Penguins sell out of luxury suites, loge boxes at new arena
By Tricia Lafferty
Published: Thursday, July 30, 2009
How suite it is.
Despite being more than a year away from their debut in the Consol Energy Center, the Penguins have sold all 66 suites for their inaugural season in 2010-11, the team announced Wednesday. They have also sold all 32 loge boxes, a premium seating arrangement offered at the new arena.
The Penguins will play their final season at Mellon Arena during the 2009-10 season.
The suites sold at a rapid pace considering they went on sale in March, and were gone within two months.
Team president David Morehouse is thrilled with the response, which could help keep the Stanley Cup team intact in the future.
"It means that we will be able to — if we continue to have the kind of success we had — be able to pay at the cap and put the best team possible on the ice," he said. "What happened this year wouldn't have been possible. When (owners Mario Lemieux) and Ron (Burkle) decided to go to the cap, they did so knowing the new building would have the revenue to back that up."
The Penguins hit the NHL salary cap, which was implemented during the 2005-06 season, for the first time this past season. The salary cap for the 2008-09 season was $56.7 million but rose to $56.8 million for the upcoming season.
Morehouse said the demand for these premium seats had been high even before the Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup. And while other professional sports teams are having a hard time selling seats at their new venues, the Penguins haven't run into that problem.
"It's because we're priced right for our market, and we understand our fans and business," Morehouse said. "And we have a great product for our future."
The suites at the Consol Energy Center cost about 20 to 30 percent more than those at Mellon Arena. A 12-person suite at the new arena ranges from $110,000-150,000, and the 18-person suite sold for $195,000. The few 24-person suites are priced at $250,000. Approximately 75 percent of the suites hold 12 people.
The loge boxes — which are designed for smaller companies — are a group of eight seats that sit in the bowl. While these fans are part of the crowd, the area also has a countertop, televisions and waitress or catering services. The loge boxes have been implemented in new arenas such as Columbus' Nationwide Arena, where members of the Penguins' organization found the arrangement appealing.
The Penguins have sold out all the suites at Mellon Arena for the past two seasons and the upcoming season. A waiting list — similar to that of the season-ticket waiting list — has been established for suites and loge boxes.
"We're very excited about selling out more than a year before moving into the new building," Morehouse said. "It says a lot about our team and fans. We couldn't be happier."
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