We end 2019 with a countdown of the five biggest stories of the year on Arena Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #5: TD Garden updates unveiled—to praise and complaints.
When TD Garden owner and operator Delaware North previewed arena updates for the 2019-2020 NHL and NBA seasons, there was a lot to like. The arena had seen minimal upgrades since its 1995 opening, so the additions of new public and social spaces, party decks, bars, and concourse expansions were welcomed moves. And there were also plenty of renovations taking place behind the scenes, including new locker rooms for the NBA’s Boston Celtics and the NHL’s Boston Bruins. The move turned one of the more dated arenas in pro sports to one offering what today’s fans want in terms of amenities and services.
And, for the most part, the renovations have been warmly received by fans. Many long-time fans remember the old Garden with its narrow concourses and narrow seats, and the new TD Garden offers an experience light years beyond the old place. Unfortunately, many of those fans received a harsh flashback when they visited the new TD Garden seating. In the process of upgrading the seating from a basic theater seat, Delaware North kept the old dimensions but adding padding, wider arm rests and a taller seat back.
Ironically, the move to add comfort to the mix ended up in less comfortable seating for some in the arena. This resulted in seats with a narrower seat area and less space for legs.
This didn’t apply to all the new seating in TD Garden: just the arena’s eighth and ninth floors, which means most fans didn’t experience any discomfort. But it does highlight the new economies in venue renovations: be prepared to sacrifice capacity for comfort.
Image courtesy TD Garden.