Did Pitt spend all of the Penguins money?

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Did Pitt spend all of the Penguins money?

Postby Goalie on Sun Feb 26, 2006 1:16 pm

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06056/661130.stm

The Petersen Events Center construction was a joke from construction to completion. I am not putting all the blame on Pitt but they certainly shared in the ridiculous overspending that this project caused.

Lets remember now that this is two publically funded stadiums that have been built that Pitt's two highest profile teams play in. Obviously Heinz was built for the Steelers but Pitt benefits from the facility as well.
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Postby Draftnik on Sun Feb 26, 2006 3:17 pm

The $35M estimate was a scam to get approval for the project. We built an arena at MD that also opened in the fall of 02. It has more seats, ~ 17.9K total and more club seating/boxes than Pitt, but our estimate was $125M-$150M. There is no way Pitt's arena could have been realistically estimated to cost 25% of MDs.
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Postby pfim on Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:10 am

Draftnik wrote:The $35M estimate was a scam to get approval for the project. We built an arena at MD that also opened in the fall of 02. It has more seats, ~ 17.9K total and more club seating/boxes than Pitt, but our estimate was $125M-$150M. There is no way Pitt's arena could have been realistically estimated to cost 25% of MDs.


The $35 million price was the one quoted when the Convocation Center was first proposed in 1992, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume the price would go up 8 years later. When they broke ground on the project, they knew it would be over $80 million, and construction was managed by the state.

Deciding to tear down Pitt Stadium indirectly led to the cost overruns, as they almost doubled the size of the project because the plot of land they used was much bigger than the one originally chosen. The building proposed in 1992 was nothing like the one proposed in 1999. The building in 1992 actually had a larger seating capacity for basketball, but far fewer amenities for non-athletes.

The Pens blew it when the previous ownership(s) didn't get on the gravy train, it has little or nothing to do with Pitt.
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Postby Bowser on Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:20 am

Blaming this on Pitt is ridiculous, let's just blame Penn State for adding seats at their football stadium or building the Jordan Center.

that's right, JoePa is the reason the Pens don't have a new arena...

how's that for friggin stupidity
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Postby Goalie on Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:37 am

Bowser wrote:Blaming this on Pitt is ridiculous, let's just blame Penn State for adding seats at their football stadium or building the Jordan Center.

that's right, JoePa is the reason the Pens don't have a new arena...

how's that for friggin stupidity


Nowhere did I blame it on Pitt, the title of my post was meant to attract some attention thats it.

This is just another example of overspending that has gone on in the region and state and when you add everything up you can see why there is a lack of money in the region and what set the whole process in motion of the Penguins aligning with the IOC when they were told there was no public money left for an arena.

PFIM, called it the "gravy train" above and he is right the Penguins previous ownership should have jumped on. The gravy train has now run the area dry and we are left with this current situation now.
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Postby Bowser on Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:54 am

Goalie - I'm not going to argue with you about that. Howard Baldwin and Roger Marino royally screwed up by trying to play politics. Oh, there's a gravy train in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania, it is called lobbyist money.
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Postby bill from turtle creek on Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:46 am

I'm missing something here. Can you elaborate on the Baldwin/Marino playing politics? I always had thought Baldwin took the cash handout because he was going broke, so that's why he took it when he did.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:49 am

pfim wrote:The $35 million price was the one quoted when the Convocation Center was first proposed in 1992, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume the price would go up 8 years later. When they broke ground on the project, they knew it would be over $80 million, and construction was managed by the state.


Eight years the price triples? Where can I find an investment like that? I'll take 300% on my current 401K balance by 2014!

pfim wrote:Deciding to tear down Pitt Stadium indirectly led to the cost overruns, as they almost doubled the size of the project because the plot of land they used was much bigger than the one originally chosen. The building proposed in 1992 was nothing like the one proposed in 1999. The building in 1992 actually had a larger seating capacity for basketball, but far fewer amenities for non-athletes.


Exactly. That's one of the points made. Lowball the estimate to get acceptance and the over runs are paid for by who?

pfim wrote:The Pens blew it when the previous ownership(s) didn't get on the gravy train, it has little or nothing to do with Pitt.


Only so much pie to carve up. And it has as much to do with the Pete as it does with Heinze Field and PNC Park.

Having said all of that, this whole discussion is based on public funding of a new Arena. That by itself amazes me. Private funding is available.

You know the one point I don;t hear being made often enough is:

Lets assume that the Slots licensee doesn't fund a new Arena. Let's assume the Tax Payers are tapped out.

Who the heck is going to pay the upkeep on a 50 year old EMPTY arena?
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Postby Bowser on Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:00 pm

EPP - O'Connor's plan according to ESPN Radio's Tim Benz is wooing an NBA team to Pittsburgh. Then I heard the station's Tim Laird fill in on Sunday stating if Memphis can support an NBA team, so can Pittsburgh.

If the Penguins leave and no arena is built, the city of Pittsburgh will be in major trouble in five years because the revenue will stop coming in via Mellon Arena events like wrassling, truck pulls, figure skating shows, etc.

If local politicians think this city will support an NBA franchise, I might as well move now.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:08 pm

You bet Bowser, it's a joke to think this city will support an NBA franchise in it's current state.

If the IoC proposal is adopted. The redevelopment of the 'Lower Hill' / Melody Tent site, will offer Pittsburgh a "Renaissance III" type boast to the economy.

It is feasable, that a Pittsburgh with an upbeat economy, with a younger population and (Forgive me if this sounds racist) an improved economy in the Poor or 'economically challenged' areas of the 'Hill', Lower North Side, 25th Ward etc... could mean that an NBA team would be viable in the future.

But no way no how right now.

Can anyone name Pittsburghs professional basketball teams past and present?
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Postby Bowser on Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:16 pm

Pittsburgh Explosion is the current 'pro' team in town. They get 2200 fans according to a Sunday talk show caller that works for the team. I remember when Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson came to Pittsburgh and couldn't sell out Mellon Arena... or it was someone like that.

Even now, I don't think LeBron James could do it in the Burgh.

The argument that PITT basketball has proven to show a market for such a team is bunk. How many of those in crowd are PITT students and well-to-do alumni looking to be seen in the public?

On Sunday, I also heard them talk about local high school basketball and the crowds attracted to those games. Yeah, a bunch of family and friends attend those games paying nickles and dimes for gate prices.
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Postby pfim on Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:19 pm

Exactly. That's one of the points made. Lowball the estimate to get acceptance and the over runs are paid for by who?


Wake Forest's arena cost $25 million I believe and was completed in 1989. In 1992, Pitt had no intention of tearing down Pitt Stadium, so while the $35 million could have been low, it was not unreasonable.
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Postby pfim on Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:24 pm

Bowser wrote:Pittsburgh Explosion is the current 'pro' team in town. They get 2200 fans according to a Sunday talk show caller that works for the team. I remember when Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson came to Pittsburgh and couldn't sell out Mellon Arena... or it was someone like that.

Even now, I don't think LeBron James could do it in the Burgh.

The argument that PITT basketball has proven to show a market for such a team is bunk. How many of those in crowd are PITT students and well-to-do alumni looking to be seen in the public?

On Sunday, I also heard them talk about local high school basketball and the crowds attracted to those games. Yeah, a bunch of family and friends attend those games paying nickles and dimes for gate prices.


If the Xplosion gets that many fans per game, I'll change my name to Xplosion. They get a few hundred per game, one time their opponent from Detroit I believe didn't even show up.

http://pittsburgh.bizjournals.com/pitts ... ily47.html
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Postby Bowser on Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:27 pm

PFIM - I was surprised by the "caller's" numbers too... thanks for the link.
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Postby Sam's Drunk Dog on Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:48 pm

I think the past success or really lack of success with "Pro" basketball franchises in this city is all you need to know when deciding whether an NBA team would work.

The ABA's Pittsburgh Pipers won the first championship in the league (1967-1968), but received so much support that the team was moved to Minnesota the very next year 1968-1969. The team returned to Pittsburgh for the 1969-1970 season and remained there until the team was disbanded before the start of the 1972-1973 season.

http://www.remembertheaba.com/Pittsburg ... early.html

Attendence figures while the team was in Pittsburgh.

1967-68 (54-24) First Place in1969-70 Eastern Division
Avg. Regular Season Attendance: 3,143

1969-70 (36-42) Fifth Place in Eastern Division
Avg. Regular Season Attendance: 2,009

1970-71 (36-48) Fifth Place in Eastern Division
Avg. Regular Season Attendance: 2,806

1971-72 (25-59) Sixth Place in Eastern Division
Avg. Regular Season Attendance: 2,215

I'll post the info about the NBA's Ironmen in another post
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:55 pm

Sam,

remember back then, the mills were still in operation, Gulf Oil, Mellon Bank, Westinghouse, Dravo, etc... were still major employeers in the area, and the population was ~ 15-20% higher.

In other words, a better fit for drawing fans.

Since the Pipers/Condors we had more than a few teams at lower and semi-pro levels right? Continental.. renewed ABA, etc...
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Postby bill from turtle creek on Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:13 pm

The other thing to remember is that those Condors/Pipers numbers are probably completely inaccurate. I remember being at one of those games where the announced attendance was around 5000, and there couldn't have been more than a third of that amount present. Another time, the Condors had a promotion where they gave every single ticket away for a league game. You sent in a newspaper coupon and they sent you however many tickets you wanted. All of the tickets got distributed, but there were still a LOT of no-shows. probably at least 2-3 thousand. Still, the announced crowd was a sellout.

Most of you are too young to recall that the Pipers actually won the first ABA championship, and during the playoff run they attracted pretty good crowds. Then, after they won they left town and moved somewhere else for a year, I forget where. The next year the ABA came back again, but it was a different franchise though still named the Pipers. Maybe if they hadn't left after the first year, and built on the excitement, they might have had a better end result.
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Postby Sam's Drunk Dog on Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:13 pm

Yeah, i was thinking of Pro-basketball. The city also had the Ironmen that lasted for one year http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_Ironmen and the Rens or Renaissance of the ABL that lasted for two years http://hometown.aol.com/bradleyrd/ablhist.html.


This article sums up the "pro-basketball experience" in Pittsburgh. It also says that Pittsburgh is the 21st ranked city out of 30 without NBA teams.

http://pittsburgh.bizjournals.com/pitts ... tory6.html

This article is from 1997 so the ranking could have risen or more likely fallen since then.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:45 pm

This article from Smizik two years ago is a still valid.

In it he makes a couple of good points, the best one is that minor league basketball is already here in Pittsburgh, it's called the NCAA and has two teams in the Panthers and Duquesne.

Side note: The article also mentions a team called the Piranahs which were owned by a former boss of mine, Bob Murphy.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04025/265344.stm
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Postby Zscout on Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:03 pm

Pitt isn’t going anywhere.

The Penguins are a failing franchise with a questionable ownership and franchise troubles.

Blaming Pitt for the Penguins woes is ludicrous.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:31 pm

Zscout wrote:Pitt isn’t going anywhere.



Of course not. They're financially stable. They have the taxpayers to thank for that. They're a pubicly funded institution.

Zscout wrote:The Penguins are a failing franchise with a questionable ownership and franchise troubles.


Well, lets remove the questional ownership characterization. I've heard nothing negative about the character or business accumen of this ownership group. I think that's a bit of a stretch.

But lets talk about the finances for a second. When you work the numbers, they have a pretty attractive franchise IN A NEW BARN. Blaming the Pens for the projected $7 million loss this year (and that estimate was before figuring in Palffy, Mario, T-BO, Lyle...et al...) is a bit disingenuous.

The Pens lost money because they didn't 1) build a new Arena themselves or 2) Leave the city. There's little doubt they'd have been profitable in a new Barn. Are you saying the lack of public support on the order of what the Pirates and Steelers got on their respective deals isn't a factor?

Zscout wrote:Blaming Pitt for the Penguins woes is ludicrous.


Maybe so, but don't let the fact that you're a Pitt fan cloud your judgement. It's no different than blaming the Pirates and Steelers for the Pens woes.

I think Draftniks original title detracted from the basis of the issue. That not only did the Taxpayers step up for the Pirates and Steelers, they also stepped up for the Panthers.

It seems the only ones that this town refuses to step up for is the Pens (And the Ironic thing about it is that this is the one deal that if they don't find a solution for - will hurt them the worst). By that I mean the fact that this one involves a multi-purpose venue. That all the work they've done to attract outside conventions will be tainted by the fact they have no where to assemble all of those people if a new Arena isn't built. ( and don't even start pointing to a building that's older than nearly every poster on this board)
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