Some Sens sponsors staying away as season approaches: team

Mark Brownlee
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Some Ottawa Senators sponsors are still sitting on the bench as NHL players prepare to take the ice for a strike-shortened season, club officials say.

Scotiabank Place

Most of the team’s sponsors - there are slightly more 100 - are returning after the work stoppage that saw the National Hockey League cancel games for three and a half months.

But others are staying away as the team prepares for its first regular season game this weekend, underscoring the lingering effects of the partially cancelled season.

The team is working with each sponsor individually to come up with a package that would make up for the missed games, said Mark Bonneau, the team’s vice-president of sales.

“I would say we’re having some early success but I couldn’t tell you that every single client is coming back,” he said, without offering specific figures.

Whether or not there was going to be a season this year was still in doubt until early January, when the owners and players announced they reached a new collective bargaining agreement to end the league-imposed lockout.

Mr. Bonneau said he’s confident they’ll be back in the fold as the season gets closer to starting.“We had a few clients back in the early fall that had to make decisions as to where they would place their media and marketing and promotion assets,” said Mr. Bonneau.“They made their decisions then. We’re in dialogue with most of them now as to whether they can return now that we know what the schedule looks like.”

The team is offering several incentives for sponsors such as advertising on the big screen during home games at Scotiabank Place or giving them a chance to meet the players at events such as an early February event at the Casino du Lac Leamy.

The Senators have also announced a series of initiatives designed to bring back ordinary fans, including half-price student tickets and $1 popcorn.

The team kicks off its season on Saturday.

Organizations: National Hockey League, Scotiabank Place

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