It's over -- Pittsburgh will get an arena
Call Miracle Max because the "Penguins to KC" rumors may not be dead, but they are certainly "mostly dead."
Today, the Pittsburgh papers say that both Harrah's and Majestic Star agree to Plan B to fund Pittsburgh's new arena.
Leaders tout arena offer
All casino bidders pledge funds for arena
Both have pledged $7.5 million a year for 30 years toward construction of an arena. Mr. Onorato said both commitments are contingent on a company getting the state license to operate a casino and on the Penguins committing to staying in Pittsburgh.
In addition, Gov. Ed Rendell is prepared to advance $26.5 million in state money for site acquisition and preparation.
How did this all get started? Well, let me tell you a story. There was this hockey team. They played in the oldest and nearly the smallest arena in the NHL. Their lease on that building expires on June 30, 2007.
Well tie it up with a little bow and call it a present because that is when Kansas City's new arena will be ready, Fall 2007. The operators of KC's new arena said, "We could get an NHL team." An aggressive marketing group, NHL21, said "We could help lure an NHL team to KC." Sports fans thought this was great, because there is no NBA21 group working to bring us an NBA team, so this should work out swimmingly.
Then, the Pittsburgh Penguins entered into an agreement with Isle of Capri casinos. Isle of Capri is bidding for the one slots parlor license for the Pittsburgh area. To make their bid stronger they agreed to build the city of Pittsburgh a $290M arena in which the Penguins will play.
Only problem is that Isle of Capri is competing with the largest gaming company in the U.S., Harrah's. So, with all Harrah's, ahem, influence, it looks grim for Isle of Capri.
The Kansas City media took AEG and NHL21's word as gospel and said clever things things like March of (hockey) Penguins to KC?. Sam Fingold fed the fire by saying he'd move the Penguins to KC if he buys the team. He said this before he talked with Pittsburgh politicians about Plan B.
Enter the Governor of Philadelphia, err, Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell. He worked with Pittsburgh area politicians to come up with Plan B. It says Pittsburgh will get an arena with slots parlor revenue AND $7.5M per year for 30 years from whomever is awarded the slots license. The problem was that neither Harrah's nor Majestic Star agreed to the proposal at the time it was announced.
Some in KC still said, "We could get an NHL team". And, the Kansas City media ate it up with headlines like Penguins still may end up nesting here.
With yesterday's announcement, Harrah's and Majestic Star have agreed to Plan B. If Isle of Capri is awarded the slots license, they will build a $290M arena. If Harrah's or Majestic Star is awarded the slots license, they will kick in money for a $300M arena.
Folks, this is over. If an architect hasn't been chosen for Plan B, I'm sure Kansas City-based HOK Sports has their RFP group working overtime.
And, today, in the KC Star. Nothing. Leaving most Kansas City sports fans to believe there is still a chance that the NHL will come to KC. Oh well, that's why I have this blog, so the few readers I have know.