Granted, with a new arena, the Pens are going to have their best revenue potential ever (which would be a team's main reason for leaving, low revenues), but, I'll use an extreme example that would never happen.
Pens win IOC, a new arena gets built, but thousands of fans boycott games in protest of an arena built close to the Hill District. Capacity is only 50%, and the Pens are losing more money than they did in Mellon Arena.
With what the NHL was supposedly proposing, the new owner has to sit back and lose money, and has no chance to move the team. Further, they have the potential to have the NHL step in and take over the team, killing the chance for a profitable future sale.
I know you said this is an extreme example that would never really happen, so I'm not harping on this. Plain and simply, thousands of fans won't protest an arena/slots parlor near the Hill because most of those protesting likely don't give a damn about the Pens as it is.
But I'll add this...compared with what he could've had either under the IoC plan OR under a very favorable lease negotiated under Plan B, Balsillie was bound to lose some money on the deal if he moved anyway. On top of all the costs associated with physically relocating the assets of the organization, startup costs at the new destination and possibly paying out indemnification rights to certain markets,...
- ...if he moved the team to KC, he would be bound by a lease at the Sprint Center that's already drawn up and already directs some of the revenue streams to AEG, the arena manager. And there was the matter of moving to a very unknown, uncertain market.
- ...if he moved the team to Hamilton, he'd lose money by bearing the costs to upgrade Copps Coliseum to at least minimum NHL standards, and then lose more money by staying in Copps permanently or waiting a few years for Hamilton to build a new arena.
- ...if he moved to Winnipeg, he'd have to add seats to an arena that only seats 15,000 for hockey right now and likely add luxury boxes. He'd bear those costs.
- ...if the moved the team to Kitchener/Waterloo...you know what, I'm not even going to discuss Kitchener/Waterloo because plain and simply, there was no place for that team to play next year. The only arena in Kitchener is the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium where the OHL Rangers play, and that doesn't even seat 6,000. Kitchener/Waterloo was a pipe dream thought up by people who simply took the facts that Balsillie is loaded and that he's from that area, put two and two together and tried to rationalize that he'd move the team there and essentially fund a new arena out of the goodness of his heart. It doesn't happen and even if it did, he couldn't do it in less than eight months.