Luzerne County Convention Center Authority Approves New Agreement with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins

May 08, 2019 - 2:56 pm

The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority (LCCCA) has announced  it has come to terms on contract extensions with the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins and SMG Management, keeping both organizations at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township for the foreseeable future.

“The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority was fortunate in the past to have made the decision to associate with two stellar organizations; our management company and food and beverage provider, SMG, and the Pittsburgh Penguins organization with its American Hockey League team, the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins,” said Gary Zingaretti, LCCCA Board Chairman. “The partnership between the Authority and these fine organizations has served the citizens of Luzerne County and all of Northeastern Pennsylvania for almost 20 years. I would like to personally commend SMG, the Penguins, my fellow LCCCA Board members, County Council members and local politicians, both past and current, for their efforts over these past twenty plus years and during the recent negotiations. We are proud of our joint efforts to produce mutually acceptable, long-term extensions of these relationships.”

The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority unanimously voted on a resolution on a ten-year contract lease extension with the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins to keep the American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in Northeast Pennsylvania. The agreement calls for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to remain and play its seasons in the Authority’s Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for an additional ten years, commencing in July of 2019, subject to terms of the Lease.

“The Pittsburgh Penguins are excited to extend our long-term partnership with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the many fans and community partners who have made it such a success,” said David Morehouse, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  “We especially want to thank Senator John Yudichak and Authority Chairman Gary Zingaretti for their leadership and support. As we like to say in Pittsburgh, this is a ‘Great Day For Hockey.’”
As part of the negotiations, the Luzerne County Convention Center Authority has committed to invest nearly two million dollars over the next six years in venue enhancements, including the installation of a state-of-the-art LED ribbon board and LED lighting system.

“The Authority is committed to ensuring our venue remains a first-class facility providing our tenant, events and guests with the latest technological and energy efficient accommodations,” said Zingaretti. “With the addition of the ribbon board and lighting system, along with the venue wifi project, we are making substantial improvements to the fan experience.”

Contract extensions were also announced on Wednesday with the venue’s management team, SMG, and food and beverage services provider, SAVOR…Wilkes-Barre. Both contracts are for ten-year terms beginning in January of 2020. SMG has been the venue’s management services team since 2000, when SMG acquired Ogden Entertainment. SAVOR…Wilkes-Barre has been the food and beverage services provider since 2010.

The LCCCA also announced that Will Beekman, current Executive Director of the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre, has been named the new General Manager of Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza effective May 13, 2019. Beekman joins SMG after nine years at the Kirby Center, which included the last six years as the Executive Director. Beekman will take over for previous General Manager Brian Sipe, whom accepted the position of Booking Manager for the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky last month.

“We are delighted to have Will be joining the SMG team and confident that through his proven leadership skills and involvement in our community that our venue will continue its great success and remain the premiere destination for entertainment in the region,” said Zingaretti. “I’d also like to publicly thank Mr. Brian Sipe for his years of service to our venue and community and wish him and his wife Kaitlyn all the best in their new life ventures.”

Beekman served as both venue manager and talent buyer and has helped lead the Kirby Center into uncharted waters including being ranked #93 on Pollstar Magazine’s list of Worldwide Theater Venues based on tickets sales for the 2018 calendar year.

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