scotiabank arena where renovations are taking place

Fans fear even higher ticket prices as Scotiabank Arena renovations get underway

A second phase of renovations at Scotiabank Arena, home to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, has begun. This phase will include capital improvements to the 100-level concourse and the introduction of the new MNP Pass Social Club.

At the ceremonial groundbreaking on Tuesday morning, Keith Pelley, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), swung a sledgehammer through a wall on the 100-level concourse. In a statement, Pelley said that following the success of last summer’s first phase of the Scotiabank Arena Reimagination project, there will be even more state-of-the-art improvements to Canada’s top-ranked venue this summer.

“Delivering the very best sports and entertainment fan experience will always be our top priority, and we are thankful to MLSE ownership for their commitment and investment in this project as we strive to build on Toronto’s reputation as a world class market with top venues for our teams, performers and fans.”

Last year, MLSE announced the $350 million Scotiabank Arena Reimagination project, a multi-phased renovation featuring significant enhancements to virtually all corners of the arena including concourses, premium clubs, suites, technology as well as retail and food and beverage spaces.

As the arena undergoes this new construction phase, the venue will remain open at full capacity for all scheduled events. From now until October, renovations will also include the addition of a second Real Sports Apparel retail store on the 100-level concourse, the conversion of apparel kiosks on the 100-level into mini walk-in shops equipped with rotating walls and digital signage for an enhanced shopping experience, and additions to the ongoing museum-like art collection curated in collaboration with Sports & The Arts.

The remodelling will also include more inclusive and accessible spaces onto the 100-level concourse (including an infant feeding room, prayer room, all-gendered bathrooms, etc.), renovations to the famed Hot Stove restaurant on the 200 level,  and implementation of secure, frictionless security screening at entry to help fans get into the venue as quickly as possible.

“This latest reimagination phase marks a pivotal moment in the project as every fan that enters through the doors of Scotiabank Arena will get to feel the visual, functional and atmosphere enhancements as they begin their experience from the main level concourse to their seats,” said Nick Eaves, Chief Venues & Operations Officer, MLSE. “From purposeful design transformations to innovation technology additions to culturally impactful art integrations, this summer’s ground-breaking celebrates our commitment to ensuring our space is continuously improving to best serve our valued fans.”

With all these renovations, some are worried they will lead to increased ticket prices to see the Maple Leafs and Raptors — but in an interview with Global News, Eaves said that prices have nothing to do with the construction project.

“There’s no correlation between ticket pricing and renovations in the building,” Eaves said. “Every year the team goes and looks at the market and makes a determination on ticket pricing but completely independent of any renovation that we do, or don’t do.”

Still, people have expressed concerns across social media.

“You don’t have to raise ticket prices, but you can raise concession prices and add “premium” to everything to get more money,” one Redditor said.

“A bottle of Water gonna be 12 dollars plus 15% tip now,” another joked.

A report released last year by online sports betting platform Betway revealed that Toronto has the most expensive NHL games of any league. One ticket to a regular season home game at Scotiabank Arena costs $145.60 on average, the only city to come close to that number is Seattle, where it costs $130.85 on average to attend a Kraken game.

According to a recent report by the Toronto Star, season tickets to the Toronto Raptors will be about 4% higher on average next season. One ticket-holder told the publication that her two seats in the 300 level will cost $6,700 next season, up from $6,300 this season. The team also ranked 12th out of 30 teams in a ranking of average ticket prices for NBA teams last year (USD $245 per average ticket, it was the only Canadian team to make the list).

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