Raptors Offering Courtside Seating To Lure More Celebrities To Air Canada Centre
The Raptors, echoing a trend in the NBA, have "taken away most of the cherished courtside seating of the print news media that covers the team on a regular basis," according to Robert MacLeod of the GLOBE & MAIL. Since the start of the regular season, the "majority of reporters who used to enjoy watching the action on the floor between the two team benches are now looking on from up high at a newly-created media-only area within the Air Canada Club off the 100 level." That created space on the floor "for another 20 seats which were quickly sold as season tickets, raising the number of courtside seating at the ACC to about 450, about 50 more than the league average." MLSE Chief Commercial Officer Dave Hopkinson said, "It’s definitely lucrative for us, we sold those 20 seats almost immediately." The Raptors "hold back four of those seats per game to give to visiting dignitaries." Rapper Drake, who "has season tickets and was recently introduced as the Raptors global ambassador, is a regular sitting courtside" at the team's home games. Actress Susan Sarandon has "been known to occasionally drop by along with Michael Douglas, Samuel L. Jackson, Ron Howard, Eugene Levy and Lou Gossage." Hopkinson said, "In the parlance of our league, these are the Hollywood seat." Other regular courtside patrons include "business heavyweights" such as Indigo Books & Music Founder & CEO Heather Reisman and her husband, Onex Corp. CEO Gerry Schwartz (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/26).