's floor. Three locker rooms were converted into office spaces, and 23 vendors are selling political memorabilia, jewelry and other merchandise.
The facility's 55,000-square-foot underground service area can accommodate parking for 26 tour buses and has served as a hotel for circus animals.