Penguin hockey fans will sit in lap of luxury in new Consol Energy Center
Artist's drawings show what the Consol Energy Center will look like from the inside.
Artist's drawings show what the Consol Energy Center will look like from the outside.
Share with others:
Hockey nights in Pittsburgh might never be the same.
Not when you can sink your fanny into a cushy leather seat, drink from a fully stocked refrigerator, watch replays on a flat-screen TV, and have access to a concierge.
They are just some of the amenities that await lucky fans -- well, mainly corporations -- who have the financial heft to pluck down $115,000 to $150,000 a year for one of 66 suites that will be available in the Penguins' new home.
For those on more meager budgets, the Consol Energy Center still will offer more comfort than Mellon Arena, with padded seating, more leg room and spacious open concourses from which fans can watch the action even while waiting in line for a hot dog.
"The seats in this arena will be the most comfortable in sports," said Penguins President David Morehouse.
Today, about a year and a half before the new arena will open, the Penguins will begin making their sales pitch to suite, club and season ticket-holders from a marketing center at One Chatham Center, where one can visit a replica of a new suite, view a model of the Consol Energy Center, and plop down in the leather seats.
Suite or no suite, the team is expecting the 18,087 seats in the new arena -- 1,147 more than in Mellon -- to go fast.
With 14,000 current season ticket-holders and 5,000 fans on a waiting list, Consol Energy Center could be sold out well before the first puck is dropped, Mr. Morehouse said.
"It's conceivable that we could sell out before we get to the general public [to sell tickets]," he said.
But the team doesn't intend to let that happen. As in the past, it plans to hold back several thousand tickets each game for students and the general public.
While the recession has sapped corporate and household budgets and drained 401K plans, Mr. Morehouse expects the demand to be strong for tickets in the new arena, which will open before the 2010-11 hockey season.
He noted that the team sold out all of its 53 suites in Mellon Arena for the first time this season and had a 96 percent retention rate on season ticket-holders. It also has sold out every home game in each of the last two seasons.
Most suite holders also have expressed an interest in moving into the new arena, he said.
"If the economy is still in trouble in 2010, we're all in bigger trouble than selling an arena," he said.
The prices for the 12-person suites will be up from the current $95,000 to $100,000. There will be 66 in all, including four party suites that can be rented for a single game.
For those who can afford them, the suites, in addition to the leather seating and flat screen TVs, will pamper guests with Italian ceramic tile flooring, bamboo cabinets, and quartz countertops. The suites, which will open directly into the arena bowl, will be in the middle of the new building, not at the top as they are at Mellon.
Club seats will be located in rows 1 through 26 at center ice. There will be 2,000 in the new arena, 200 more than in Mellon. Prices will go from the current $127 a game to $150 at Consol. The Penguins also will offer a new loge box priced between a suite and club seat.
While the pricing hasn't been set for most of the other seats, officials said 41 percent of all tickets, all in the upper concourse, will be priced below $50. Some will be as low as $22.
Mr. Morehouse said the pricing is designed to keep the team about mid-point in the National Hockey League, while enabling it to stay competitive.
Unlike other major professonal leagues with more lucrative national television contracts, such as the National Football League or Major League Baseball, hockey teams rely more on ticket sales as a chief source of revenue.
First Published April 15, 2009 12:00 am