Friday, March 31, 2006

Good news for Penguins fans -- Bad news for Kansas City landing an NHL team

I told you Thursday was a big day.

It appears the Pittsburgh Penguins will not relocate to Kansas City or any other city. With Governor Ed Rendell's announcement yesterday, the Pittsburgh Penguins will stay in the Steel City regardless of whether the Penguins/IofC are awarded the slots parlor license.

The Penguins have a great plan for building a new arena in Pittsburgh. The plan involves private money from slots casino revenue funding a new multi-purpose arena in Pittsburgh.

But, what if the Penguins/IofC aren't awarded the slots license.

Now, there is a Plan B and, surprisingly, it's palatable.

Penguins officials react cautiously to Rendell's backup arena plan

Rendell's arena plan hinges on Pens, casinos

The governor's proposal would require annual debt payments of $18.56 million for 30 years. That money would include a voluntary $7.5 million annual contribution from whichever group receives the slots license; $7 million a year from the state new Gaming Economic Development and Tourism fund derived from slots revenue; $2.9 million a year from the Penguins'; and $1.1 million a year from naming rights and food and beverage sales at the arena.

"There is no free lunch, but with reasonable contributions from key players, this arena can be built with no taxpayer dollars," Rendell said.

Really a decent plan. The sports franchise that is the major tennant of the arena pays 17% of the cost of the arena. Relatively low by today's standards, but still seven percentage points higher than what the R's are putting in the Arrowhead/Kaufman renovation project.

And, granted, the other two casino companies have to approved their payments to the arena, but, all-in-all, this is a palatable plan for any municipality. I wish we could get our casinos to kick in some money for new/renovated stadiums.

So, what now?

Well, now another NHL team would have to desire a relocation. I supppose both Penguins plans could fall through, but, it seems, Pittsburgh, Alleghany County and Pennsylvania politicians are willing to find a way to get this done.

With the new CBA and hard $39 million cap, I simply don't see a team being so unprofitable that they would want to move.

I'll be very interested to hear what AEG has up their sleeve.
There is an opportunity to get into the AHL every year. AEG knows the AHL is a good product. They own the Manchester Monarchs, one of the most successful teams in the AHL.

Let's do it. The AHL is great hockey.


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