Pirates future in Portland may be on ice

6:42 PM, Aug 29, 2013   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Back in April it seemed like a deal was all but certain when both sides agreed to terms that were acceptable to each other. That proposal would have kept the Portland Pirates in the city for at least the next five years.

What's happened since then is the negotiating continued on the specific details, that is up until this week when the Cumberland County Civic Center board apparently ended negotiations. It voted on what it considers its best and final offer to the Pirates.

Pirates' ownership has not signed off on the lease and time is quickly running out. In fact Civic Center officials wanted an answer by the end of the day Thursday.

Late last week the Pirates announced their schedule for the upcoming AHL season. With renovations at the civic center expected to last through the year, It listed January 17, 2014 as the first game to be played in that building.

But in reality, as of right now, the Pirates don't have a lease with the Civic Center.

While no side gets everything they want in deals like this there were some beneficial things which both sides agreed.

The Pirates get something they never got before: a percentage of concessions money. The Pirates would also get $1 of a proposed ticket surcharge.

The Civic Center would get 100 percent of the buildings naming rights.

The chairman of the Civic Center board of trustees says it's a fair deal for both sides and the time has come to put an to this one way or another.

"We have, I think, come to the point where we've made a proposal to the Pirates that represents what we think is a very fair and balanced proposal and one that is... one we're looking to have an answer from the Pirates in terms of whether it's acceptable," Neal Pratt told NEWS CENTER.

So what happens if the Pirates don't play here this season? Pratt says the Civic Center doesn't make money on the Pirates -- it only hopes to break even.

To make up for the lost revenue he says the Civic Center will try to fill those dates with concerts and other events that may actually turn a profit.

NEWS CENTER's Chris Rose spoke briefly with Pirates managing owner and CEO Brian Petrovek Thursday morning who said he expected to be in a position to comment late in the afternoon but we did not hear back from him.

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