Mario: I duped you
"We had to do a few things to put pressure on the city and the state, but our goal was to remain here in Pittsburgh all the way. Those trips to Kansas City and Vegas and other cities was just to go, and have a nice dinner and come back."
The Penguins have what appears to be a pretty sweet arrangement whereby the team pays only about $4-million a year and yet receives a $300-million, state-of-the-art rink and all of the revenues that come with it.
The remaining funds come in the form of $15-million from "gambling-related pots," half of which is via a state development fund.
It'd be interesting to know just how much Lemieux stands to benefit from the arrangement, as we don't know exactly how large his ownership share is in the team. What is clear is that Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle is a very, very wealthy man with a net worth of $3.5-billion.
If the 307th richest man in the world can't fund an arena project, who can?
What the new rink will do is boost the value of the Penguins franchise, which really hasn't been able to reap the rewards of the team's rise in the outdated Igloo. That won't be a problem now — and 2010 could bring a license to print money.
Given the mess the team was in when Lemieux took over, maybe it's not such a bad thing he'll finally be rewarded.