Give us a renovation.
Apparently, the Carolina Hurricanes ownership and management doesn’t want people coming to the team’s games in Raleigh in the “So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999” mode. The arena opened in 1999 and it appears that it looks like a relic from a different century and that needs to change by the time Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon’s lease ends with local authorities in 2024. Because Raleigh is such a small market, previous Hurricanes ownership got a sweetheart lease in 1997 when Peter Karmanos decided to move his Hartford Whalers from Connecticut to the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. Dundon gets all of the revenue from the arena, pays nothing into the building’s maintenance but does pay $2.4 million in rent. But it is not 1999 anymore as the franchise president Don Waddell has pointed out.
“If you look around the league, for public buildings, we’re at the bottom of the league. It’s nothing that anyone did wrong. Those were the times back in the ‘90s. But if we’re going to be a sustainable franchise in this marketplace for a long time, the lease plays an important role. The economics of the deal have to change in our favor.” Raleigh has always been a worrisome franchise in that the market is so small. But the former owner Karmanos didn’t have any doubt about the viability of the franchise in 2015 when he said “we’d have to be idiots to move from here.” The prevailing though was the team’s arena lease, which extends through 2024, was one of the most team-friendly agreements in the league. The Carolina Hurricanes franchise is now on the clock for a new building or a renovated facility or possibly a relocation. It is just business, nothing personnel.