Bruins to renovate Garden using actual own money their actual own selves

Not every team owner is insisting that they need public money to do renovations for their 1990s-era arenas. The owners of Boston’s TD Garden, who also own the Bruins, just announced $70 million in upgrades that they’ll be paying for out of their own pocket:

Among the ambitious upgrades: a relocation and expansion of the Bruins’ Proshop; an overhaul of the concourses on levels four and seven; and renovations of the Garden’s concessions and the Legends Club, the arena’s largest private hospitality space, which houses the Celtics’ Courtside club and is open to eligible Bruins and Celtics season-ticket holders.

“It’s our goal to really set the industry standard, the high-water mark, for fan experience,” Charlie Jacobs, principal for Delaware North Companies and the Bruins, told the Globe.

You can credit the difference between this and the situation with the Miami Heat et al. to the fact that Massachusetts isn’t as generous with sports subsidies as Florida, to the fact that it’d be laughable for the Bruins to threaten to leave Boston for another market, or just to Charlie Jacobs being a nice guy, if you want. But anyway, sports venue renovations can be done on the team’s dime. If you really needed any more evidence than this.

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11 comments on “Bruins to renovate Garden using actual own money their actual own selves

  1. It certainly seems to be something with the state. Aside from the generous deal the Red Sox got to use Yawkey Way during games, the hundreds of millions that the Sox ownership has flooded into Fenway in the last 12 years has been entirely private as well.

  2. Your second reason is far more important than your first. No matter how “anti-subsidy” a state is, if the team has leverage and the residents love the team then subsidies are inevitable. (And no, Seattle didn’t love the Sonics. They only say they love them now that they’re gone.)

  3. Leverage (or perceived leverage) certainly helps, but we’ve seen plenty of cases where teams weren’t moving in a million years and still got subsidies.

    In the Red Sox case, I followed that very closely, and the hard line on subsidies was almost entirely due to one man, Tom Finneran, the then–state house speaker. I never quite got what made him stand up to team owners the way he did (not just the Sox but Kraft with the Patriots), but he had a huge influence on the way those deals went down.

  4. Denver should have held their ground with the Broncos better in the 90’s, and when/if the Broncos ask for renovations the public shouldn’t listen- even when the SuperBowl card is played.

  5. (And no, Seattle didn’t love the Sonics. They only say they love them now that they’re gone.)

    You know this …. how?

  6. The two years before the last season, the Sonics averaged around 16,000 fans (90+% capacity) per game, which isn’t bad for teams that were well below .500 and out of the playoffs. The last year it dipped significantly to 13,355 per game, but obviously that needs to be put in the context of the team finishing with the worst record in franchise history and many fans being resigned to the fact that the team was leaving (Bennett conveniently announced he was filing for relocation right as the season was starting). Besides, two teams (the Pacers and Grizzlies) finished with worse attendance than the Sonics that year; does that mean those teams should have moved too? Should every team that goes a few years at the bottom of the attendance rankings move? It really shouldn’t be that surprising when teams with the worst records finish with the worst attendance.

    And surprisingly the Sonics’ TV ratings that last year were higher than in Oklahoma during their first year.

    And I-91 was fueled by stadium fatigue caused by Safeco, the Clink, the continuing Kingdome debt, and how the Sonics were asking for a new stadium subsidy barely ten years after the previous one.

  7. In Ben’s defense, I never met someone who said they were a Sonics fan until after the team left, and I live in an area that’s full of people with Pacific Northwest ties.

    Nobody’s saying the Sonics’ departure is like when the Grizzlies left Vancouver, but it’s hardly to the scale of the Browns leaving Cleveland like many faux-martyrs make it out to be. My observation puts the Sonics’ departure somewhere around Cardinals (NFL) to Phoenix or Giants (MLB) to San Francisco.

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