Hurricanes, NC State in throwdown over arena dates

There’s a battle brewing in Raliegh, N.C., over the use of PNC Arena by the Carolina Hurricanes and North Carolina State, and some of the accusations are getting pretty ugly. Selfish university officials leaving the Hurricanes open to threats of NHL fines! Team officials going behind the school’s back to press the ACC for schedule changes!

The issue here is that even though the Hurricanes’ parent company manages the arena, the team agreed to a lease upon moving from Hartford that gave it third priority over arena dates behind N.C. State basketball and football (the football team uses the parking lots for its games at neighboring Carter-Finley Stadium). For some reason, this is suddenly causing problems, with the Hurricanes management charging that N.C. State is holding an excessive number of dates for its own usage (129 out of 214 dates, including 26 out of 30 days in November, according to Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford), leaving the team open to league fines of $100,000 if they have to make a late schedule adjustment. N.C. State counters that it’s only holding 65 dates open, and that it can’t do better than that since the ACC’s conference schedule isn’t released until late summer. And N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson made his own charges, saying that he only recently discovered that the Hurricanes had been directly lobbying the ACC to shift his school’s schedule in order to leave open dates for NHL games.

Why this is suddenly coming up now, 14 years after the Hurricanes moved in, is a bit of a mystery. It’s also not clear what the Hurricanes expect to get out of this, since they agreed to be second fiddle when they signed the lease in the first place (paying only $60 million out of the arena’s $158 million construction cost). Their lease runs through 2024, so it’s a bit early to be making noise about wanting revisions or to get out of it … though on second thought, maybe not. And while this guy is no longer mayor, clearly it’s never too early to start talking about replacing a slightly-used arena.

4 comments on “Hurricanes, NC State in throwdown over arena dates

  1. I think the problem is coming to a head because:

    1) ACC football embracing Thursdays (and maybe other weeknights) as part of a new TV contract.

    2) A bigger push for big time college basketball schools to schedule high-profile non-conference games. Those games sometimes get scheduled late and often go on weeknights for TV.

    3) State trying to keep up with Duke and UNC, who have the ability to schedule any date at any time as late as they want.

    I also wonder if part of it is an early salvo to get to Quebec. The Canes draw decent for a team that has had a spotty record making the playoffs lately but their prices are far below what Canadian teams can charge.

  2. ACC football on Thursday is nothing new, they’ve had a game for years. And my impression has been that NC State has made more appearances than any other team. That would annoy the hell out of me if I was an NC State fan who wanted to go to games, but I’m not so…whatever floats their fiscal boat, I guess.

    In any case, it wouldn’t be contributing anything new to the current kerfuffle.

  3. The Carolina Hurricanes can threatened to move to Charlotte at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Um…….never mind.