The Vancouver Giants have left the building. What now for the Pacific Coliseum?
'The Giants leaving will be a net zero loss to the PNE ... and a positive effect on our bottom line'
The Pacific Coliseum has a big hole in its schedule now that the Vancouver Giants are moving out and taking 36 dates with them to their new home in Langley.
But there is potentially good news for non-hockey fans: The team's departure will likely mean bigger profits for the PNE and the City of Vancouver-owned arena.
"The Giants leaving will be a net zero loss to the [PNE] corporation financially and will give us the flexibility to go after, or not turn away, more commercial business that will have a positive effect on our bottom line," said PNE spokeswoman Laura Ballance.
Tuesday, the Giants announced they were relocating to the Langley Events Centre, a venue with approximately one-third the Coliseum's 15,700 seating capacity. The Giants had called the Coliseum home since the team's inception in 2001.
Ballance said that despite the hockey team operating as a business, the PNE classified the Giants as an "amateur sport and community group," and were therefore happy to break even on the Coliseum lease.
She says there will be little problem filling the dates left open by their departure.
"The Coliseum is a tier-one sized venue and it's also one of the busiest in North America," she said. "Despite the 36 dates blocked for the Giants, we do between 120 and 150 event days per year. This will allow us to explore more partnerships like Disney On Ice, like Marvel Live, like a lot of of the trade and consumer shows that the Coliseum is the right size for."
Still, many hockey fans are worried the Giants' departure means the beginning of the end for the Pacific Coliseum which was the original home of the Vancouver Canucks when they joined the NHL in 1970.
"I know talking to many season ticket holders at the end of the last season, they will not be going to Langley," said Mark Westerburg, who is behind the @KeepGiantsatPNE Twitter campaign. "I think it is a very sad day for the City of Vancouver because I don't see a long-term life left for the Pacific Coliseum."
Don't think many east van or north shore fans will head to Langley since it would be too sad going past a great building to go LEC—@KeepGiantsatPNE
But Ballance says it doesn't make sense for the Giants to stay at the Coliseum, especially with the average attendance dropping to 5,000 per game last season.
"We are not in the business of subsidizing," she said. "We consider the Giants part of our family and part of our history and vice versa, but we're supportive them essentially right-sizing their venue to fit their business model."