December 15th, 2008

CONSOL Energy Buys Naming Rights to New Penguins Arena

Pittsburgh Business Times

CONSOL Energy Inc. announced Monday it has entered a 21-year deal to acquire the naming rights to the new Pittsburgh Penguins hockey arena.

According to a release from Upper St. Clair-based CONSOL, the new arena will be called Consol Energy Center. It is scheduled to open in time for the 2010-11 National Hockey League season. The facility will also host other events.

“For more than 140 years, CONSOL Energy has been a part of the tri-state region’s history,” Brett Harvey, president and chief executive officer of CONSOL Energy, said in a statement. “We are proud to help write a new chapter in Pittsburgh’s history by sponsoring this wonderful new facility.”

CONSOL purchased the naming rights for an undisclosed amount.

After Monday’s announcement, Harvey said that after advertising with the team for some time, naming rights began to be a consideration.

The company sponsored the giant television screen outside Mellon Arena during last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, a hit with fans unable to buy tickets to the games.

“We are excited to extend our partnership with CONSOL Energy,” Mario Lemieux, co-owner and chairman of the Penguins, said in a statement. “We think there is some great synergy involving one of the nation’s leading energy companies, an energetic young hockey team and this vibrant city and region.”

Consol Energy Center has already created construction jobs and, due to the improved performance space, seating and technology, it is anticipated to attract more events and spur development, according to CONSOL.

“Millions in our region are powered by the coal and gas our employees produce every day,” Harvey said in the statement. “We believe the Consol Energy Center will extend that commitment by also powering the region with top-notch entertainment and future development.”

David Morehouse, president of the Penguins, said that the money from deal would go into the team’s general revenue. When asked whether the team considered Bank of New York Mellon, whose former name adorns the team’s old arena, Morehouse said the Penguins “talked to a number of companies.” Morehouse said BNY Mellon decided not to move forward although there may opportunities for the two to partner together in other ways.

In October, CONSOL reported third quarter profit today of $90.1 million, or 49 cents per share.

The Penguins went to the Stanley Cup Final last season, losing to the Detroit Red Wings. Currently, the Penguins are third in the Atlantic Division of the NHL Eastern Conference. Their next game is in Atlanta on Dec. 18 against the Thrashers.

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