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Volume 20 No. 41
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MSG rolling out new premium areas

Editor's note: This story has been revised from the print edition.

As the massive renovation of Madison Square Garden draws to a close over the next 12 weeks, arena officials are introducing three new premium-seat products at the arena’s highest level.

The new lounge club seats, group hospitality lounges and Chase Bridge seats open this fall on the 10th floor as MSG officials put the finishing touches on a three-year, $980 million makeover.

New hospitality lounges will offer a new experience for groups.
Before the upgrades, the 71 suites on the 10th floor were among the worst locations for skyboxes in major league sports, and many were unsold before the renovation, sources familiar with the situation said. Now, those have been removed to make way for the following three offerings:

LOUNGE CLUB SEATS: The 68 wide, cushioned seats are situated in the center section of the east balcony, rebranded by Anheuser-Busch as the

Eighteen76 Balcony. The seats are connected to table tops with in-seat beverage service and a high-end lounge behind the section.

MSG tied the seats to partial season-ticket plans. They are sold out for New York Rangers games, sold in pairs for $115 to $120 a seat per game with no multiyear commitments required, said Dave Howard, president of MSG Sports.

MSG officials began selling the seats for Knicks games after the NBA announced the schedule for the 2013-14 season last week.

GROUP HOSPITALITY LOUNGES: Bookending the lounge club seats are six new group hospitality lounges. Each lounge has 28 fixed seats and 14 bar stools, and they can be combined into larger spaces, Howard said.

The lounges are reserved for Knicks and Rangers game packages and single-night rentals. The starting price is about $4,000 a game for Knicks and Rangers games, a cost covering tickets, food and nonalcoholic beverages.

“We do a good group business but we haven’t had a dedicated section with lounge space to mingle,” Howard said. “Before, we put groups in general seating sections and gave them as much personal attention as we could. This new product will elevate the hospitality experience.”

CHASE BRIDGE SEATS: The new Chase Bridge seating platforms have drawn the most attention in New York because of the catwalk-style design and unusual views those patrons will enjoy suspended above the crowd.

The north bridge has 355 ticketed seats. The south bridge will have 75 seats available for purchase and a portion reserved for media, Howard said.

As of last week, MSG had not announced bridge seat pricing. Because of the uniqueness of the seating product, the Garden made the decision to go through its normal season-ticket renewal process before putting the bridge seats on sale, arena officials said.

Similar to the group lounges, the bridge seats will be made available for partial ticket plans, group packages and single games. They will also be sold for concerts.

“No other arena has a seating configuration like this,” Howard said.

One level below, on the ninth floor, the 18 Signature Suites on the arena’s east side have been renovated and are starting to hit the market, he said.

MSG does not make suite pricing public, but those units cost $500,000 annually before the improvements, sources said.

The final phase of renovations extends to the arena’s front door, repackaged as Chase Square, the new two-story, glass-enclosed grand entrance on Seventh Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

The indoor space will feature a new LED video board in the ceiling that can be programmed in creative ways with Knicks and Rangers themes as well as images of the New York skyline and simulated fireworks displays, Howard said.