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  1. #1
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    Angry Everything people know about the Penguins is wrong

    I was scanning the comments on the power rankings at NHL.com, and of course there were a bunch of fans of all different teams crying about how much attention the Penguins are getting, never mind that the attention has been well-earned. Anyway, a know-it-all Flyers fan (redundant) and a know-it-all Bruins fan decided to regurgitate the widely-believed-but-nevertheless-totally-inaccurate story about how the Penguins went bankrupt and almost left Pittsburgh due to a lack of fan support. I've never posted on NHL.com before, but I really do get sick and tired of listening to lies get repeated often enough that everybody considers it the truth. Here's my reply:

    Quote Originally Posted by Me
    So many revisionist historians, so little time, I tell you!

    Lots of people seem to think that the Penguins' bankruptcy in 1998 had something to do with a lack of fan support. No, it didn't. It had to do with then-owner Howard Baldwin making stupid business decisions. Here's a link to an article from 2003, detailing exactly what went wrong:

    http://old.post-gazette.com/sports/c...cook0217p1.asp


    Here are three juicy quotes from the article:


    ---

    #1

    "Baldwin cared deeply about the Penguins and their fans and, for a time in the 1990s, was the city's most beloved sports owner. But no one knew at the time he was keeping a winning team together by giving huge contracts to Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and so many others that he didn't have the money to do the deals. It wasn't until the franchise filed for bankruptcy in October, 1998, that we realized just how reckless and foolish many of his decisions were with the players, with Spectacor Management Group, with Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and with city and county officials."


    #2

    "Faced with an uncertain future because of Lemieux's retirement and still feeling the pain from the killer work stoppage, Baldwin had to bring in Boston millionaire Roger Marino as a new partner in '97. Marino still must regret the day. He later said he didn't realize just how bad many of Baldwin's decisions were.

    Although the contract with SMG, which managed Mellon Arena, was cited as the overriding cause of the bankruptcy, it was Baldwin's deal with the city and county that still could force the Penguins out of town. In '97, he accepted a $12.9 million Band-Aid for club seats and other improvements at the arena instead of jumping on the Plan B bandwagon with the Pirates and Steelers, who built terrific new facilities."


    #3

    "'I just hope that everyone back there -- the mayor and the politicians -- gets behind Mario. The hockey fans there deserve it. They probably don't think much of me, but they're great fans.'

    It's no wonder Baldwin is rooting so hard for the Penguins.

    If they don't make it, his fingerprints will be all over the corpse."

    ---


    Simply put, the bankruptcy had nothing to do with the fans.

    Lots of people also seem to think that the Penguins' relocation threat in 2007 had something to do with a lack of fan support. No, it didn't. It had to do with Mario Lemieux getting tired of waiting for the new arena he was promised when he took control of the team in 1999.

    After the city of Pittsburgh faced a budget crisis in 2003, Lemieux hitched his wagon to Isle of Capri Casinos. Isle of Capri agreed to build the Penguins a new arena with their own money if they were awarded a license by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to build a casino in Pittsburgh. They were in competition with Harrah's and Majestic Star for the license, and ultimately lost the bid to Majestic Star in late 2006. This is when Lemieux began to play hardball and threaten relocation. Thankfully, a deal was made that got CONSOL Energy Center built.

    Home attendance in Pittsburgh averaged 94% of capacity during the 2005-2006 season, and 97% of capacity during the 2006-2007 season. (It was during this season that the Penguins' current sellout streak began.) Attendance did drop during the three poor seasons prior to the lockout, but then that makes Penguins fans no different than Blackhawks fans, really. People in Chicago weren't exactly filling the United Center to watch the Blackhawks back when they were lousy, yet they don't get half the **** for it that Penguins fans have gotten for it.

    Similarly, the Blackhawks don't even get half the **** for sucking their way into Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane that the Penguins do for sucking their way into Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Blackhawks are basically the Penguins' doppelgangers in the Western Conference, yet nobody hates them for it. I've had it with all the double standards and revisionist history.

    As always, the truth requires some research. Lazy people propagate lies. There are many non-Penguins fans who are lazy. If you're not a Penguins fan and you're reading this, then read my quote above and learn.
    "He’s the most underrated quarterback of the 21st century."

    -Bill Simmons (Editor, Grantland) discussing Ben Roethlisberger


    "Roethlisberger is perpetually underrated, to the point that even when he breaks records, it doesn’t really feel like it."

    -Joseph Milord (Editor, Elite Daily)

  2. #2
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    Very well-said. I was still a bit young at the time so unfortunately I wasn't following the situation too closely but I knew it was more so management/ownership that was causing the problems. Hell, the Pens teams of the early 2000's usually made some runs in the playoffs, so no, attendance was not the primary issue here

  3. #3
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    was a fan back then and always will be. I didnt read article but a point that should be made is even though the pens filed for bankruptcy lemieux and his group paid all debts in full 100 percent to the penny so all bankruptcy did was hold off debtors until lemieux and his group had money to pay them back

  4. #4
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    I was young back then and didnt understand what was happening but being me i learned about my favorite team. I am used to being bashed being a Steelers fan and Pens fan. Success breads hate by jealous fans it comes with the territory. You just have to stick with your team good and bad and ignore the haters. I know because Go Nets






  5. #5
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    nets fan ouch hey be proud at least you suck cheaply I am a knicks fan we pay out are *** to suck

  6. #6
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    Something else that fans of other teams fail to consider is that a great many Penguins and Steelers fans are also Pirates fans too, which belies the notion that we're just a bunch of front-runners in Pittsburgh. Hell, I haven't lived in the area since 1995, and even though I've been back to visit six times since, only twice have I been back during baseball season, but I went to PNC Park both times. Coincidentally, each time I went (2001, 2010), the Pirates were on their way to 100+ losses. I've also been to Pirates games in Atlanta in 1997 and 2007, plus spring training in Bradenton in 2005. I've actually never been to a Penguins game. One of these days I hope to go to one, preferably in Pittsburgh.
    "He’s the most underrated quarterback of the 21st century."

    -Bill Simmons (Editor, Grantland) discussing Ben Roethlisberger


    "Roethlisberger is perpetually underrated, to the point that even when he breaks records, it doesn’t really feel like it."

    -Joseph Milord (Editor, Elite Daily)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBR96A View Post
    Something else that fans of other teams fail to consider is that a great many Penguins and Steelers fans are also Pirates fans too, which belies the notion that we're just a bunch of front-runners in Pittsburgh. Hell, I haven't lived in the area since 1995, and even though I've been back to visit six times since, only twice have I been back during baseball season, but I went to PNC Park both times. Coincidentally, each time I went (2001, 2010), the Pirates were on their way to 100+ losses. I've also been to Pirates games in Atlanta in 1997 and 2007, plus spring training in Bradenton in 2005. I've actually never been to a Penguins game. One of these days I hope to go to one, preferably in Pittsburgh.
    ya i dont like baseball but do cheer for the pirates just bc they are a pittsburgh team i really wish we had a basketball team






  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by t2a2e9j12 View Post
    nets fan ouch hey be proud at least you suck cheaply I am a knicks fan we pay out are *** to suck
    ya not getting D12 made us destined to fail this season. We have very poor management in Billy King






  9. #9
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    The Penguins attendance problem and bankruptcy problems were seperated by years so yes that is definitely a problem if they are connecting the two. The article down plays the attendance problem before the lockout the Penguins had terrible attendance bringing up the rear actually.

    Also the article seems to suggest fans didn't show because the team was lousy but cites the 05-06 season as an example of good attendance; that team was statisticly the worst in recent times. The attendance really wasn't tied to winning.

    You are correct with your main point though fan support had nothing to do withe bankruptcy. As for the possibility the team would move that is something I feel was a possibility (not likely). Did that have to do with fan support, in a way I think it did but there were many more issues in play then.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by burgh_fan66 View Post
    The Penguins attendance problem and bankruptcy problems were seperated by years so yes that is definitely a problem if they are connecting the two. The article down plays the attendance problem before the lockout the Penguins had terrible attendance bringing up the rear actually.

    Also the article seems to suggest fans didn't show because the team was lousy but cites the 05-06 season as an example of good attendance; that team was statisticly the worst in recent times. The attendance really wasn't tied to winning.

    You are correct with your main point though fan support had nothing to do withe bankruptcy. As for the possibility the team would move that is something I feel was a possibility (not likely). Did that have to do with fan support, in a way I think it did but there were many more issues in play then.
    The relocation threat had to do with the arena, not the fans. If it had anything to do with the fans, then the Penguins would have relocated during the lockout. Besides, the Blackhawks and the Blues had chronic attendance problems last decade too, but neither team threatened to relocate. Why? Because they both had suitable arenas to play in.
    "He’s the most underrated quarterback of the 21st century."

    -Bill Simmons (Editor, Grantland) discussing Ben Roethlisberger


    "Roethlisberger is perpetually underrated, to the point that even when he breaks records, it doesn’t really feel like it."

    -Joseph Milord (Editor, Elite Daily)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBR96A View Post
    The relocation threat had to do with the arena, not the fans. If it had anything to do with the fans, then the Penguins would have relocated during the lockout. Besides, the Blackhawks and the Blues had chronic attendance problems last decade too, but neither team threatened to relocate. Why? Because they both had suitable arenas to play in.
    I clearly said there was a whole lot else at play (the arena was the biggest factor). If the fans were packing the arena back then like they are now I don't think the whole relocation idea would have been as big an issue. Think about it for a second. The NHL has a market attracting 18,000 plus a game, rabid fans, sell out crowds and they are going to give that market up? I don't think so. Now lets say they have a market where the arena is barely half full, the casual fan seems detached from the team and can barely name 3-4 players (basically what is was). Would the NHL let that market, go? Possibly.
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  12. #12
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    So basically what I am saying DBR96A is that you are right if it wasn't for the arena issue there would have no talk about relocation. However it is my belief that if the team was in a stretch of sell outs like they are now there would have also been no talk (or at the very least very very little) of relocation (no way the NHL would support/approve it). So yes the arena was the cause but to say fan support had no impact seems not quite correct to me.
    Last edited by burgh_fan66; 03-27-2012 at 11:46 PM.
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  13. #13
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    The old arena was unprofitable regardless of attendance, so it really wouldn't matter whether or not there were sellouts. Besides, the drop in attendance occurred during the three seasons prior to the lockout, and rebounded very well after the lockout. Penguins home attendance averaged 94% of capacity during the 2005-2006 season, and 97% of capacity during the 2006-2007 season when Mario Lemieux began rattling his saber. There's really no correlation between the attendance figures and the relocation threats. Lemieux began playing hardball only after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board chose Majestic Star over Isle of Capri for the Pittsburgh casino license at the end of 2006. As for surrendering the Pittsburgh market, the NHL didn't want to do that because TV ratings in Pittsburgh were among the best of any NHL market in the United States, even during the lean pre-lockout years. (I think only Detroit and Buffalo had consistently higher ratings.)
    Last edited by DBR96A; 03-28-2012 at 01:18 AM.
    "He’s the most underrated quarterback of the 21st century."

    -Bill Simmons (Editor, Grantland) discussing Ben Roethlisberger


    "Roethlisberger is perpetually underrated, to the point that even when he breaks records, it doesn’t really feel like it."

    -Joseph Milord (Editor, Elite Daily)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBR96A View Post
    The old arena was unprofitable regardless of attendance, so it really wouldn't matter whether or not there were sellouts. Besides, the drop in attendance occurred during the three seasons prior to the lockout, and rebounded very well after the lockout. Penguins home attendance averaged 94% of capacity during the 2005-2006 season, and 97% of capacity during the 2006-2007 season when Mario Lemieux began rattling his saber. There's really no correlation between the attendance figures and the relocation threats. Lemieux began playing hardball only after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board chose Majestic Star over Isle of Capri for the Pittsburgh casino license at the end of 2006. As for surrendering the Pittsburgh market, the NHL didn't want to do that because TV ratings in Pittsburgh were among the best of any NHL market in the United States, even during the lean pre-lockout years. (I think only Detroit and Buffalo had consistently higher ratings.)
    I don't get the first part about the old arena being unprofitable. The Penguins were playing in the old arena when they won the Stanley Cup, are you implying they lost money that season because I find that very hard to believe.

    The rest I agree with but I still think better attendance could have limited the issue some. No doubt the arena was the biggest issue and if that was taken care of then yes it would have been a non-issue. But to say the issue was unequivocally 100% the arena and absolutely no other factors were at play is in my opinion ridiculous.

    Also I agree the relocation threats had no impact on attendance but neither did winning as you implied earlier. That 05-06 team was terrible and as you pointed out attendance was 94% capacity. So your argument about attendance being down solely because of team performance is wrong. If that was the case the 05-06 season would have had bad attendance. Something else was at play when the attendance took a dip (and no I'm not applying it was the relocation threats, I never implied that)

    In the end I think we basically disagree on only two of your points

    1) When attendance dipped it was solely because of team performance (I think the 05-06 season proves this to be wrong)

    2) The relocation threats can solely and absolutely be contributed only to the arena issue and that there was nothing else that could have been done to minimize the threats in any way, shape or form. For the record I agree having an arena in place would have prevented the issue entirely.
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  15. 03-31-2012, 11:01 PM
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    baiting

  16. #15
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    nevermind
    Last edited by jrm2054; 04-02-2012 at 12:30 AM.






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