PPG Paints Arena
Backstory and Context
PPG Paints Arena is a hockey Arena located in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The stadium is home to the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey
team and is owned by the Sports and Exhibition Authority (pgh-sea.com). Groundbreaking
for the arena occurred on August 14, 2008 (Pittsburgh Hockey.net). The Bank of
New York Mellon had first refusal on naming rights on the stadium (Pittsburgh
Hockey.net). The stadium opened in August 2010 and was
originally named Consol Energy Center. The new stadium opened with a Paul
McCartney concert (Pittsburgh Business Times). All sixty-six suites and thirty-boxes were
sold out for the inaugural season of the stadium (Pittsburgh
Hockey.net). The name of the stadium
changed when PPG made a twenty-year agreement with the Pittsburgh Penguins to
name the stadium after the company (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). The architect of
the project was Populous and the construction manager was PJ Dick/Hunt
Construction JV (pgh-sea.com).
The arena can hold 18,087 spectators
(pgh-sea.com) and is located on 2.5 acres of
public open space (pgh-sea.com). It has three public entrances one
located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and
Washington Place, one located on Centre Avenue next to the Church of the
Epiphany, and one on Centre Avenue near intersection with Lemieux Place (pgh-sea.com).
The Pittsburgh Penguins and real estate developer Horizon Properties Group made
an agreement to develop a nationally-franchised hotel adjacent to PPG Paints Arena
The arena cost 321 million dollars to develop (pgh-sea.com). A thirty-year revenue bond issue funded $290 million of the cost. The Pennsylvania Economic Development and Tourism Fund provides annual payments of $7.5 million (pgh-sea.com). Another $7.5 million is provided by the Pittsburgh casino license holder (pgh-sea.com). An annual rent of $4.1 is paid by the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Penguins are responsible for another $15.5 million (pgh-sea.com). The Commonwealth is responsible for another $10 million (pgh-sea.com). The SEA pays $5.5 million which is partly funded by a $2.75 million loan which is funded by a $2.75 million loan from the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County (RAAC) and the other $2.75 loan came from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) (pgh-sea.com). PPG Paints Arena is LEED-Gold certified and the first NHL arena receive a LEED certification (pgh-sea.com).
PPG Paints Arena was formerly known as Consol Energy Center. The natural gas and coal company had the original naming rights to the stadium before it opened in 2010 which costed Consol between $84 and $105 million (Pittsburgh Business Times). The deal was not supposed to expire until 2031 (Pittsburgh Business Times). Consol, PPG, and the Penguins worked to get Consol out of the deal and give PPG the naming rights. PPG was known for making chemicals and glass but know focuses more on paints and coatings, as reflected in the stadium’s name. The company renamed its stores to PPG Paints. The company is based in local Pittsburgh. Viktor Sekmakas, executive vice president for PPG, stated that the deal was a "major opportunity to showcase how our products protect and beautify the world" (Pittsburgh Business Times). Garrison Hughes, which worked with PPG on local Pittsburgh community project Colorful Communities with PPG, was the only other company part of the marketing campaign. Garrison Hughes stated “It’s being part of the community and it’s definitely a branding strategy. This is a way to seed the awareness of PPG being a paints company and shed the glass business reputation even more. And it gives them a bigger presence. One way to capture attention is to put a name on a building that thousands and thousands walk up to throughout hockey season. That will definitely raise awareness” (Pittsburgh Business Times).
Penguins President David Morehouse told reporters that several companies asked about naming rights and were interested in purchasing naming rights if they became available. He stated that it was “not until PPG made a firm offer did we decide to go and approach Consol" and that "from our close relationships with Consol, we knew that their business priorities were changing” (Pittsburgh Business Times).Consol’s CEO Nicholas J. DeIuliis said it was time to relinquish naming rights and to "catapult the region to new heights" (Pittsburgh Business Times). DeIuliis wrote that "The decision to partner with the Penguins established our company as a household name, and chartered a transformative journey that would shepherd us on a new path toward the next 150 years," and that the name Consol Energy is as synonymous with our region as the other major brands that calls Pittsburgh home. We are forever grateful for that" (Pittsburgh Business Times). Ron Dick, associate professor of sports marketing at Duquesne University, said Consol's recent financial problems made them more willing to give up naming rights (Trib Live). Low gas and coal prices have damaged the company’s profits (Trib Live). For the second quarter that ended June 30, Consol reported a net loss of $603 million, or $2.64 per share. That was a much larger loss than the $25 million, or 11 cents per share, it reported for the same period last year (Trib Live). He also stated that many companies are now paying more to have their names placed on stadiums (Trib Live). Dick said that Consol probably wanted to get out from paying an annual five million dollars (Trib Live).
The PPG Paints Arena benefitted the surrounding community even before it was built. In the late summer of 2007, the SEA formed a partnership with the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County workforce development personnel to create twelve career-building workshops to promote opportunities in the building trades and other industries (pgh-sea.com). The workshops gave free resources to help people enter the building trades and growth industries and access educational and skills brush-up services (pgh-sea.com). The series of workshops was meant to reach out to economically disadvantaged communities (pgh-sea.com). The workshops were located in neighborhood centers in Rankin, East End, McKeesport, McKees Rocks, Wilkinsburg, North Side, Natrona Heights, Downtown (Hill District), West End, South Side, and Penn Hills (pgh-sea.com). Among the participants were the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania, Minority and Women Labor Education Agency (MWELA), Renaissance III 2000, Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE), CareerLink and Greater PA Regional Council of Carpenters (pgh-sea.com). The workshops became a region-wide career day called City County Career Day or C3. It was held on September 18, 2007 (pgh-sea.com). C3 was produced by CareerLink and was meant to promote economic opportunities in Allegheny County and the Pittsburgh area. Several industries were represented such as building trades, healthcare, technology, finance, advanced manufacturing, and hospitality (pgh-sea.com). The employers were able to directly interview potential employees. Over 4,500 people attended the convention (pgh-sea.com).
"2008 to Present: PPG Paints Arena (CONSOL Energy Center)." PittsburghHockey.net. Accessed December 07, 2017. http://pittsburghhockey.net/arenas/consol-energy-center.
Belko, Mark. "Consol Energy Center has become PPG Paints Arena." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 05, 2016. Accessed December 07, 2017. http://www.post-gazette.com/business/pittsburgh-company-news/2016/10/04/PPG-to-seek-naming-rights-to-Consol-Energy-Center-pittsburgh/stories/201610040140.
Boren, Bob Bauder and Jeremy. "PPG buys naming rights to Consol Energy Center for 20 years." TribLIVE.com. October 04, 2016. Accessed December 07, 2017. http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/11253250-74/ppg-consol-arena.
"PPG Paints Arena." Sports & Exhibition Authority. Accessed December 07, 2017. http://www.pgh-sea.com/PPGPaintsArena.htm.
Schooley, Tim; Tascarella, Patty. "Why PPG snapped up Pittsburgh arena's naming rights." Pittsburgh Business Times. October 04, 2016. Accessed December 07, 2017. https://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2016/10/04/why-ppg-snapped-up-pittsburgh-arenas-naming-rights.html.