It took seven days instead of four this time, but it’s official: Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell announced this morning that state and local officials had agreed on a deal to build a $290 million arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The deal, which will be formally announced later today, should put an end to threats of moving the Penguins to Kansas City, Las Vegas, or points unknown.
So just what was accomplished by the last three months of negotiations and move threats? According to press reports, the state and casino operator Majestic Star will each put in about $7.5 million a year to pay off arena construction costs, while the Penguins will kick in $4.2 million, part of which will go to fund future capital improvements. The team will get all arena revenues, and pay all operating costs.
Since that’s almost exactly what the governor’s Plan B arena deal arranged for last year, before this whole hoohah started, it’s still a bit of a mystery as to why it took this long to get an agreement – especially since, with the team only putting in a bit more than one-fifth of the costs, it still looks pretty sweet for Mario Lemieux and company. Maybe we’ll find out more this afternoon.