Mario, Mario, Mario.
No one can refer to you as a dumb jock, no siree.
Mario came out with another statement today, a day after the IOC failed to win the slots license.
And as you can imagine, this one was much more alarming for Penguin fans and the city/county officials.
Why ?? Because Mario threw the "R" word out there for the first time.
R for relocation, that is.
Here was Mario's statement from the Pens website;
"Recent developments, including Wednesday’s decision by the PGCB, and the recent termination of the purchase agreement by Jim Balsillie have convinced us that it is time to take control of our own destiny. Accordingly, starting Thursday, the team is off the market, and we will begin to explore relocation options in cities outside Pennsylvania. After seven years of trying to work out a new arena deal exclusively in Pittsburgh, we need to take into consideration the long-term viability of the team and begin discussions with other cities that may be interested in NHL teams.
As soon as we are no longer restricted by our agreement with Isle of Capri from negotiating an arena deal here, in the next few weeks, we will also begin discussions with local leaders about a viable Pittsburgh arena plan.
We will have no further comment at this time."
A couple of comments:
Did you notice that Mario did not put the more optimistic approach, that being towards Plan B, in the beginning of the article ?? He did the calculated, political approach towards his statement, he put the shock into those reading it right off the bat.
It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out what Mario's doing. The more that Mario and the Pens throw out the "R" word, the more that the Pens feel that the City and State will negotiate a better Plan B deal for the Pens new arena.
Also, just because Mario SAYS that the team is off the market doesn't mean that it's going to STAY off the market. Mario still wants to sell this team, believe that. And that includes a time when the asking price for the franchise will go down from 175 million to probably around 130 to 140 million because of the failure of IOC to win the license.
And lastly, as I said last night, a professional sports team paying X million dollars per year for a arena/stadium lease is PAR FOR THE COURSE. Right now Plan B has them paying 8.5 million up front, then 4.1 million per year. You can bet the house that those two figures are going to go down a bit for the Pens to sign the deal.
So, like I said, Mario is using the Pens position of strength to his advantage, so everyone's going to have to get used to these types of statements to the media.
And of course, all of those statements will have the "R" word.