Pens taking deposits for next season in Pittsburgh
ESPN.com news services
The Pittsburgh Penguins haven't announced if they're staying in the Steel City next year or moving to Kansas City, Mo. But it would seem they're at least considering remaining in Pittsburgh for the forseeable future.
The team has started taking $200 deposits for the playoffs and another season at Mellon Arena, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.
"It's not a sign of anything regarding the arena," team spokesman Tom McMillan told the newspaper. "If there's no arena deal, and the team is not here, people can get their money refunded."
It's not unusual for NHL teams to take deposits on playoff tickets and roll the money over for the next season. But the Penguins do not yet have a lease for next season -- not in Pittsburgh, not in Kansas City, not anywhere.
One consultant told the Tribune-Review he sees the ticket sales as an indication the Pens are at least thinking about staying put.
"I think you can read something more into it," Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based consulting firm Sportscorp, told the newspaper. "They expect to play in Pittsburgh. That doesn't mean they're going to, but they expect to."
The Penguins and city, county and state elected leaders have been in talks over funding for a new building to replace Mellon Arena, the oldest in the NHL.
The state and casino developer Don Barden, who was awarded a slot machine license for Pittsburgh, have pledged to help fund a new arena. Talks bogged down just before the NHL All-Star Game over who would control redevelopment rights at the Mellon Arena site. But area lawmakers have indicated that a deal was close to being completed.
Kansas City's new Sprint Center has offered the Penguins free rent and a stake in revenue sharing for the arena.