Friday, April 07, 2006

Penguins to Hartford?

Anything having to do with sports franchises is inherently political these days, so I'll be following this story as it develops. If it develops.
Massachusetts developer wants to buy the Penguins and either keep the hockey team in the city or move them to Hartford, Conn., where he is trying to get state officials to build a new arena, a newspaper reported Friday.

Lawrence Gottesdiener told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he owns a great deal of property in Hartford, so moving the team there makes sense for him.

Late last year, Gottesdiener told Connecticut officials that he had a plan to bring an NHL team to the city if they would help him build a new 16,000-seat arena in Hartford, where his company, Northland Investment Corp., of Newton, Mass., owns about $500 million worth of real estate. (AP)
I have to admit, the thought of Sidney Crosby and the Pens playing in Hartford has a certain appeal for the hockey-inclined. Scratch that: it would be Hockey Heaven!

But should we head down this road? Would the economic benefit (and there would be one) and morale boost to the city and the state be enough to offset the cost of building an arena and the infrastructure to go with it?

I have no idea. If I had to guess, I'd think that Gov. Rell has even less interest in Hartford hockey than Rowland did. Connecticut politicians are probably a little wary of major league sports teams since the Patriots fiasco, too. Spending huge amounts of public money on new stadium construction is far less in favor than it used to be.

Those things combined with the fact that the NHL very badly wanted out of Hartford in 1997, and wants the Penguins to stay in Pittsburgh, suggests that this is unlikely to happen. But I'll keep an eye on it anyway. Who knows what could happen?

Source

"Developer wants to buy Penguins for possible move to Hartford." Associated Press 7 April, 2006.

24 comments:

Guy that never posts said...

Go Whalers!

ctblogger said...

How sweet would it be to have the Hartford Whalers back in town.

The NHL is much more popualar than when the Whales took off from Hartford and it should do well in the city now.

I'd love to put on my old Whaler's shirt (real old with the whale symbol not the newer one with the W and H) and see a hockey game in Hartford again.

Ah, the good ol days when the Whaler's were awful, tickets were cheap, and they broke my heart with each lost. I'll take that over no hockey team at all.

But hey, I'm a Mets and knicks fan also so I much like misery.

MightyMouse1 said...

Maybe we can put an arena at Adrien's landing?

Genghis Conn said...

That was part of the original plan, MightyMouse. I don't know what happened to it. It was supposed to go just south of the convention center.

middlesexist said...

This is a terrible idea for taxpayers.

Every available study has shown zero value to tax payers for publicly funded arenas. This is true everywhere. If you want to bring residents and jobs to Hartford, extend Metro North and improve the school system and maybe set up a startup incubator. But if you build another taxpayer funded arena, you're going to be spending something on the order of $300,000 per low-wage job. Arenas have minimal ability to revitalize surrounding neighborhoods (just ask Baltimore or New York) and mainly work by cannibalizing local entertainment dollars that would be otherwise spent on existing attractions while funneling money into team owners' pockets.

I'm not saying don't bring in a hockey team, but Eddie Perez shouldn't pay for it.

Brian Durand said...

I'm not sure they could have the Whalers name back, could they? The Carolina team is the same franchise as the Whalers, and likely still owns the rights to the name. Just a thought, I could be wrong.

turfgrrl said...

There are beneficial economic impacts of having a major league sports franchise in a city. One of the things that cities need to do in order to increase local economies is to raise the level of transient visitors to the city. This fuels the small business growth and increases the amenities that a city can offer. You wouldn't have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland were it not for the Browns, Cavaliers and Indians.

Public financing of stadiums/arenas is a bad economic move though. Public ownership via shares, Greenbay and Jacob's field in Cleveland is the smarter way to go.

Genghis Conn said...

Yes, Peter Karmanos (that rat) still owns the rights to the logo, etc. But it could probably be bought. After all, the Cleveland Browns expansion team bought the rights to that name and logo from the Baltimore Ravens.

I can't see the city or the state entirely financing an arena--some sort of public/private deal would probably be worked out.

MightyMouse1 said...

Maybe we should put an arena somewhere else, Hartford already blew it once. Waterbury, New Haven?

onceupona time said...

There is an arena in Bridgeport and it loses money every day. The demographics of CT cities do not support any of this crap - including Adrien's landing where one of Rowland's chief spinners, Pagani. now sucks up a salary. Stop spending government money on losing stuff and lower the tax rates to something reasonable and then maybe you'll get some business growth. Corruption is everywhere and it has nothing to do wth why businesses are staying away from CT like an infected prostitute.

turfgrrl said...

bluecoat,

Long term, I think the arena in Bridgeport will benefit the city. I don't know if it was financed through tax dollars or not, I object to tax dollar financing. But if a developer wants to build an arena and either work through the city to bond it, or finance it with a public offering, or conventional means, I say why not.

I've always thought Port Chester was the right spot for a major league franchise.

disgruntled_republican said...

As a clarification, the Browns name/logo were not bought, the NFL nd Paul T. forced the Ravens to surrender it if he and the owners were to approve the move. Although the Browns are an Expansion team, everything that was Browns pre-move is still Browns right down to the retired numbers.

onceupona time said...

turffgrrl: there is a age restricted/sneior living home in Bridgeprot (calle 3030 Park Avenue) that expande, or started to anyway, on the back of a Bridgeport bond issue last year and then it went in to finacial trouble with the state just monthe later. I don't know the impact on the bond obligation but if a private backer won't do something and it is al that important then the govt. should do it on its own and not finance some weak operation.

turfgrrl said...

disgruntled_republican,
Does this mean you are a fellow Browns fan?

turfgrrl said...

bluecoat,
Sounds like the city did not due its due diligence when offering up a city backed bonding issue to a developer who runs into financial difficulty in months ...

DeanFan84 said...

BREAKING! (sorry to be off-topic)

Lieberman staffer Ken Daglierre says Windsor's Sunday morning meeting with Senator Lieberman will be open to all Democrats! This is fantastic! Thank you Ken.

From MyLeftNutmeg!

I'm going to respectfully ask Senator Lieberman why he hasn't ruled out an Independent run. If Joe won't commit to the August primary, and its results, that really says something.

We all know how destructive it would be to the Dem ticket if Joe pulled out in June or July.

DeanFan84 said...

Genghis--
We shouldn't have to buy back anything from Karmanos. Really.

My business instincts say Peter would simply hand the rights over in a good will gesture, and I'm sure the commissioner would make it happen. FWIW.

Go Red Sox!

middlesexist said...

Again, the issue isn't whether an NHL team in Hartford would bring economic benefits -- of course it would. But the problem is that the proposed plan (which calls for a publicly financed arena) would have economic costs that far outweigh the benefits. Moreover, the idea becomes completely absurd when you weigh the opportunity costs -- the return on $1 spent on hockey is miniscule next to the return you'd get if you spent that same $1 on transportation, schools or pretty much anything else that cities are supposed to provide.

Cleveland may now have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Jacobs Field, but the fundamentals of the city have completely failed. The way you make cities succeed is by attracting residents and industry, something that a rock and roll museum -- or a shiny new hockey arena -- fail to do.

On an aside, from the would-be owner's perspective, I really don't see what's attractive about the Hartford area, with a stagnant economy, zero population growth, etc.---(a fairly large fan base doesn't matter if you can't sell corporate sponsorships/boxes).

Hartford offers nothing that Pittsburgh doesn't already offer -- except for the fact that Pittsburgh city government has already bankrupted itself building publicly financed sports facility boondoggles and has learned its lesson, whereas Hartford may just be stupid enough to go down the same path. I'm as much a sportsfan as anybody, but the definition of idiocy is repeating here the same mistakes that failed everywhere else in the country.

middlesexist said...

Ironically, I think the new campaign finance law may have put the kibosh on a major sports team coming to CT any time soon. The economics of sports teams elswhere in the country figure lobbyists and gov't contractors will buy a huge portion of the boxes and tickets (which they then give away). I don't think they can do that here.

fidelcastro said...

THE ONLY ONES A STADIUM WILL BENEFIT ARE THE POLITICIANS WHO WILL SELECT THE CONTRACTERS TO BUILD IT AND THE CONSULTANTS THAT ARE HIRED....WHEN ARE YOU PEOPLE GOING TO LEARN THAT WE MUST HAVE CHECKS AND BALAMCES...

i DONT WANT MY HARD EARNED DOLLARS PAYING FOR ANYMORE GRAFT AND THIEVERY.

YOU WANNA WATCH HOCKEY? GO TO EITHER MASS OR NY AND WATCH IT.

onceupona time said...

You can already watch Hockey in Bridgeport at the Arena - the Sound Tigers are a farm team for the NHL islanders.

onceupona time said...

All about the Sound Tigers can be found here on their website.

KerryGuy said...

DECD actually owns the Whalers logo and I presume their name. They already paid Karmanos for it by letting them leave their lease without taking it with them.

Anonymous said...

Why would I want to go see an AHL team play, when I could see a NHL team play? There just isn't the same amount of intensity! If a pro hockey team did come to Ct i would def. buy season tickets. I am not going to waste my money on season tickets for the Soundtigers or Wolfpack!

Crosby in Connecticut!!!