Friday, July 14, 2006

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.


At 11:56 AM, Anonymous dale said...

and i read it at least a few times per week...thanks for the sobering update...i don't read the kc star, so i get my hockey and sprint center updates from you...thanks (with gas prices going out the wazoo the drives to omaha and des moines for hockey are going to be few and far between

At 11:59 AM, Anonymous dale said...

oh, and i forgot, wichita thunder hockey ain't too bad either!

At 6:03 PM, Blogger darin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6:03 PM, Blogger darin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6:04 PM, Blogger darin said...

I've been meaning to leave a comment for a while. While I'm no hockey fan, I love reading your blog and you seem to be the absolute best source for Sprint Center/hockey/basketball rumors and information. Thanks for the work you put in this. I would love to see NBA rather than NHL, but I have my doubts about the viability of either in this town.

At 11:03 PM, Blogger Max said...

I was beginning to get the idea that Pittsburgh would step it up if push came to shove.

So what's next? What is the next franchise to use us as a pawn in their hope to get a new arena? Or are we to focus on the AHL now?

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous UpperDeckJoe said...

I really don't see why someone is not on the ball to get Edmonton to re-activate their team-owned, idle AHL franchise and have them play here in KC!? I think it's already too late for the 2006-2007 campaign (the Oilers have suspended operations and have agreed to the cooperative thing with Calgary and the Iowa Stars). But hey, the 2007-08 season is only a year away, and Edmonton I think, would really like to get their own developmental team up and running again. Just a thought.

At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Mike Jacobi said...

kinda had a feeling KC wouldn't get the pens. oh well, like upperdeckjoe said, let's forget the NHL for now and start to focus on the AHL. Edmonton has one of the stronger farm systems, so we'd be getting a farm club that would be very competitive almost immediately. on a side note, Calgary has their prospects in Omaha and Des Moines is the top affiliate of the Dallas Stars(hence the name, Iowa Stars).


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