The Penguins and Consol Energy officially announced their unholy alliance sponsorship deal for the new arena today. The name will be Consol Energy Center. The deal will last 21 years and will expire when Sidney Crosby turns 44 or when a 65-year-old Gary Roberts returns for his second stint with the Penguins.
As far as cold, soulless stadium naming right deals go, this one is especially... blech... In the day and age of Qualcomm Stadium and T.D. Banknorth Garden, it's hard to get warm and fuzzy over a stadium name. But this one makes H.P. Pavilion sound like somewhere you could curl up on the couch and take a nap.
We always could live with Heinz Field or Mellon Arena as names because those names go beyond their industries and are some of the most important names in the history of Pittsburgh. We always were indifferent to PNC Park as a name because it doesn't matter what the name of that ballpark is when a glorified Triple-A baseball team inhabits it.
But "Consol Energy Center" sounds like the control panel of a blimp or something. It doesn't sound like the name of an arena for a major league sports team. It's going to take some for us to get use to saying "We're heading up to Consol."
We just don't understand why Consol needs to advertise to Joe Sixpack. It's not like you can go to Giant Eagle and buy a bag of coal. Who exactly is Consol trying to reach out too?
But very little of that matters. The bottom line is Consol wrote a very large check and the Penguins took it. They could demand the new arena be called "Mario Lemieux Drowns Puppies/Go Flyers Arena" and the Penguins would've agreed just as long as there were enough zeros on the check.
And unlike some other companies in the stadium-naming rights business, at least Consol isn't in the midst of receiving a big fat federal bailout.
Our biggest problem with today's news was the fact they gave out Ron Francis' number to Consol at today's press conference.
(Photo: Nate Guidry/Post-Gazette)