Do We Need a Downtown Arena?

How long until Bettman demands it?

Maybe it’s the pictures of the new Seattle arena or maybe it’s the fact that the Lebreton conversation is back on the table, but the idea of a new arena is haunting me again. In my five thoughts yesterday, I mentioned that this team may not be sustained long term without a downtown arena and while we will be okay for the next few years, eventually the league will demand more.

The hardcore fans will go to games wherever the arena is and no matter the performance. Mind you, the low attendance the past couple of seasons is more a Melnyk effect than a poor performance one. However, how do you grow a fanbase when you don’t have the capacity to attract more people to come watch the game? People who live all the way in Orleans or Gatineau or even those with families usually skip out on the arena experience. I have never taken the bus to the Canadian Tire Centre but everything I heard so far will not make me change my mind anytime soon. Parking can be a hassle for many plus an added cost and additional departure time to an already long trip home for many.

Forget the fans who are far or the ones with families who don’t want to be up an hour or two after the game ends. How about tourists? Bored Ottawa citizens? I can’t count the times where I’ve heard hey let’s go check out a 67s or Redblacks game because it is so convenient to just go to Lansdowne, have a bite and watch a game. It’s a central location with tons to do around the area and transit is very decent when games are playing. An attractive downtown arena will also draw the casual tourist staying in a downtown hotel, another Ottawa adventure if you may call it. Without a doubt, a new arena in a prime location will earn more revenue and that usually means better team operations doesn’t it?

Will the team survive if it stays in Kanata? Yes, I think it will but it will never reach that level of potential in earnings that could solve many financial issues with the team. Regardless of ownership, a team in Kanata simply doesn’t give the team enough financial buffer to be able to complete with teams like Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens or even the Nashville Predators who by many accounts have one of the best arena locations in the league. Gary Bettman is a businessman after all, and while he said the team will not relocate it’s only a matter of time before he starts demanding a more logical and accessible location for an Ottawa Senators arena.

So the question is, do you think the long term viability of the team depends on a new downtown arena?

Do We Need a New Arena?

Yes, it is essential284
No, all problems will be solved with a new owner46
It is nice to have but not a need68
A downtown arena is a bad idea10

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