The Ottawa Senators mean business.
And not just on the ice, where pushing toward playoff success is a daily endeavour for the National Hockey League team's coaches, management and players.
In a Coliseum Room at Scotiabank Place filled with season-seat owners, the Senators today launched their 'We Mean Business' campaign, which aims to further spread the word about the positive impact that can be gained by doing business with the club.
Using this business-to-business marketing program as a springboard, the Senators hope to sell 500 new pairs of season seats in the 100 and 200 levels at Scotiabank Place, which would push the team closer to its ultimate goal of achieving a season-seat base of 13,000. Current projections have the team with 11,500 such commitments for the 2012-13 season.
"We want to fill the building with Senator fans and to do that, we need to get the (season) ticket base up," said Senators president Cyril Leeder. "When we get the season-seat base where it needs to be, we think we can fill the building with Senators fans on a nightly basis. (We want) to have a really special atmosphere, pump up the team and give them the crowd they deserve behind them."
It's especially on home dates against the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, Leeder said, that the Senators want their own fans to "Take Back the Bank."
"We can't default to the fact that we'll do it for 35 games, but not for the other six (against Montreal and Toronto)," he said.
This new intitiative is targeted at medium to small businesses, Leeder said. In the past year, the Senators have introduced 12-month payment plans to make purchasing a package easier. Business people have also expressed interest in packages that include dinner, an area the club plans to grow in the season to come.
"We are asking the principals within the local business community to give us 15 minutes to demonstrate to them how a partnership and Senators season tickets can be a win-win for both parties," said Jeff Kyle, the Senators' vice-president of marketing. "Our region is made up of passionate, loyal consumers and employees who are passionate about our brand.
"We feel there is still room to educate businesses in our community about the advantages that can come as a result of a partnership with the Senators organization."
Season-seat owners at the luncheon also got to rub shoulders with the prospects currently in town for the Senators' annual summer development camp. Leeder believes strongly that fans have connected with the current youth movement underway in Ottawa.
"I think they like it a lot," he said. "Part of the reason is that hockey fans in Ottawa and Canada are pretty smart and they realize if you're not an elite team or on a youth program, you're probably not on the right track. We've got a good thing going now with our (young) players.
"We had some good prospects last year and the group coming in this year is probably even better than the one we brought up last year. They'll push guys for jobs and the future looks pretty good."
The Senators have also been good for the community off the ice. Since 2002, special events such as the Bell Capital Cup, the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend and 2009 world juniors have generated more than $425 million in economic activity locally. As well, the Sens Foundation has been instrumental in the building of Roger's House and the Rink of Dreams in front of Ottawa City Hall. The club and the foundation, its charity arm, have combined to raise more than $65 million for community initiatives in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.
Details of those contributions can be found in the Sens Foundation's community report.