September 11, 2013

Civic Center: Pirates 'manufactured' lease crisis

On the eve of the bid for a resolution, trustees file a response to the Portland team’s claims on a lease’s validity.

By Edward D. Murphy
Staff Writer

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Neal Pratt, chairman of the Cumberland County Civic Center trustees, in a 2013 file photo. The civic center and Portland Pirates have begun firing salvos in court at each other, as the two sides struggle to reach a new lease agreement.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

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In this 2011 file photo, Portland Pirates CEO Brian Petrovek announces the Phoenix Coyotes as the Portland Pirates' new parent club at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Tim Greenway

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Under the previous lease, the team received no revenue from concessions.

The civic center later offered 65 percent of the revenue from sales of food and non-alcoholic beverages. Petrovek rejected it, saying it would not make up for the lost revenue from alcohol sales.

According to the civic center's figures for 2012-13, the 65 percent formula means significantly less money for the Pirates.

Based on those figures, the Pirates would have gotten about $10,000 per game under the formula that covered all concession sales.

Under the 65 percent formula, including only food and non-alcoholic beverages, the Pirates would get less than $6,600 a game.

In the papers filed Tuesday, the civic center's lawyer called the proposals "equivalent."

The two sides also are at odds over advertising revenue, specifically from "sub-naming" rights for portions of the civic center, such as the ice and luxury suites.

The Pirates claim the deal's provision to give the team half of the "above-the-ice" advertising revenue includes money for the sub-naming rights. The civic center contends the revenue from those and other naming rights belongs to the civic center exclusively.

It's unclear how much money is at stake in that part of the dispute. The civic center has not sold sub-naming rights in the past.

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

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