Portland Pirates staying or going?

10:19 AM, Feb 24, 2010   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- As the Portland Pirates and the Cumberland County Civic Center work to reach a lease agreement, other interested parties are waiting in the wings.

Pirates owner Brian Petrovek says for more than a year, the team and the CCCC Board of Trustees have been working on a new agreement that would make sense for both the Cumberland County and the Portland Pirates.  But there has been little movement.  

"Not to say there hasn't been a lot of variation on the theme," says Petrovek. "The hard part is finding deal points we can both live with and work something out for the long haul."

Right now, its a matter of money.  All of the Pirates revenue comes from ticket sales, merchandise, and promotions, and the team doesn't get a cut of concessions like some other American Hockey League teams do.  By law, the Civic Center must break even, so the Board relies on money from concessions to make up the difference.

A slumping economy has made it tougher for the Pirates to attract new business, and there have been offers from cities without an AHL team who might be interested in moving the Pirates, like Albany, New York.  That city will be losing their team, by seasons end, and city leadership has been applying pressure on the team to make the move.  Albany is closer to the home of the Pirates parent club, the Buffalo Sabres. 

Petrovek says he'd like to keep the team right where it is. But without a deal in place, he says the team won't start making plans for next year.



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