September 26, 2013

Portland Pirates may play home games in Lewiston

Amid deadlocked negations with the Cumberland County Civic Center, the hockey team will hold a Thursday news conference at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

and Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

20130417_CCCCPirates
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Portland Pirates owner Brian Petrovek, above, and Ron Cain will host a news conference at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston at 2 p.m. Thursday to discuss the Pirates immediate future.

Gordon Chibroski

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The Cumber;and County Civic Center is currently undergoing a $33 million renovation. But the Pirates and the civic center are locked in bitter negotiations over a new lease, which could lead to the Pirates playing their home games in Lewiston.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

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The trustees meeting ended at 3 p.m. with no announcement.

Neal Pratt, chairman of the board of trustees, did not respond to a call for comment Wednesday. Other members of the board declined comment.

Cumberland County Commissioner James Cloutier, who is not on the board, said the lawsuit has its own course to follow.

"I do not know that the settlement process has been terminated," Cloutier said, explaining that the judge's order remains in effect. "That doesn't mean people have given up hope or haven't."

The Pirates' lawsuit claims that the two sides had a binding agreement in April to allow the team to play in the civic center when it reopens in January after a $34 million renovation. Petrovek has said the new lease would enable the team to make a profit for the first time since it was bought in 2000.

Pratt has said the announcement in April was based on a board resolution that outlined areas of agreement, but final negotiations were needed and a final lease would require another board vote.

According to a filing by the civic center in response to the Pirates' lawsuit, the two sides exchanged proposals until late August, when the Pirates were sent a "final offer" and given two days to sign the lease. Petrovek refused, and the team filed its lawsuit the next week.

Among the areas of dispute are advertising and concession revenues. The two sides agreed on the Pirates' percentage of concession revenue, but state liquor officials told the civic center that the team couldn't share sales of alcoholic beverages because it isn't on the liquor license.

The Pirates have rejected the civic center's subsequent offers of concession revenue, saying they wouldn't cover the revenue lost from alcohol sales.

The two sides also disagree on revenue from "sub-naming rights" for areas such as the rink and luxury suites. The Pirates say they are entitled to half, but the civic center says the deal doesn't cover income from naming rights.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

emurphy@pressherald.com

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