|Senators president Cyril Leeder unveils new pricing plans for season-seat owners during a news conference at Scotiabank Place.
Perhaps more than ever, Ottawa Senators fans are warming up to the team they see on the ice.
Now the club is pushing forward to make season-seat ownership more than affordable than ever, with the aim of growing its base of full-year commitments up to the levels last reached in the wake of the Senators' run to the Stanley Cup final in 2007.
"We're happy with the progress this year, but we want to get more Senators fans in the building," team president Cyril Leeder said at a news conference earlier today to unveil the club's new pricing structure for the 2012-13 season. "That's definitely a goal of ours."
As things now stand, the Senators have 11,300 season-seat owners on the books, an increase of more than 13 per cent over last season. It's the highest such number the team has enjoyed since 2007-08, when Ottawa's season-seat base sat at 13,500 — a significant portion of it earned on the backs of the Cup final run the previous spring. The '07-08 campaign also produced a record 39 sellouts and yes, Leeder said, there is a direct correlation between the two numbers.
"We do have games (now) that are not sold out," he said. "But when you have the season-seat base a little higher ... we think the magic number is 13,000 and then we can sell out every game. So that's the number we want to get to as a minimum."
That being said, there are plenty of good things to be said about Senators attendance this season. Through 27 home games, Ottawa has recorded 16 sellouts, already matching the total of the entire 2011-12 season in that area. The Senators' average attendance is 19,222 this season to date, up 812 per game from the same point last season.
Leeder credits the team's more entertaining style of play with creating that jump. Fans are also enthused by the impending arrival of such future stars as Mika Zibanejad
, the Senators' top pick (sixth overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, who also scored the gold-medal winning goal for Sweden in overtime at the 2012 world juniors in Alberta.
"Fans I talk to think we're really on the right track," said Leeder. "When they're honest, they'll tell us they feel more confident about where we're headed now than when we made it to the final in '07. They really like the team, the makeup and the style of play. They like the guys that are here and they like the prospects that are coming as well."
Those who follow the team most ardently are also sure to like the new pricing being introduced for the coming season. More than 40 per cent of season seats at Scotiabank Place are being reduced in prize, some by as much as 52 per cent. Some 1,238 season seats will cost $20 or less, doubling the inventory currently available at that price point.
Most affordable of all are 460 seats in the Coca-Cola Zero Zone, priced at $15. Using the Senators' 12-month payment plan, they're available for purchase for as low as $28.33 per seat per month in a half-season package. A 10-game season-seat package is available to fans for as little as $19.40 per month per seat.
In all, 6,788 season seats in the arena bowl are seeing a price reduction for 2012-13.
"We think price is always a factor when people are making those decisions (to buy tickets)," said Leeder. "We know these changes in our pricing strategy allow for a broad range of fans — from corporate business partners to college students — to find a ticket package that can suit their budget and interests."
The overall game experience at Scotiabank Place has also been improved with the addition of the Bell HD Screen, which provides more than 700 per cent more videoboard viewing space.