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Ask The President - Q&A With David Morehouse

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
Ask The President is a new feature on Penguins President David Morehouse will periodically answer fan-submitted questions in a Q&A format.  If you would like to submit a question for consideration please use the form at the bottom of the page.

QUESTION: Are the Penguins going to continue to set aside Student Rush tickets for every game? I am a former student rusher and thought this was a great way to hook new hockey fans and create some new Penguins fans. I became a season ticket holder because of it and I lived 95 miles away while in college!
-Brad in Cheswick, PA

David Morehouse
First of all, thanks to everyone for sending in your questions. We hope to continue this give-and-take on the website in the future to give our fans a glimpse into team operations. In regard to Student Rush - it is an outstanding program and has received tremendous support from college and high school students throughout our region. We know of a number of current season ticket holders who began following Penguins hockey in earnest as Student Rush ticket-buyers. And we always want to have ways to reach out to the young people of our community. Obviously, with the recent surge in ticket sales, there won't be as much ticket inventory available this year. That's a good problem to have, of course. But continuing the Student Rush program is so important to us that we will hold aside a minimum of 200 tickets for the Student Rush every game. To avoid having students be disappointed by standing in long lines when there is not much inventory, we'll actually have a text message program, where students can sign up for Student Rush alerts. And they'll be on a list where they'll have a chance to be selected for Student Rush. When there is additional inventory available, we will have our traditional Student Rush program - tickets that go on sale one hour before game time.

QUESTION: What can you say about some of the amenities/main themes of the new arena? Also, what will the seating capacity be and when will the public get a peek at the designs?
-George in Wading River, NY

DAVID MOREHOUSE: As you can imagine, designing the arena is occupying much of our time right now - our goal is to build an exceptional arena that both the Penguins and the people of the region can be proud of. But it takes a lot of time and effort to get it right. When we are prepared to unveil our designs and drawings, we will hold a major press conference to present them to the media and the public. We have visited a number of the best arenas around the country and are getting helpful input from our hockey operations staff, as well our marketing and ticketing departments. We also will be conducting online fan surveys and holding focus group meetings among season ticket holders to continue to get fresh fan input during the design and construction process. The seating capacity will be approximately 18,500 - which will give us about 1,500 more seats than the current arena.

QUESTION: I had the opportunity to visit the Arena District in Columbus this year.   Are you (and the Pens) interested in a similar development around the new arena?  I thought the Columbus Arena District was awesome.
-Steve in Bethel Park, PA

DAVID MOREHOUSE: There will be tremendous development opportunities on the 28 acres currently occupied by Mellon Arena and its parking lots. The first major project, however, is to build and open the new arena. We are currently going through the required planning process for that project with the City of Pittsburgh. Once the new arena is opened in several years, the old arena will be torn down, clearing the site for development. There also will be a required planning process with the City for the development project. Each city and arena has its own opportunities based on geography, demographics and the needs of the population.

QUESTION: As a lifelong Penguins fan living in Maryland, I am disappointed that the season ticket waiting list includes only PA, WV and OH. What is the rationale behind preventing relocated Pens fans from the chance to acquire tickets?
-Barbara in Frederick, MD

DAVID MOREHOUSE: The Penguins are encouraged by the fact that we have so many fans from outside our market who are interested in purchasing season ticket packages to our games in Pittsburgh. The challenge we face, however, in this era of new technology, is with ticket brokers on the internet. Many of these national agencies are located out of state, and while they do not attend games or support our team, they do aggressively attempt to purchase multiple ticket packages. When successful, they turn around and re-sell those tickets to our fans in the Pittsburgh area for as much as five-times the gate price on unauthorized third-party websites. In effect, they scalp Penguins tickets and price-gouge our fans here in Pittsburgh.

The only way we can protect our local fan base and prevent these actions by national ticket brokers is to restrict sales of Penguins season tickets to within a 90-mile radius of downtown Pittsburgh and Mellon Arena. Our research shows us that the overwhelming majority of fans attending games come from within this radius, anyway. And, from a practical standpoint, we know it is difficult to be a season ticket holder and attend 21 or 43 games if you live more than 90 miles from the arena.

It is not a perfect system obviously, but it is a system we have had to implement on behalf of our loyal local fan base. There is no intent to discriminate against those supporters who reside across the U.S. or Canada - but we had to act to prevent these national ticket brokers from out-of-state to gobble up more and more season ticket packages for re-sale.

However, these geographical restrictions apply ONLY to our full (43-game) and half-season (21-game) season ticket plans. We understand that many fans make plans to travel to Pittsburgh to see the Penguins occasionally during the season. Therefore, the geographical restrictions will be removed so that all fans can purchase Penguins 6-Packs and 12-Packs as well as individual game tickets for the 2007-08 season when they go on sale later this summer.

QUESTION: Will the fans be polled on any of the options that have surfaced from studying other arenas in the league? Right now we're building the best team we can, let's also build the best facility too!

-Philip in Harrison City

DAVID MOREHOUSE: Philip, the arena design process is a very important and exciting endeavor which will have a lasting impact on the Penguins, our fans and the region. We are committed to building a state-of-the-art facility that will be the best in the NHL and serve as the centerpiece of the redevelopment and revitalization of the lower hill.

Receiving community and fan feedback is critical, and fans will be a part of the design process from the beginning. In the upcoming months season ticket holders will have the opportunity to take polls, answer surveys and participate in focus groups related to the design of the new arena.

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