SBD/April 17, 2014/Facilities

Mark Chipman Says Jets Looking To Add Loge Seating Off 300 Level Of MTS Centre

Chipman said the Jets will not physically expand the MTS Centre, just add seats
NHL Jets Chair Mark Chipman said that the seating capacity of the 15,004-seat MTS Centre "could go up in the not-too-distant future," according to Tim Campbell of the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS. Chipman yesterday said, "We've looked at a plan to build some loge seating which would basically hang off the 300 level so we're going through the engineering and studying that, currently. But we're only talking about 250, maybe 300 seats, not thousands." He added, "We can't physically expand (the MTS Centre). And we're not going to do that and we never considered that." Campbell notes True North Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Jets, has "begun a capital re-investment in the MTS Centre, soon to hit its 10th birthday." A C$30M, five-year plan of upgrades, called True North 2020, has "already begun in the building's upper deck." The team has "bounced back strongly from the lockout year and overall revenues have returned to Year 1 levels -- believed to be in the neighbourhood" of C$105M -- or slightly higher. Chipman said, "We took a massive hit in the work-stoppage year but our revenues have come back to where we were in Year 1 and improved slightly in some areas. Year 2 was a very costly year where, and it wasn't unique to us, we had to absorb some very significant losses." Campbell notes the "extra good news on Year 3 revenue is that it won't preclude the Jets from receiving some revenue-sharing income, as happened in Year 1 when the team was surprisingly in the NHL's top-15 in revenue right out of the gate." Meanwhile, Chipman insisted that the Jets' player budget "is on the rise," and will "go up next year as the league's salary cap goes up, and he's not ruling out to near the cap, as it was this season" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 4/17).

SEEING IS BELIEVING: In Edmonton, Terry Jones notes he had the opportunity to spend "two hours in the Katz Group office on the 17th floor of the Bell Tower overlooking the site" of a new downtown arena for the Oilers. Jones: "I left there totally blown away by what the building is going to look like when the Oilers begin play there two years from now. ... This is going to knock your hockey socks off and win rave reviews as the champion of them all." City of Edmonton Corporate Properties Manager Rick Daviss said, "You are going to see the structure start to come out of the ground in the fall of this year. It will be closed off with the exterior, and next summer we start working on the interior. And we're looking at having it all completed in the late summer of 2016 so we're ready for the opening of the 2016-17 season in September" (EDMONTON SUN, 4/17).
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