The 819, 200 square foot, $614 million facility replaces Rexall Place, home to the Edmonton Oilers since 1974.
Rogers Place is almost twice as large as Rexall and it’s expected to wow spectators with wide seats, open concourses, and a
giant, high-definition scoreboard — the largest in the NHL — that spans blue-line to blue-line.
Between the lower and upper bowls are exclusive rings of executive suites, theatre suites and loge seats.
At the far end are a sports bar and an after-hours-type club. Between the blue-lines in the lower bowl are wider club seats, with exclusive lounge access.
The arena can seat over 18,000 people at hockey games and over 20,000 for concerts. Over half of the seats are in the lower bowl.
The arena also has over 1,200 TVs, access to Wi-Fi and a Rogers Place app.
Anticipation to see the new facility is high: over 50,000 free tickets to Saturday’s open house have been claimed. So much so, that an extra hour of tour time was added.
Ticket prices are higher than Rexall Place, in some cases double for a similarly located seat. A season ticket in the corner nosebleeds is $2,600. Sitting near the boards near centre ice for the year will cost $9,765.
If you want to sit in the area by the rail with a drink in your hand for the season, that will be $15,750, please.
There will be multiple art installations, including the three-metre high bronze statue of Wayne Gretzky hoisting the Stanley Cup, which had been in front of Rexall Place.
The food is varied and rises to the high end: butter chicken curry, bison burger, perogy nachos, organic red beet and frisee salad, hot rum buns.
With so many people in the area, parking is a major concern. While the city would prefer people take transit, there are 12,000 parking stalls within a 10-minute walk of Rogers Place and there will be seven LRT stops within walking distance once the Valley Line is completed.
The city also changed the way on-street parking is handled during events – which means no more free parking after 6 p.m.
Starting at the beginning of this month, the City of Edmonton extended EPark hours of operation in the downtown area from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Rogers Place event nights. The rate will be $3.50 per hour from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Right now, the maximum time you’re allowed to park with EPark during the day is two hours. However, the city’s acting director of parking management said that will also change on event days so people can pay for five hours.
Thousands of people are expected at the arena during any given event, and with the expected influx of people in the downtown core, security is one of the biggest challenges facing the new arena.
Oilers Entertainment Group staff will operate a 24/7 security control room, and will have staff within the facility at all hours. About 300 full- and part-time security officers have been hired, although the number of guards on shift at any given time will depend on the size and scale of each event.
Edmonton police have also added 33 new officers to its downtown division, doubling the previous police presence in the area.