Sports Outside the Beltway

Pennsylvania Governor Attempts to Block Penguins Move

Looks like Governor Ed Rendell is going to attempt to get the NHL to do his dirty work.

Gov. Ed Rendell says he will turn to the National Hockey League to prevent the Pittsburgh Penguins from moving, one day after the team said it had reached an impasse in negotiations with state, county and local officials to finance a new arena.

“The governor believes we have put an exceptionally attractive offer on the table,” according to a statement released by Rendell’s office. Later in the day, Rendell told reporters, “If they don’t take it, we’re going to be up in New York asking the NHL to bar the Penguins from moving.”

Unfortunatly for Rendell it isn’t like the Penguins are breaking any lease with the City of Pittsburgh because the Penguins lease agreement with the 46 year old Mellon Arean expires June 30th. Yes expires, they aren’t breaking contract, they are fulfilling it and then looking to do what is best for their business. The City of San Francisco threaten the same plan of action, pass an ordinace preventing the team from moving to a stadium outside of the city. However, a new agreement was reached before their stupidity could be put into law. Rendell is doing nothing except trying to strong arm the Penguins into staying in Pittsburgh.

Unfortunatly no new arena has been started as of yet. Even if the city had accepted the penguins offer to pay $120 million over 30 years toward a new $290 million arena and to cover any cost overruns, they still would be stuck at least three more years in this building:

Mellon Arena

Meanwhile taking Kansas City’s offer of free rent and half of all revenues if they agree to play in the soon-to-be-completed $262 million Sprint Center:

Sprint Center

I don’t see much of a choice. Kansas City gives the Penguins Ownership a brand new arena and an excellent business opporunity. While Pittsburgh would cost the team more money if anything were to happen, but nothing so far has shown it will be happenng. Knowing other offers have been made, the Penguins Ownership and Pennsylvania Officials have not been able to reach an agreement.

Now all of this posturing by both sides may end up forcing a deal, but what irks me the most is that government officials will sit their and strong arm a private business. Even if that business has been following the law and living up to a contact, a govenor will use his position get his way because he doesn’t like the choices a business owner makes. No matter what you think about where the Penguins should play, attempting to use politcal office to strong arm a private business, who has violated no law, has no place an any of the negotiations.

Update (8:30 AM): Apparently Penguins Officials are in Las Vegas today meeting with possible suitors in that city. There is no new areana but currently the Orleans Hotel and Casino is used by the Las Vegas Wranglers an ECHL (Think Double A Baseball) team. In addition the MGM Grand has the ability to play hockey as it is used for the Frozen Fury every preseason. Of course there is no shortage of money in Vegas for a new arena.

See Also: Penguins Arena Talks At Impasse, Kansas City Penguins (Part II), Kansas City Penguins?, Will AEG’s Kansas City Gamble Pay Off?, Pittsburgh Penguins Meeting to Discuss Future of Arena, Penguins Sale In Jeopardy?”

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