Sens' premium seats a hit with business

The Ottawa Senators say the planned new premium seating area at Canadian Tire Centre is shaping up to be a big winner with fans in the business community.

The NHL club is preparing to launch three upgraded seating formats for the 2015-16 season – Victory Suites, Loges and Luxe seats – as part of its new 20,000-square-foot Club Bell at the west end of the arena on the 100 level.

All three options include full access to Club Bell’s bar, lounge and a private kitchen offering menu items such as fresh pasta and wood-fired pizzas, as well as VIP valet parking and a private entrance to the club. 

Geoff Publow, vice-president of strategic development for the Senators, said today’s fans are demanding more bang for their buck, especially when they are treating business clients or employees to a night out. 

“It’s more than just coming to the game,” he said. “You’re taking part in a real experience.”

He said the new seating areas fill a niche for small and medium-sized businesses that find traditional luxury boxes too large or expensive for entertaining smaller groups of clients or employees, but still want more than a standard club seat.

“You were either buying a pair of seats in our club seats or you were having a full box where you were hosting a large contingent each time out,” Mr. Publow said. “We didn’t have anything in between.”

The new seats also make it easier to mingle with other fans than traditional boxes, he added.

“You’ve got your own private area where you can host your guests; you’re also part of a larger networking opportunity with the rest of the members of Club Bell,” he said. 

The Victory Suites are what are often dubbed theatre or opera boxes – essentially a scaled-down version of the CTC’s private luxury boxes, seating six to 10 customers rather than 16 to 20.

The 14 new suites, which range in price from $80,000 to $125,000 per year and require a five- or seven-year commitment, went on the market in mid-November and sold out in three weeks.

Loges, meanwhile, feature four seats grouped together around a table. The 27 Loges at CTC went on sale early last month at a cost of $45,000 per year over a three- or five-year term. More than half have already been snapped up, Mr. Publow said.

Finally, 300 Luxe seats – basically, upgraded versions of the current club seats with higher backs and slightly wider cushions – hit the market a couple of weeks ago at an annual cost of $10,000 apiece in packages of two or four.