Garden Fresh: MSG Transformation on Track

Madison Square Garden is undergoing transformations to improve the atmosphere of the venue

(from Billboard Magazine, February 23, 2013) Madison Square Garden (MSG), the world’s most famous arena, is currently going through transformations in order to make the venue more accessible and current. In the past decade, the sports and entertainment industry has changed dramatically, which has allowed MSG to credit much of their success to revenues from suites, club seating, modern concessions, and sponsorships. Due to these changes, Madison Square Garden Entertainment (MSGE) wanted to focus on improving these areas that bring in such great revenue. MSGE was faced with the choice to move MSG to a new location, completely level the building and start from scratch, or to transform the venue itself. Choosing to undergo transformations, the $1 billion project has lasted three years and will be finished this fall.

Changes to MSG include a new Seventh Avenue entrance, upgraded concessions, wider concourses, more comfortable seating, lighting upgrades, LED video systems and sounds in high definition, a state-of-the-art scoreboard, and new suites, clubs and hospitality areas. MSG’s 58 Madison level suites are now 40% larger and 20 event level suites are now equipped with a better lounge and entertainment area and atmosphere.

The transformation would not have been possible unless financials lent their support for the project. This led to many opportunities for marketing partners. JPMorgan Chase is MSG’s first partner, along with Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Kia Motors America, Lexus, and Delta Air Lines, who have signed as “signature” partners.

Work on the venue has gone on year-round, but the majority of work takes place in the spring and summer of 2011, 2012, and this year. Melissa Ormond, President of MSGE, states, “Certainly the downside of having to come offline for 40%-45% of the year for three consecutive years is a big challenge. It means everyone’s schedules are compressed, and it also means we unfortunately can’t play every show we’d like to play.”

Despite not being able to accommodate all the shows they have wanted, MSGE is very optimistic about these changes, the results they will bring, and the satisfaction from fans, customers, artists, and others who visit once all changes are complete.