SBD/Issue 19/NHL Season Preview

Circumstance, Connections Led To Consol's Deal For Pens' Arena

Consol Energy Took Just 30 Minutes After Hearing
Pitch To Reach Deal For Arena Naming Rights

There were "three key factors" that contributed to Consol Energy acquiring the naming rights to the Penguins' new arena -- "circumstance, business connections and guts," according to Michael Sanserino of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. PNC Bank President Sy Holzer introduced Consol Energy COO Nick DeIuliis and Penguins President & CEO David Morehouse a "few years ago." DeIuliis said that Holzer "thought it would be a good idea for the two to meet." Before then, Consol Energy and the Penguins "did not really have a relationship, save for maybe a few season tickets in the company's name." Morehouse said "six or seven" local companies were interested in obtaining naming rights for the new arena, which makes its regular-season debut during tonight's Flyers-Penguins game. Morehouse in November '08 "ventured to Consol Energy's corporate headquarters" in Canonsburg, Pa., to "present the plan" to Consol Energy CEO Brett Harvey, DeIuliis and others. After the sales pitch, Morehouse was "asked to wait," and "thirty minutes later, he had a deal." DeIuliis said that "the 'geographic footprint' for the Penguins' fan base is nearly identical to the area from which Consol Energy draws its employees." Even before Consol Energy Center "played host to its first event, DeIuliis had noticed two positive effects that he did not anticipate." First, the company name is "appearing on road signs, ticket stubs, maps, newspaper articles -- many more places than the facade of a building." Second, there is a "noticeable increase in Consol employee morale." DeIuliis: "They feel that they play a role with regard to making that happen" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/6).

LET ME UPGRADE YOU: In Pittsburgh, Robert Dvorchak reported some of the "most dazzling upgrades" in moving from Mellon Arena to Consol Energy Center are "behind the scenes." Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle "told the organization to identify the best locker room in the NHL, and he would bankroll a better one in the Consol Energy Center." Penguins VP/Communications Tom McMillan: "A team can't spend more on players than the salary cap allows, but there was no cap on making this a first-class facility for our players." The workout room and training facilities are "top-notch too, including a pool with a submersible treadmill so injured players can lessen the impact on injured legs." Penguins LW Chris Kunitz: "I don't think they missed a single detail" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/6). Also in Pittsburgh, Shelly Anderson reported the Penguins players "have given mostly two gloved-thumbs up as they adjust to their new home." The "one thing that needs some work is the quality of the ice" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/6). The AP's Alan Robinson reported "everything about the arena seemingly has been touched" by C Sidney Crosby, "right down to his No. 87 being the final two digits of its capacity." There is even a "cupboard in the team's expansive locker room, fitness area and recreation room to house his favorite cereal." Crosby: "For a brand-new building, it seems pretty homey right away. It's a little bigger than we're used to" (AP, 10/6).

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