The Lorenzi Line
by Nicholas Lorenzi on 10/19/11 at 02:33 PM ET
The purchase of Nationwide Arena is the step in the right direction for the surrounding businesses, even if the Jackets keep losing.
“Early in the year, we always struggle. We want to get through the Thanksgiving time period when things start to pick up. But our business we clearly recognize winning is important,” stated Larry Hoepfner, executive vice president of business operations for the Blue Jackets.
R Bar Arena owner Michael Darr believes the plan to buy Nationwide Arena is long overdue and should give the team a boost.
“I think San Francisco at one time was the last city to be privately-held arena. Other than that, we were the only ones. It’s not fair to ask one person, one company to take that burden on while everyone else benefits,” said Darr.
Signs posted in windows of the arena tout deals for families as well as groups of 30 or more. The promotions are important and CBJ officials hope they bring in casual and die-hard hockey fans.
“We have a number of promotional ideas as the season goes on that we implement to bring in crowds. We think there’s a natural increase that will happen as the season rolls on. But what we’re not going to do anything that will undercut or under price our season ticket holders,” said Hoepfner.
The question now, will bars and restaurants continue to thrive if the Blue Jackets don’t start winning? Michael Darr says even if only half the seats sell at home games, that’s plenty of business for everyone.
“There are still 9,000 people coming to the arena. I know our bar doesn’t hold 9,000, so they have to go somewhere,” stated Darr.
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