Bell MTS Place – Winnipeg Jets
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MTS Centre NHL Style
Since it opened in 2004, the MTS Centre has been consistently one of the busiest arenas in North America. In addition to professional hockey, the MTS Centre also hosts a wide variety of entertainment options. According to their website, the MTS Centre hosts more than 140 events a year and is one of the busiest arenas in Canada. Concerts this year include Eric Church, Rihanna, Guns ‘n Roses, The Lumineers, Weezer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and Bruno Mars just to name a few.
Amongst all of these concerts and other events, the MTS Centre’s main tenants for hockey season are the NHL.s Manitoba Moose and the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. Hosting two professional hockey teams, True North Sports and Entertainment has continued to put money back into the building to improve the fan experience. During the summer of 2016 another significant round of renovations were completed to go with the previous years $12 million improvements. The latest additions aim to improve the fans experience from their seats. Brand new seats were installed in the entire arena. True North also removed the old wire mesh and metal post handrails and replaced them with seamless glass to improve sight lines. These renovations provided approximately 1,500 seats with a more comfortable seat to enjoy the game.
When one walks in to the MTS Centre, the new seating is immediately noticeable. Gone are the original green seats that the building opened with. Now, the whole arena fits the Jets colour scheme with Winnipeg Jets polar night blue seat cushions. When one sits in the seats for the first time, there is a noticeable difference in the height of the seats and the firmness of the cushion.
A nice touch has been added in the upper deck where sections 330 and 301 meet. The True North Notch has been added by installing Winnipeg Jets hornet silver seat cushions. Atop the notch on the wall is a plaque indicating that the notch points to True North. Worth a quick visit and photo if you are visiting MTS Centre!
Fans attending a game at MTS Centre should arrive early to soak in the atmosphere and partake in the variety of food options available. Reservations can be made in advance for a pregame meal at the Observation Deck Bar and Buffet. Fans may also want to mingle and meet up with friends in the Portage Avenue atrium. This meeting area continues to be open to fans from both the lower and upper bowls during intermissions as well. There are some food options available here too, but mostly people use it as a place to meet.
Inside the arena, the Jets game day production is second to none. There is never a break in the entertainment and there are lots of interactive opportunities for fans to enjoy. Fans can make song requests this year by using the #JetsJams hashtag to suggest music to be played during stoppages in play.
Located in downtown Winnipeg, MTS Centre’s location gives patrons plenty of parking options. Portage Place, Cityplace, the Millennium Library and the new Alt Hotel all offer parkade parking in the direct vicinity of the MTS Centre. Lots of other options exist that allow fans to use and access the MTS Centre through the extensive indoor walkway system that exists downtown. Fans can park as far away as the Richardson Building at Portage and Main and walk indoors to the MTS Centre – important for many during Winnipeg’s winter!
Pre-game options include the Exchange Restaurant and Beer Market located on the Event Level of MTS Centre. The Exchange is open 90 minutes before puck drop and is a good spot to meet before, during or after the game.
Food & Beverage 5
Once inside MTS Centre for the game, there are many options for those looking to grab some food and beverages. Food options range from regular arena fare (burgers, dogs, pretzels, pizza, fries, etc.) at several locations around the concourse to favourites like Pizza Pizza, Tim Hortons, Moxies, and Local 204 which features local food like Granny’s poultry products. The Wrap Around features wraps for $13 (including beverage). Fans can choose from pork souvlaki, chicken shawarma or falafel and fill their wrap with a variety of fixings.
Options abound at MTS Centre and even the hungriest of fans will be able to fill up on good quality food. From carved beef, pulled pork, and poutine to the usual fare of burgers, dogs, smokies, and fries there are many options for even the hungriest of fans. If you are really hungry, try the Jumbo Jet Dog – an MTS Centre feature and fan favorite.
The Jumbo Jet Dog is a very large hot dog that will run you $9.75, but will fill you up – if you can finish it! You may want to share this one with a friend. It is also available in a combo (add chips and a soft drink) for $15.50. In addition to the regular toppings, additional toppings available are what make this a monster. Bacon bits, pierogie pieces, chili or nacho cheese are available for an extra $1.50 each. Try the pierogie pieces and if you are not worried about spilling on your jersey, go for the nacho cheese and chili!
Most concessions will run you about $10 – $15 for an “arena meal.” Beverage prices range from $4 for bottled water, $5.75 for a bottled pop (fountain drinks are $5.50 and $6) while beer is $8.75 for a regular domestic can and $9 for a premium can. A 17oz draft will run you $9.75. Concession information is available on the MTS Centre website where you can open a document with maps of both concourses that details the concessions available.
Serious fans can hit the Fan Guide on the Jets’ website to learn all the details about just about everything prior to heading to a game!
The atmosphere at MTS Centre can be one of the best in the league. Fans are loud and proud – perhaps even rabid – when their team is winning. This season the atmosphere has been quieter as the Jets have struggled to compile the wins. For this reason, games this year have seen a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere. So much so that this year’s review only ranks four stars for atmosphere.
Once the game gets heated, however, the fans can quickly ramp up their enthusiasm. On a good night, this atmosphere can be first experienced with the arrival of the Jets on the ice, giving them a loud round of applause followed by the first Go! Jets! Go! chant prior to the singing of the anthems. This continues during the anthem(s) when the building does the “True North” shout out during O Canada. This started in the first season the Jets were back as an acknowledgement and thank you to True North Sports and Entertainment who brought the NHL back to Winnipeg.
Popular pre and postgame spots around MTS Centre include Tavern United on Graham Ave., Boston Pizza Cityplace, Yellow Dog Tavern on Donald St., the Shark Club in Cityplace and the Metropolitan on Donald right across from MTS Centre. This recently renovated attraction boasts a massive screen, dining and comfort for those that want to pregame, postgame or catch a game when the Jets are on the road. Don’t forget about the pregame options available inside of MTS Centre. Both the Exchange Restaurant and the Observation Deck take reservations so you can plan ahead.
While options abound for the pregamers, MTS Centre’s central downtown location makes for easy access and lots of options. Traffic before and after a game is never really an issue as there are many routes in and out of the downtown area. Winnipeg’s SHED (Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment District) is beginning to provide lots of options for fans and visitors alike. True North Square is being built adjacent to the MTS Centre and will become home to office space, residential space, hotels and meeting places for fans heading to an event at MTS Centre.
Jets fans blow the criteria for the FANFARE scale out of the water. Fans can be heard reacting to penalty calls, chanting the opposition goalie’s name, creating unique and intelligent chants and, of course, cheering on their team as loudly as they can. Fans are knowledgeable about their home team and about the opposing team as well. The fans at MTS Centre create a one of a kind atmosphere making the overall experience special. Fans will be decked out in their home blue Jets jerseys so be sure to consider the Jets Gear Store in MTS Centre or head to St. Vital Centre or Polo Park mall to purchase some Jets merchandise if you want to look the part.
Jets fans are knowledgeable and are there to support their team, as well as give the opposing team a hard time. Chanting the opposition goalie’s name is common. Fans also often select a visiting player to boo any time he touches the puck. Chants of “Go! Jets! Go!” are frequent throughout a game, usually starting in the upper deck and making their way down and throughout the arena.
If you are a fan who likes to cheer and get involved, get some seats in sections 309 – 315 as this is where many chants often originate. The upper deck is a more festive atmosphere than the lower bowl at MTS Centre. If you really want to participate in the game and have fun, grab some seats in the 300 level. If you are more of a sit and watch the game type of person, go for seats in the 100 or 200 levels.
Access to MTS Centre is easy. Situated on Winnipeg’s famous Portage Avenue between Donald and Hargraeve, the MTS Centre is easy to get to and easy to get home from after a game as well. It’s a remarkable change for anyone who ever saw a game at the old Winnipeg Arena. One need not leave early from the game to beat the traffic. Fans can stick around to the last whistle and enjoy every moment of the game. MTS Centre is connected to Winnipeg’s extensive downtown indoor walkway system so fans can park, leave jackets in the car and wear only their jerseys to the game while walking indoors.
Return on Investment 4
Prices at MTS Centre are what one would expect for an NHL arena. Fans will pay more on site for food than elsewhere so a pregame visit to a downtown restaurant or bar is a good option. The overall return on investment is decent. An evening at the game for two with food, beverage and parking will run you around $160 for the cheapest seats and upwards of $375 for the most expensive. Of course, seats range in price depending on the opposition.
Games are grouped into an A, B or C and prices vary depending on this classification. Getting a ticket is another venture. Tickets are released on game days, with Wait List members having first crack at the available seats. This building is generally sold out with season ticket holders claiming the majority of available seats. Now in their sixth season, the availability of Jets tickets is increasing and there are more seats available on game days than there have been in the past. Visitors coming to a game should check the Jets Seat Exchange. Ticket information is available here on the Jets website or with our ticket partner, Ticket Monster.
There are several bonus points at MTS Centre. The facility itself is well thought out. Now entering its second decade, the building looks remarkably new thanks to constant renovations and additions. The views are good no matter where you sit. More renovations are planned for the summer of 2017 and promise to bring a whole new look to the concourses. The aviation theme of steel and rivets will be carried out along with the Jets’ colors to transform the current look of the concourses.
The large HD scoreboard scores bonus points for MTS Centre as well. It is easy to see from anywhere in the arena bowl. Be sure to get to your seat early enough to watch the Jets game day production team’s build up to puck drop. From historic video clips to game intro videos and highlights, the features prior to the game are worth watching.
Bonus points go to the MTS Centre’s loge seating. If you are lucky enough to land a ticket here or know someone who has one, you are in for a treat. This recent addition hangs off the upper deck and provides one of the best views in MTS Centre. Like a small private box, seating is roomy and comfortable and includes a small counter in front for your food and beverages which is perfect if you are going to attempt to chow down on a Jumbo Jet Dog.
The largest bonus points go to the Jets fans at MTS Centre. Players appreciate playing here and they hear the fans loud and clear as the building’s design has the fans sitting right over top the ice surface. As loud as it may seem to a fan in the stands, it is louder for a player on the ice.
Fans are knowledgeable and engaged. Reactions from the fans are quick, loud and smart. An opposing player who makes a mistake is often the target of sarcastic cheers. Good plays are quickly acknowledged by applause. Anything from a blocked shot to a nice move or even a smart move on a penalty kill are quickly acknowledged by the crowd. Fans appreciate skill and good hockey. Even opposing players will receive respectful, appreciative applause from time to time.
Fans at MTS Centre clearly enjoy the game and enjoy being a part of it. Any visitor to the MTS Centre for the first time will tell you that the fans make the experience at MTS Centre. Fans are welcoming and are always happy to make visiting fans feel welcome, especially if they are cheering for the home team.
While small in size, MTS Centre has all the amenities sports fans could want. Washroom facilities are clean, accessible and easy to find. A large selection of food options exist on all concourses, and there are plenty of TV monitors so you do not miss any of the action while running to the concourse for concessions. The latest round of renovations also included the installation of 350 HD LED monitors throughout the concourses and in the arena bowl itself.
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