Senators Believe New Downtown Arena Remains Four Or Five Years Away
The Senators believe a move to their planned downtown arena "is still four to five years away," as they continue to "negotiate with the National Capital Commissioner to transform LeBreton Flats into a mixed-use community, including the NHL arena," according to Jon Willing of the OTTAWA SUN. Senators President & CEO Tom Anselmi said that it is "still early in the negotiations and there is no timetable for their completion." However, NCC CEO Mark Kristmanson just minutes later "suggested the two sides want to have an agreement in principle by the end of the year." Willing noted it is uncertain "what the Senators will need from city hall and what the city will ask of the Senators before shovels break ground." The city is "expected to have its own list of negotiation principles this fall." Anselmi said that having the arena built "by 2021, as first hoped, 'is possible but it's tight'" (OTTAWA SUN, 9/13).
WHY IS TEAM STRUGGLING AT GATE? Anselmi yesterday said that the Senators "need to sell 2,000 more season-ticket packages over the next two years." The team is putting a tarp over 1,500 seats at Canadian Tire Centre this season due to low ticket sales, and Anselmi said, "We just need more of us to come to more games more often." The NATIONAL POST's Scott Stinson notes there are "no lack of contributing factors" to the decreased ticket sales, including the fact the arena is "out in the wilds of Kanata, which makes attending a game something of an undertaking." Additionally, Ottawa's "biggest employer is the federal government, which removes the possibility of packing the stands with suits who are entertaining clients." However, both of those factors "are not new," and the Senators as recently as the '12-13 season "averaged more than 19,000 fans -- above capacity." One potential reason could be a "playoff-failure malaise." While the team has made the postseason 16 of the last 20 seasons, it has gone "as far as the conference finals only three times." Stinson: "That does tend to wear on a fan base" (NATIONAL POST, 9/13).