Ottawa Senators reduce capacity at Canadian Tire Centre by 1,500 seats

Fans inside the Canadian Tire Centre (Photo by Aaron Toth / Flickr)

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk believes less could mean more.

Tired of seeing too many empty seats, the NHL club has made the decision to reduce capacity at Canadian Tire Centre by 1,500 to about 17,000. Rows in the upper bowl have been covered with tarps.

The team struggled to sell out the building last season, even in the playoffs.

"The attendance shifts have been dramatic over a period of two decades," Melnyk told reporters Thursday. "The whole trend now is less seats and more clubs and frankly smaller stadiums.

"When you look at things like a new stadium downtown, we're not going to build a 20,000-seat stadium. It will probably be closer to 15,000-17,000 in there."

Melnyk and team president Tom Anselmi wouldn't reveal season ticket numbers but the two are hopeful that by removing seats fans will feel the need to purchase season tickets with the potential of there being fewer tickets available on a walk-up basis.

This is the second time in three years that the Senators have reduced seating capacity at its home arena.

Before the start of the 2015-16 season, the team completed a $15-million renovation that included a reduction in the CTC’s overall seating capacity to 18,694 from 19,153 to make way for a premium seating area and new luxury boxes.

Separately, Melnyk said ticket sales for the outdoor game against the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 16 at TD Place have been brisk.

"This is probably the most excited I've been ever as an owner of the team," Melnyk said. "There's just so much going on."

– With files from OBJ staff