Matheson estimates he's attended 30-35 Ottawa Senators games a year since 1998 and, for many years now, he's been taking clients and staff to NHL games.
"We entertain clients, reward employees; we do some group activities with our staff - 'bring your partner, we've got the box for the Canadiens on Saturday night' kind of thing," he says. "Depending on the client, for sure it's a good thing. It does work."
The oil industry, he says, is populated by hockey fans. And now is a better time than ever to combine business and the kind of entertainment the Senators, and Canadian Tire Centre, have to offer.
Gone are the days when a season suite or tickets were the only ways to bring business and NHL hockey or world-class concerts together. Now all you have to do is contact the Senators, tell them what you want, and they'll find a way.
Whether you're networking, developing your business, hosting a client, building your corporate team or rewarding an employee, the Senators have an entertainment package to meet your needs. It's called the OMNI Pass and it's the key to a more fulfilling out-of-office experience for both you and your guests, whether it's one game, 10 games or a whole season of entertainment.
"The OMNI Pass program allows our fans and members of the business community to customize a program around their needs, timelines and budgets from a premium hospitality perspective," says Brendan Du Vall, the hockey club's associate director of corporate business.
"In the ever-changing business environment of the Ottawa-Gatineau region, everyone has different needs and objectives. The OMNI Pass is adapting to the industry and the feedback we're getting from our fans and local businesses. While there is still a market for season tickets or a suite for every game, you're seeing more and more of a trend toward more customizable, flexible programming."
So, if you want to do a handful of nights a year, bring more or fewer people, fold in fine dining or a casual dinner, a pre-game meeting or simply drinks and hors d'oeuvres, the menu of options is wide-ranging and designed specifically to meet your needs.
Canadian Tire Centre has a range of enhanced amenities, including pubs, restaurants, meeting rooms, premium seating and suites - even the ice itself - and the Senators offer any number of packages that will set your experience and that of your guests apart from any other.
"It's really a blank canvas for the business community to put something together that works best for them as opposed to us providing one or two packages," says Du Vall, who's been with the organization for 13 years.
Matheson bought an OMNI Pass, enabling him to pick and choose games and concerts over the course of the season, mixing and matching the seating and services to his specific requirements.
"The reason I use it is the flexibility to buy access to premium games and multiple tickets, while still maintaining my level of service from my season ticket rep and also the pricing," he says. "Basically, you're just buying credit. You can use that for a box - I think I've had four or five boxes this season so far - I can use it for two tickets to club seats for one game; if I need a box for a concert, it's there.
"It's like a debit card for whatever you need."
Du Vall, and the hockey club, have seen a lot of changes and ups and downs, both in the club's fortunes and those of the Ottawa business community, over the years.
The Kanata business park, just a hop, skip and a jump from the Senators home ice, is thriving and now sits among the top centres of high-tech innovation in North America. The Carp airport, which welcomes corporate visitors daily, is virtually around the corner, and a selection of hotel accommodations is close.
Du Vall says the Sens have always adapted to the ever-evolving Ottawa business environment. He points to the high-tech industry - much of it just five minutes away - as a major player in the area, and home to many loyal Senators clients who tap into the club's range of packages and services to enhance everything from recruiting top talent to retaining valued employees or wooing customers.
"We've got hundreds of great partners in that tech space and we're seeing more and more companies that are new to the Ottawa area or they're expanding and we're helping with their objectives," he says.
"The companies that we work with are very proud partners of the hockey club and obviously we're proud to have them, as well."
Whatever your business objectives are, Du Vall and his colleagues would like to meet with you and come up with a way to achieve them through their hockey and live event portfolio.
"We have a proven track record of working with businesses in the area and we've made a number of enhancements to the experience and the building."
The concept is not unique to the Senators, nor hockey. Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, especially, have incorporated similar programs with enhanced options like premium dining, social spaces, private lounges and meeting rooms, and exclusive seating.
"We've seen a huge shift, just across the industry as a whole," says Du Vall. "There is always going to be an appetite among fans to come to the game and have a slice of pizza or some form of grab-and-go, but we're also seeing a shift toward more variety and premium food and services.
"We're seeing more and more of an emphasis on all-inclusive packages, like a turn-key solution where you're coming out for an outing or you're sending your clients to a game or a concert where the cost of the ticket and the meal and the parking is included as part of a program. It really provides that 'wow' factor to the client at the end of the evening, or to your staff member, that they're appreciated.
"Creating experiences like that, whether it's for your clients or for your employees, has a lasting impact."
For more information, visit https://www.nhl.com/senators/tickets/omni-pass.
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia's commercial content division, on behalf of the Ottawa Senators