Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pens get ballpark figure for arena

Hold the phone. We don't WANT a NEW UPTOWN ARENA. We already have an arena uptown. The Civic Arena is ours. It is paid for. It is historic. Mario and the Pens would not be nearly as happy nor successful if they build a new UPTOWN Arena.
Pens get ballpark figure for arena - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review the deal Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are offering the Penguins would give them a new arena with team contributions similar to those made by the Steelers and Pirates for their North Shore stadiums.

Unlike those outdoor venues, an Uptown arena could make money for its operator throughout the year.

'I don't know why (the Penguins) are fussing so much about $3 million a year, if they can get the rental agreement the Steelers and Pirates have,' said Jake Haulk, president of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, a Castle Shannon think tank. 'A lot of this is just posturing.'
I want Mario and the Pens to thrive. I want the region to prosper. I don't want to be held hostage again in another five or ten years.

The Pens need to cut ties to the uptown location and built where there is an upside for the organizations bottom line.
Pittsburgh needs the Penguins to stay in order for a new arena to work, said Megan Dardanell, spokeswoman for Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato.
Exactly. But, if the Pens leave, the Civic Arena can still work. The Civic Arena is paid for. The Civic Arena can host NCAA Division I women's basketball, again. Duhh....

The Pens can build a new arena with corporate boxes, somewhere else. That will work for them. And, the civic arena can work for low-key events -- like graduation for local high schools.

Political leaders are willing to negotiate such things as the rights to concessions, parking and advertising, Onorato has said.
The Pens can have their own parking, concessions, advertising and condos with their own new arena out by the airport. Build it. Own it. Manage it. Do it.

If we bring in consultants for the deal with the Pens, as we had for the other two stadiums, it will be a sure sign that Onorato and Ravenstahl will not be re-elected. Those deals stunk. Those deals were not made public. Those deals are still the subject of great scorn.

The hype of PNC Park for the Pirates was that there would not be any game day tickets avialable for years into the future. It was smaller than Three Rivers Stadium and PNC Park was to be an on-going sell out. By the fourth game, there were tickets available. There were only five or so sold out games its first year. Seasons at Three Rivers Stadium have been much better attended than seasons at PNC Park. The Pirates suck. The deal for the citizens for the staduims is worse than the performance of the team on the field.

In the summer of 2006, the public treasury was raided again for an upgrade to Heinz Field. We build more seats in the stadium. We build more club box seats too. We, the public, did an upgrade for the Steelers and paid a big part of those improvements.

Why wasn't that reported?

We upgraded the Mellon Arena. We let the Pens keep the money for the naming rights to o. Remember the Blue Seats at the Arena? What a joke.

Bad deals of the past are behind us now. But let's not talk about doing them over again. The consultants and the political leaders struck poor deals for those venues. Let's not let this happen again.

The Pens -- as well as the Pirates and Steelers -- should all own their own venues. They should do the upgrades as they see fit, on their dime.

The Pens would have an easier time with competition for sponsors if the venue was out by the airport. Those who want to sponsor teams at Pitt would have some distance from those that want to sponsor the NHL's Pens.

All the non-sporting events that have income potential can go to the Pens, if they build their own arena.

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