Edmonton Oilers fans flock to the Ice District Plaza


More than 30,000 people flocked to the square during the team’s playoffs.Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers’ run to the Western Conference Finals is the club’s deepest playoff push under the ownership of Daryl Katz, who bought the club in 2008 with plans to move to a new arena in downtown Edmonton.

Rogers Place opened in 2016 as the crown jewel of what would become a new 25-acre mixed-use development known as the Ice District. This spring, the area’s 50,000-square-foot plaza has become a central part of the fan experience for thousands of Oilers fans reveling in the team’s success and the opportunity to reunite after two years of pandemic isolation.

Ice District Plaza was first opened to fans as an access route to the arena in 2019. Plans to use the area as a public event space, however, were put on hold for more than two years due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Last year, with fans finally allowed to return inside Rogers Place for the start of the 2021-22 season, the Oilers moved forward with the installation of three digital media towers in the square, each carrying two 12ft by 20ft LED. screens, PA audio equipment, ambient and theatrical lighting, and broadcast camera platforms and connectivity. These complement a massive LED panel outside the arena’s large Ford Hall atrium.

With the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs in early May, the club finally welcomed fans to the Ice District Plaza for the first Ford Tailgate Party. The team’s inaugural outdoor event for Game 1 of the first round drew just over 2,000 people to the square, but crowds grew to over 6,000 for home games, filling the area to capacity. ability. Since then, the Oilers have also begun opening up the square for road games, for which they attract around 3,000 fans in addition to those watching inside the arena.

In Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against Colorado, the team welcomed a total of over 30,000 fans to the plaza this postseason. Although admission is free, the Oilers take advantage of the presence of four local food trucks onsite, serving liquor at bars throughout the space and selling merchandise from a tent in the plaza. It also created additional sponsorship inventory and digital screen advertising.

“Even with all the infrastructure we have to put in place, the bands we’ve had to hire and everything we do, it’s a profitable side of our business,” said Stuart Ballantyne, president and director of the operation of the Quartier des Glaces and Place Rogers. He declined to release specific revenue figures.

The Oilers’ use of the Ice District Plaza is a classic example of how NHL and NBA teams with arenas located in entertainment districts take advantage of outdoor space to accommodate more fans and generate additional revenue. The Tampa Bay Lightning continue to greet fans at Ford Thunder Alley outside Amalie Arena this postseason as they chase their third straight Stanley Cup.

In addition to watch parties, Ballantyne said the square will be used for a wide range of events, including public ice skating, festivals and concerts.


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