DETROIT (WWJ) — While there appeared to be plenty of open seats during last night’s Red Wings opener at Little Caesars Arena, Olympia Entertainment officials considered it a great night.
CEO and President of Olympia Entertainment Tom Wilson reflected on Thursday night’s opener at the brand new Little Caesars Arena, considering it an “amazing” facility with virtually nothing of it not living up to expectation.
“It’s such an amazing building and such a different building that I think you’d have to come five or six times, and even then you will not have experienced everything here,” Wilson said. “The memorabilia is great and you have to sort of just stand and look at that. Around every corner you sort of find something that you hadn’t seen before or just stare and take it all in.”
For those watching at home, it was evident throughout the night that there were a number of empty seats in the lower bowl despite it being a close game. Wilson addressed that issue, and actually didn’t consider it much of a worry for the organization.
Wilson didn’t consider this to be an issue because fans are simply still exploring the building. He said with so many options of food and entertainment offered it was understandable that there were empty seats, and expects that to change over time.
“It was really interesting because everyone was in their seats when we dropped the puck, and you just expect that’s going to happen,” Wilson said. “Now, we do have clubs here and people sometimes go back into the clubs to have something to eat. Then they come out when the period starts, but boy people really disappeared last night, and during the second period they started coming back.”
Wilson added that it may take two or three visits to the new arena before people become more focused on the game and less about the facility.
Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill also weighed in on the empty seats during the second period, pointing out that he thought concessions and the concourse played a role in that.
“I think the beginning of the 2nd period lots of people were checking out the concourse, so we have to work on that,” Blashill said.
The Red Wings beat the Minnesota Wild, 4-2, in last night’s season opener. The Red Wings won’t return home to Little Caesars Arena until Oct. 16 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.