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Volume 25 No. 214
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Hurricanes Hope To Add Scheduling Flexibility In PNC Arena Lease Talks

Some of the Hurricanes' flexibility is hampered by N.C. State's scheduling priority

The Hurricanes and PNC Arena are about to begin negotiations for a new lease despite five years remaining on the the current deal, but the talks figure to be "more complicated and possibly more contentious" than in the past, according to Luke DeCock of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. Under the current arrangement, the Hurricanes pay the Centennial Authority $2.45M in rent in "return for use by the hockey team and the right to manage the arena, making money by booking concerts, conventions and the like." However, the Hurricanes have "never been able to generate the kind of profits envisioned operating the arena." The club also argues that while the lease was "generally an industry-standard deal when the building opened, it no longer is 20 years later." The "scheduling issues with N.C. State that erupted into open warfare" in '13 also are "still simmering behind the scenes." The Hurricanes will be "pushing for more scheduling flexibility, something that’s been a sore spot in the past." The school has "scheduling priority, but because the NHL schedule is prepared over the summer and the ACC basketball schedule isn’t finalized until the fall, key weekend dates are often left blocked by the Wolfpack that end up being released too late to book concerts." Meanwhile, PNC Arena is in "need of massive renovations that could exceed" $150M. Centennial Authority Chair Thomas McCormick said that the renovations "aren’t contingent on a lease extension, but the authority spent considerable time meeting behind closed doors discussing the latter Thursday, aware of the Hurricanes’ desire to modify the structure of the lease" The authority on Thursday also approved up to $100,000 to hire CAA Icon Exec VP Dan Barrett as a consultant and negotiator, the "first step toward pursuing a new agreement with the Hurricanes" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 2/8).

WHY SO SERIOUS? The Hurricanes' post-game celebrations following wins at home has drawn significant attention this season, including a recent game of duck, duck, goose. Sportsnet's Brian Burke said, "I don't like these postgame celebrations. The choreography that goes into this, the mascot is in this. ... I don't get it. I think it's bush-league." Burke: "I want to see them skate, salute the fans. The Islandic clap is fine, but then get off the ice" ("HNIC," Sportsnet, 2/2).