the Penguins, and representatives of Spectacor met yesterday with City
of Pittsburgf official to discuss the possible sale of the Pens and the
impact such a sale would have on the city and county.
Baldwin and Belzberg are seeking to purchase the team from the Edward J.
DeBartolo Corp. Spectacor is seeking to take over operation of the Civic
Arena by buying out the terms of the Arena's lease between its owners,
The City of Pgh. and Allegheny County, and its tenant the Civic Arena
Corp. (Also owned by DeBartolo.) Mr. DeBartolo was asked to attend the
meeting, but did not show.
In purchasing the club and its management, the Baldwin and Spectacor
groups want the same arrangement that DeBartolo currently has with the city
and county. The current agreement has the Pens in the city through the
96-97 season, but if the Civic Arena's seating capacity becomesthe smallest
in the league, the team could be moved before the lease expires.(There
had been talk a few years earlier of DeBartolo building a new rink in
either Monroeville, PA or Cranberry, PA and moving the team there. Neither
city is in Allegheny County, whereas Pittsburgh is.)
The city and county want to alter that agreement. County commissioner
Tom Foerster wants the new owners and management group to commit to
keeping the Pens in Pittsburgh for the next 20 years. The city wants
to discuss such things as division of parking revenues and development rights
to adjoining property before approving a lease transfer.
When asked by reporters if such demands would scotch the deal, Baldwin said
"I have no idea about any of that, except for the word "scotch"". In a
telephone interview from his Chicago office, Morris Belzberg attributed the
delay of the sale to terms that are "100 times more complicated" than buying
a house. He went on to say that the deal may be completed by the 15th of
this month, if nothing major crops up. "There's a tremendous amount of
paperwork and documentation, but so far everything is running smoothly."
It is possible to buy tickets to see the Pens this year. "There is a
misconception in the public's mind that we have sold out for the season
with just season ticket holders" said Tinsey Labrie, the Pens V-P of Marketing.
The Pens have sold 14,000 partial and full season ticket packages this year.
As with last year, tickets are on sale in 10 game blocks. The first block
went on sale Tues., Oct. 1st. But ticket availability does depend on how
many partial season ticket holders purchased tickets for a particular game.
Labrie said that the partials are not buying some of the early weeknight
games. Also, tickets are expected to be more plentiful in the early
part of the season.