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New Club, Luxury Seating, Video Scoreboard, Concessions Among Changes to Venue
LOWELL, Mass. ߝ When fans come to the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell for the first home hockey game of the season on Friday, Oct. 22, they can expect a vastly different experience.
A new, 18,000-pound video scoreboard now hangs over center ice. Seventy padded, leather-backed seats will provide comfort for lucky fans who purchased premium tickets for the hockey season or will do so for upcoming events. The luxurious new, 4,800-square-foot Lowell Cooperative Bank Pavilion offers a prime view of the action, whether for sports or entertainment events, among comfortable seating, paneled walls and plasma TVs. A new sound system equipped with 60 speakers is in place throughout the arena, along with cameras to feed images to the scoreboard. Over at Rowdy’s Roadhouse Café, there will be authentic barbecue made on the premises and other concessions will feature freshly made burritos, local favorite Sal’s Pizza, the same all-beef hot dogs made famous at Fenway Park along with new additions to the beverage selection.
Those are just a few of the extensive changes unveiled today by UMass Lowell at a special event for more than 200 hockey season-ticket holders and guests at the Tsongas Center. Visitors sampled a selection of the new concessions and catering menus, while touring the new pavilion, function rooms, Hall of Fame Sports Gallery site and viewing the new scoreboard’s capabilities.
Chancellor Marty Meehan welcomed those attending the event. “As you see the tremendous improvements to the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, it is clear that this is the start of realizing the true potential of this building, for campus life and the community overall,” he said. “With the new technology and the wide range of amenities, this venue is now equipped to take its place as the best in the region when it comes to entertainment, sports and events of all kinds, from those for families to those for our students. We are excited about what this means for the future of the university and the community.”
While UMass Lowell’s Division I hockey team will play at the facility, the new Tsongas Center experience will feature much more. Upcoming events include Bob Dylan on Saturday, Nov. 20 (tickets go on sale on Friday); “Riverdance on Ice” on Saturday, Oct. 16; Grammy nominee Drake on Tuesday, Oct. 26; and “Disney Live: Mickey’s Magic show!” on Sunday, Nov. 28. Sports will be featured at events including the Atlantic 10 women’s basketball championship and the state high-school boys’ basketball tournament in March, as well as regional cheerleading competitions and figure-skating exhibitions. Watch for more upcoming events on www.uml.edu/tsongascenter.
“This is just the start of building a full and diverse schedule of events here at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell through our partnership with our new management company, Global Spectrum,” said Director of Athletics Business Enterprises Peter Casey, who oversees the center’s operations for UMass Lowell. “We will be capitalizing on the availability of additional dates with bookings that will appeal to all interests.”
Catering will also be available throughout the Tsongas Center both at scheduled events, as well as for meetings and other occasions. All are being offered by Aramark, which is the new food and beverage provider at the center and recently extended its contract to serve all university dining locations.
UMass Lowell acquired the former Tsongas Arena in February, changing its name and immediately refocusing the venue on becoming the region’s premier location for sports, entertainment and events for families, business professionals and more.
After taking over the $24 million facility, UMass Lowell engaged in a first round of renovations that included new exterior signs advertising the facility and directing the public around the city and the university; the addition of 400-foot-long electronic fascia boards, or “ribbons,” around the arena’s seating area; and interior changes that include new banners and other branding to give the facility a fresh look. The center also features a new permanent, interactive exhibit on the life and legacy of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas, for whom the venue is named.
The university has committed to up to $5 million in capital improvements to the center, financed through the UMass Building Authority that include work on the interior and exterior of the structure and the acquisition of adjacent parking lots to improve access and convenience for visitors to the Tsongas Center.
UMass Lowell, with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. The university offers its 14,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. www.uml.edu.