SBJ/20090817/Offseason Report

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  • Palm trees, parking and personal touch

    With NBA and NHL teams in the midst of the offseason, we asked top team executives what sits atop their to-do list this summer as they look ahead to the 2009-10 season. Responses were edited for clarity and brevity.

    Peter Biche
    President of business operations
    Washington Wizards

    “One personal objective this summer is to get more involved on the season-ticket-holder side. I am spending a lot more time working on that, meeting one-on-one with season-ticket holders and calling them more than I have in the past. We are renewing about where we were last year, and if we are flat, then I’ll feel pretty good. But it is a challenge.

    “Another challenge is to make sure the business side and the basketball side are working well together. Selling tickets and marketing doesn’t always match up with what Ernie [Grunfeld, president of the Wizards] wants. He needs the players, and I need them out in the community meeting with season-ticket holders and sponsors, so that is something I am always thinking about.”

    Cyril Leeder
    Ottawa Senators

    “We’re really trying to maintain our fan and revenue base. We’re focused on sales and improving our guest experience. One of the things we’re doing is building a new restaurant called Bert’s. It’s modeled after a place [owner] Eugene Melnyk goes in Barbados . It’s got a Caribbean theme and will be similar in style, with palm trees and the same menu, including their big drink: the banana daiquiri. Bert’s caters to the value segment. We’re focusing on real meat-and-potatoes value for our customers.

    “We also have a parking lot that holds 8,000 cars, which is great, but the egress is long. We’re concentrated on trying to improve that. We’ve got a list of 20 recommendations from a parking lot operator that we’re going to try to put into practice.”

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