Thursday, December 29, 2011

Could the Boston Celtics Build a New Arena?

By Zach Baru

When Celtics ownership stopped by WEEI last week for an interview with Dale Arnold, an interesting moment occurred.  Arnold asked a question tweeted by a listener, “Are the Celtics interested in building their own arena?”  Even more interesting than the question, the response did not include a “yes” or a “no”.

So would the Celtics actually be interested in building their own arena?  Jeremy Jacobs and his Delaware North Companies own the Celtics’ home arena, TD Garden, as well as the Boston Bruins.  TD Garden is a tremendous asset for Jacobs, and one the Celtics do not benefit from.  Although the WEEI interview portrayed a very happy and healthy relationship between Jacobs and the Celtics, the benefits of owning their own arena are far too great not to speculate.

The chance of the Celtics actually pulling something like this off is slim, and we will probably see a new Fenway Park before a new Celtics arena.  But the idea of a franchise controlling all revenues from a major arena in a top 10 U.S. media market is one that shouldn’t be dismissed quickly. 

Celtics owners Steve Pagliuca and Wyc Grousbeck had nothing but praise for Jacobs and Delaware North when asked about their relationship, and the fact that they did not directly answer the question regarding arena plans is certainly not an indication that they have any such plans.  It seemed they were taken off guard with the question, and it was answered in a very predictable and careful manner.

Other than the benefit of being able to control various streams of basketball-related revenue, a newly built Celtics arena would create the opportunity to provide competition for major concerts in Boston.  TD Garden attracts many top artists each year, but does not provide good acoustics for concerts.  A new arena would create a new option for promoters looking for a large arena in Boston.

Given this economy, and limited options for an accessible location, a new arena in Boston is a far-fetched idea.  But certainly not one to completely disregard.

Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and reached at

1 comment: