Boston Bruins, NHL Arenas, TD Garden, The Business of Hockey

Boston Bruins Seating Changes Creating Problems for Players and Fans

The Delaware North Group that owns both the Boston Bruins and their home arena TD Garden is completing a major $100-million expansion on the arena.

The 50,000 square foot expansion has encompassed many areas of the venue including the upper and lower bowl seating. Boston’s iconic Black and Gold seats had been replaced with an all-black look that has visually earned mixed reviews with fans and players alike. The black and yellow was what fans had grown accustomed to and matched the color scheme of the Bruins.

On the player side of things, there has been initial trouble seeing the puck when it is up in the air.

Putting all of that aside, the main question fans want to know is the comfort level of the seats. How much room they have from a width and a length perspective and things of that nature. Unfortunately for Bruins fans, the early reviews are rather negative.

To add 500 or so seats to the lower and upper bowl,it appears the legroom has taken a hit. The tweet below which was taken during a Bruins preseason game illustrates the legroom problem. Others have also turned in similar opinions of the seating issues at TD Garden.

Other Changes at Bruins’ Home Arena

The Bruins have been playing in TD Garden for 23 years after they demolished the original Boston Garden. This renovation announcement came back in Nov. 2018 and was expected to take two years.

TD Garden Boston Bruins
TD Garden arena, Boston Bruins (Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

Withroughly one year in the books, the seating changes are just one of the changes already completed. Other completed projects on the renovation include an expansion of the garage underneath the arena, a redesigned entranceway that gives TD Garden a dedicated entrance, 4K scoreboard, new premium club, and boardroom expansion.

Several other amenities are set to take effect by the end of the 2019 calendar year. One of the standout new additions is called Rafters, a seating option on Level 9 of the arena with 400 seats looking right over the top of the arena. The Rafters and its group option Rafter Studios is set to open in November.

Other year-end additions include a bar with barstools behind the last row of the balcony, a two-story pregame club called 1928 Club, a high-end bar and grill, and general concourse improvements on both Level 4 and Level 7.

All a Part of the Larger Plan

These in-arena renovations are separate from the adjacent project, The Hub on Causeway. The Hub on Causeway is a multi-year project on the lot adjacent to the Garden featuring over one million square feet of office, retail, residential, and entertainment space. The site itself sits on the lot the original Boston Garden occupied before its destruction.

Boston Bruins
Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins leaves the ice after warming up for Game Four of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Overall the Bruins owned Delaware North hopes to make TD Garden a space where people can work, live, eat, and have fun all under one roof. The Hub on Causeway’s price tag comes in at $1.1 billion and adding on the in-arena upgrades the total price tag comes to $1.2 billion.

Bruins Should Have Contemplated Seat Shortfalls

Can I harp on the Bruins for adding more seats to TD Garden? Honestly no, teams have been doing this since sports charged for tickets. But that being said the comfort of fans is paramount, and, based on the early read, the Bruins may be in for a year of complaints.

Related: Bringing Back NHL Arena Nicknames

But the primary shortfall in this seating “upgrade” is the fact that it is creating challenges for players on the ice. Delaware North who owns the Bruins should have foreseen black seats being a problem when tracking a black puck in the air. That being said since the Bruins are indeed the home team this could give them a slight edge against their opponents. At some point the players will adjust to the seat color change and come up with ways to track it with more ease.

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