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09-30-2004, 01:12 AM #1Patrick Guest
Ford Center: Blazers making a mistake
Okay, this is flat out ridiculous. For Blazer's games, the upper deck will now be curtained off making a more "intimate" setting. Sounds to me like it's going to give out-of-towners a lot smaller perception of our arena. I don't like this move. Lund states: "It's electronic, and if you haven't been in the Ford Center before, you won't even know the upper bowl exists." Yeah, and if you've never been in the Ford Center before, you might never come back, because you'll rule that it's a small hick arena! We need to show all 18,000 seats in the Ford Center. Who knows......stars might come to a Blazer's game to check out our arena. You never know who's coming.
I can see having a curtain for smaller acts that might want to create a more intimate setting, but I think for Blazer's hockey we need to open up the arena. Otherwise, they might as well go back to playing across the street.
This statement makes me sick: "But our marketing plan is that our game is sold out when that 10,200th ticket is sold. This will create a much better atmosphere, and it certainly increases the ticket demand."
Why shoot for such a low number?
What do you think?
"New curtain should add intimacy for Blazers fans
By Bob Hersom
Oklahoma City and the Blazers are downsizing the Ford Center.
The city and SMG, which operates the Ford Center, are installing a curtain that will encircle and cover the uppermost level of the arena. The curtain, expected to be installed in time for the Blazers' season opener Oct. 22, will be used when events dictate a more intimate setting in the 20,000-seat arena.
In the Blazers' first two seasons at the Ford Center, the arena capacity for hockey was 18,100. With the curtain, capacity will be 10,200. The Blazers' average home attendance at the arena has been 8,763 last season and 8,988 in 2002-2003.
"Our plan for the coming season is to have the curtain up for all games," said Brad Lund, Express Sports CEO. "If we ever did take part or all of the curtain away it would be for special events.
"But our marketing plan is that our game is sold out when that 10,200th ticket is sold. This will create a much better atmosphere, and it certainly increases the ticket demand."
Lund said no other Central Hockey League teams have curtained-off areas in their home arenas.
"But I would say the vast majority of the new arenas across the country have curtain systems," Lund said. "There are a lot of acts out there, whether it's a concert, a circus or a rodeo, that draw 3,000 to 10,000 people that will avoid a facility like the Ford Center because they don't want any empty seats. They want to create that same ticket demand I'm talking about."
Lund said the Blazers will not have the arena's upper bowl opened unless they know "weeks in advance" that a large crowd is expected. Those nights may include a bobblehead giveaway night or two, and a post-game concert featuring a Christian or country group.
"In this day and age in the entertainment business," Lund said, "it's competitive out there. If you only just market to the sports fan or the hockey fan, you'll eventually go out (of) business."
First-time visitors to the Ford Center, Lund said, may not even notice the curtain.
"It's custom designed. It's not a tarp. It's not just a wall of black," Lund said. "I believe it was in the original specs for the arena. It's electronic, and if you haven't been in the Ford Center before, you won't even know the upper bowl exists."
Blazers sign three
The Blazers' preseason roster reached 24 players Tuesday when three more were signed: defenseman Cameron Breitkreuz and forward Justin Kot and Dan Buccella.
Breitkreuz and Kot played for Oklahoma City last season. Buccella had 25 goals and 24 assists in 56 games for Huntsville of the Southeastern Hockey League last year. "
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