NHL to Return to Pittsburgh in 2021 as Penguins Pitch a Comeback
Sidney Crosby firmly believes the most important of Mario Lemieux’s franchise information is secure.
Nonetheless, the Penguins are hopeful Crosby will get the chance to match not less than one of all Lemieux’s signature accomplishments: successful MVP of an NHL All-Star Sport in Pittsburgh.
“We’ve had discussions with the league about bringing the All-Star Sport right here,” mentioned Kevin Acklin, Penguins’ president of enterprise operations.
Acklin wouldn’t disclose the complete particulars of these discussions, particularly if the Penguins have formally bid for a future All-Star Sport and/or if procuring one for PPG Paints Area was a precondition of the membership’s willingness to take part because the highway staff within the 2023 Winter Basic towards the Bruins at Fenway Park in Boston.
Coincidentally, Fenway Park’s tenant, MLB’s Crimson Sox, is, together with English soccer’s Liverpool, a part of Fenway Sports activities Group (FSG), which bought the Penguins in November 2021.
Acklin mentioned FSG helps the will for the Penguins to deliver any of the NHL’s signature occasions to Pittsburgh, whether or not or not it’s a 3rd out of doors recreation, one other NHL Draft, or the All-Star Sport. Nevertheless, it’s the All-Star Sport that seems likeliest because the Penguins have performed host to 2 doors video games at Heinz Subject, appeared because the customer in three others, and welcomed the 2012 NHL Draft to what was then referred to as Consol Vitality Middle.
The Mario Lemieux statue exterior PPG Paints Area. (Charles LeClaire / USA At present)
Touchdown an All-Star Sport would probably increase season-ticket gross sales, which have taken a slight hit in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Penguins’ franchise-record residence sellout streak ended early this previous season. Hockeydb.com charted the Penguins’ common general attendance for 2021-22 at 17,684 – an 854 drop from the 2019-20 season, and the primary time because the environment’s opening for the 2010-11 season that commexpectedendance fell under the 18,000 threshold.
For the 2016-17 season the Penguins averaged 19,763 followers, essentially the most in the franchise’s historical past.
Acklin, who mentioned he snuck into the 1990 All-Star Sport at Civic Area whereas attending school, additionally mentioned the Penguins are re-pricing sure sections of PPG Paints Area for video games a subsequent season. He mentioned the pricing could be based mostly on information collected in-house and in addition from the secondary market.
“This summer season, our season ticket holder base for the primary time, it led to about 70 p.c of the seats being rescaled and diminished,” Acklin mentioned.
The Penguins employed Oak View Group to handle PPG Paints Area. The perimeters are hopeful of staging occasions on the environment for not less than 300 days/nights yearly.
Upgrades to PPG Paints Area are already deliberate, together with an events-level membership that Acklin mentioned will deliver followers nearer in proximity to gamers and a Corridor of Fame, the small print of which aren’t but settled.
The Corridor of Fame, which is anticipated to incorporate digital parts along with having a bodily presence in the environment, would come with Lemieux as a part of its constitution class. Although nonetheless a minority proprietor with a half-percentage share, Lemieux stays the Penguins’ chairman.
He’s additionally extensively thought about the best participant in the franchise’s historical past – a six-time scoring champion, three-time winner of the Hart Trophy, and the playoff MVP for the Penguins ‘Stanley Cup golf equipment in 1991 and 1992. Lemieux is the Penguins’ chief in objectives, assistants, and factors. He additionally dominated All-Star video games, successful the third of his MVPs in entrance of a raucous, partisan Pittsburgh crowd in 1990.
The Penguins wish to present an identical setting for Crosby, a second solely to Lemieux for many staff information and captain of their Cup golf equipment in 2009, 2016, and 2017. Crosby has three years remaining on his contract and has not mentioned if he prefers to play after it expires.
If Crosby’s subsequent three seasons are his final, the Penguins could have solely two alternatives to deliver the All-Star Sport again to Pittsburgh throughout his tenure. Websites for the 2024 and 2025 All-Star Video games haven’t been decided, and the 2023 occasion can be held on the Florida Panthers’ FLA Reside Area.
(Photograph of Tristan Jarry on the 2022 All-Star Sport: Stephen R. Sylvanie / USA At present)