Jewish World Review Feb. 24, 2003 / 22 Adar I, 5763

Evan Weiner

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Why Gov. Ed Rendell is more important to the Pittsburgh Penguins' future than its owner


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Can Ed Rendell deliver for Pittsburgh something he could not do for Philadelphia while he was that city's mayor --- a sports facility?

Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell is in the same position that former governor, now head of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge was facing a couple of years ago.

The Pittsburgh Penguins need a new arena with new revenue sources or they may head to another city. Governor Ridge was a proponent of building a new arena but he left to join the Bush administration. Pittsburgh's mayor and the Allegheny county's chief executive support a new arena but claim that neither municipality has money for the facility.

The Penguins can put up about $108 million for an arena but new buildings now cost about $300 million.

So Governor Rendell, who pushed for two new stadiums in Philadelphia but couldn't get south Philadelphia politicians to back his plan, has become more important to the Pittsburgh Penguins' future than its owner, Mario Lemieux.

After all, he may have the money that Lemieux doesn't have to build a new arena.

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JWR contributor Evan Weiner is a radio commentator on "The Business of Sports" for Westwood One's Metro Networks. He is being presented with the United States Sports Academy's Distinguished Service Award for 2003. Comment on this column by clicking here.

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© 2003, Evan Weiner