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On the Street

New venues at the Hub on Causeway want sports fans to come early, and leave late

The newly-renovated TD Garden is nearing completion, as work continued on the Garden itself.
The newly-renovated TD Garden is nearing completion, as work continued on the Garden itself. Lane Turner/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Later this fall, when $100 million in upgrades to TD Garden are finished, you’ll be able to stand at a long bar with a killer view of Boston Harbor. And if you turn around, you can watch the hockey game seven stories below — live.

This is Rafters Club, the conversion of a little-used floor at the very top of the Garden into high-end hang space for Bruins and Celtics fans. It’s one of several snazzy additions the Garden’s owner, Delaware North, will unveil this season, all designed to make the quarter-century-old arena as much a place to go out with your friends as a place to watch a game.

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“We think that’s the future,” said TD Garden’s president, Amy Latimer. “People want to be here, in the building, part of it all — but not necessarily in a fixed seat.”

That’s a big part of the thinking behind the 60,000 square feet of space the Garden was able to add as part of the massive Hub on Causeway project next door. There are expanded concourses with huge bars and big-screen TVs; roomier club areas, in various price tiers, for those who might want to entertain while they take in a game; and food upgrades, with more food-truck fare and “signature cocktails” to supplement Garden staples like pizza and Bud Light.

All of it is built around the idea that the Garden, which hosts roughly 200 events a year, can be more than just a place where you sit and watch sports.

“We want people to come early,” Latimer said. “And we want them to stay late.”

Delaware North

A rendering depicts rafter-level seating and club areas on the 9th floor of TD Garden, part of the arena’s expansion.

A rendering depicts rafter-level seating and club areas on the 9th floor of TD Garden, part of the arena’s expansion.

Of course, boosting “dwell time,” as Latimer calls it, is also a way to boost revenue. Food and drink are key to a modern stadium’s bottom line, and many sports teams are experimenting with new ways to capture concession revenue, from the Red Sox’s ever-more-elaborate bar areas at Fenway Park to the Golden State Warriors, who last year sold passes for $100 a month that let fans simply hang out in the concourse during games and buy $12 beers. The Rafters Club is a higher-end take on the same concept. For $1,600 a year, fans can buy a membership, allowing them to then buy “access passes” to individual games.

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And as half-owner of the broader Hub on Causeway complex, Delaware North has even more ways to turn a night at the arena into a big event. The street-level food hall can host pregame noshing, for instance. The concert venue will hold before-and-after parties for big shows at the Garden. And Charlie Jacobs, the CEO of Delaware North’s Boston Holdings, envisions fans heading to the enormous new Banners sports bar just to soak in the game night buzz, tickets or no.

“People come for that tribal experience of being at the game,” he said. “Even if they’re not in the building.”

The ProShop is in the Hub on Causeway project.
The ProShop is in the Hub on Causeway project. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Tim Logan can be reached at tim.logan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.