won't out of town buyers be looking into the franchise over the summer??
The Pens can begin actively shopping the franchise in either June or July, methinks. Up to this point, they've only been able to field calls coming in about the franchise (they have not been allowed to solicit bids on it, but they could talk to a potential buyer if the buyer came to them).
I still think we'll be OK. The sales of these teams take a LONG time to work out (as much as 6-8 months to completely go through, I think) because there is so much to negotiate. Plus they have to get league approval, blah blah blah. And I have to think that no prospective buyer is going to be really serious until they know what's going to happen with the arena.
These developments today seem to make it probable that the arena will be built here and the team will stay here. There are some deals that have to be ironed out with Plan B - lease agreements, ownership of the arena, distribution of revenues, etc. But a lot of this stuff concerning Plan B can and almost certainly will be negotiated to present a very favorable arena deal for any prospective buyer (from what I understand, the lease agreements on some of these other arenas aren't exactly attractive deals).
The best way to go is still the IoC plan, hands down. But it's sounding more and more like Plan B is going to become an acceptable alternative. The above details concerning Plan B will have to be ironed out and released within the next few months, and I'm sure the Penguins will comment on them once they've had an opportunity to look at them and talk them over with the IoC representatives. The Pens could very well continue to stand behind the IoC plan, but agree to accept Plan B as an alternative if and only if the IoC bid doesn't win the license. IoC gave the Pens permission to speak with local officials about preliminary discussions concerning the viability of Plan B as an alternative, and there should be ways that this can be worked out between IoC and the Pens.