Luxury suite prices for Lucas County’s new multipurpose sports arena appear to be in line with premium seating charges offered at similar-size venues in other mid-level markets.
The new arena, which will seat 8,000 to 10,000 people, depending on its use, will feature 20 luxury suites with seating for 12 individuals. Leases will cost $40,000 for just hockey and arena football contests or $55,000 for all events in the building. Lease prices include 12 tickets for each event that falls within its respective agreement, but do not include food and beverage fees.
It is expected the new Toledo arena will house an ECHL hockey franchise and an Arena Football League 2 team. The ECHL and af2 serve as low developmental leagues for professional hockey and football, respectively.
At Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., leases for one of the building’s 42 private suites average $33,000, said Lynne Ike, the arena’s director of marketing. The 12,500-seat arena, which opened in 1996, is home to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins and the Arena Football League’s Grand Rapids Rampage.
Ike said she has a waiting list of about 50 individuals or companies interested in suite leases.
“I’ve only had four suites turn over in my six years on the job,” Ike said. “It’s been pretty steady since we opened in 1996.”
In addition to about 48 home contests for the Griffins and Rampage, Van Andel houses about 77 other events each year, including ice shows, concerts, Detroit Pistons exhibition games, Michigan State basketball games, professional wrestling shows and college hockey games, Ike said. The Lucas County arena is expected to host 100 to 125 events of that nature each year.
Though lease prices for Van Andel’s suites are less than luxury box fees at the new Toledo arena, they do not include tickets for individual events or food and beverage fees.
Ike said event traffic at Van Andel typically slows in summer because many performers book outdoor tours during that period.
The Grand Rapids venue is managed by Philadelphia-based SMG, which was hired earlier this year to manage the new Lucas County arena and the SeaGate Convention Centre.
At the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., luxury suite leases range in price from $26,000 to $36,000 depending on the length of the agreement and size of the suite. A three-year lease for a 16-person suite costs $30,000. That price jumps to $36,000 for a 26-person suite. Five-, seven- and 10-year leases are also available for the arena’s 24 suites.
Lease prices include tickets for all home games for the International Hockey League’s Fort Wayne Komets, the NBA Development League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne men’s basketball and any future sports franchise.
Tickets for other arena events and food and beverage fees are not included in suite lease prices.
The 12,500-seat arena houses more than 100 events each year, said Shannon Green, the venue’s director of premium seating. Green said there is a suite waiting list of about 35 individuals or companies interested in leases.
At Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., a three-year lease for a luxury suite costs $37,500 per year and includes 12 tickets to two preseason and 40 regular-season games for the arena’s AHL franchise, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Wachovia Arena is also home to an af2 franchise.
Prices for luxury suites at Columbus’ Nationwide Arena, home to the NHL’s Blue Jackets and the Arena Football League’s Destroyers, cost considerably more than suite fees in smaller markets. Larry Hoepfner, senior vice president of business operations for the Columbus Blue Jackets, said the average price for one of the arena’s 36 luxury suites is about $150,000 annually and includes 12 seats for each of the approximately 150 events that take place there each year. Nationwide Arena has a total of 52 suites, but 16 were sold to major companies in the Columbus area as part of the arena’s construction deal, Hoepfner said.
The key to convincing corporations to purchase suite leases is justifying the $150,000 fee with good entertainment, Hoepfner said.
“Our job is to provide as many events as we can for our suite holders,” he said.