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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Our Phantom Economic Development

I want to share an email I recently received from a hockey fan.

The Phantoms' season is over and, once again, they failed to make the playoffs (finishing 7th of 8 teams in the Atlantic Division of the AHL).

Notably, the Phantoms won a sterling 14 home games this year (out of 38).

That means PA taxpayers forked over nearly $1 million in taxes per Phantoms home game victory to pay the debt service on the PPL Center.

That on top of the highest gas tax in the country (70 cents per gallon which beats even California!) and a governor who wants to increase any number of other taxes.

Any wonder both the NIZ and the CRIZ are having an extremely hard time landing new business from out of state?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

So of course his claim of being a hockey fan in bullshit. Hockey fans loved the venue and sold out the place more than any other minor league hockey team.

Stop the hate and be honest.

Anonymous said...

2:27 aam
Yea right thats why the streets were blocked off in this creating the illusion of all the patronage of after game gluttonous feasting and shit downtown, no mention or pic of shirts pulled over back of seats either to create the illusion that seat are filled with a human?!
Switch and bait and the smell is the only true hate of a circus, ofcours than there are the clowns that never seem to be part of the shows because these illusionist that are clearly dillusional are in city hall in seats ACTing as clowns in boards, comMISSIONS ACTing as advertismentalists in this failiar by design?!
Get some sleep you need it, will the donkey's be invading downtown next to the entrance for the used car salespeople, this subsect of the notorious hamilton street gang o thugs wear failiar well like the emptey garments they fill similiarto and like there heads!!
redd registered Republican
patent pending

Anonymous said...

I'm not a hockey fan so I don't know this. After two seasons, how well are the games attended ?

Anonymous said...

When you said phantom economic development, I thought it was going to be a piece about Diane Donoher and Northampton counties problems

Scott Armstrong said...

Add to this that the Masonic Temple in West Park is seeking a variance to become a half way house. Doubt me? Check out Molovinsky's blog later today.

Anonymous said...

6:28 am There was a Morning Call article last week saying that the team had 24 sell outs and is in the top 4 for attendance in the AHL.

Hate the NIZ but the Phantoms are the wrong folks to point the finger at. . I get the authors point on the NIZ, but the team has done its a fallacy to tie tax incentives spent to wins.

Anonymous said...

and you brought up the gasoline tax which was ostensibly passed so our decaying bridges and roads could be fixed. Unfortunately it was reported in ap awhile back the Pennsylvania state police are syphoning about half of the increase.

http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-pa-highway-dollars-free-police-20160312-story.html

Now I don't begrudge state police funding, but i do desire an honest transparent process.

Another peeve of mine is turnpike tools spiraling upwards. Users of the turnpike are being charged above and beyond the road costs to fund mass transit and other highways across the state.

Dave said...

It's not the Phantoms hockey team that is the problem downtown. They're not winners, but they do pack the arena, which means there are a lot of hockey fans in the area. Now if they make a profit for the season is something we don't know, the Flyers do. But as long as the Flyers are happy with the team in Allentown, they'll be there. From all indications they do.

The problem downtown IS all the b.s. that is put out about the success of the NIZ. It's an exercise in taxpayer funding of a building project, that if done in a traditional manner, would not get funding from commercial means. We have basically one developer who picks and chooses who sets up shop in his buildings and who doesn't. All construction is done on the taxpayer's dime on the premise if he builds it, they will come.

Hint, Allentown is a lot more than the few blocks of the NIZ. Three are a thousand other city blocks that make up the real Allentown north of Linden. Where is the benefit to those residents; not the few yuppies who live in the ratified air of the Strata Flats ?

Anonymous said...

How revolting, the thought of throngs of meat eating, beer swilling hockey people fouling the foundation of The Strataaa as smoke permeates the atmosphere. This cannot be, the EPA will be informed and appropriate action will be taken.

Anonymous said...

http://classifieds.mcall.com/classifieds/city-of-allentown-zoning-announcement-allentown-1

2. A-67628 1528-1552 Linden St Special Use Appeal of CHOR Youth and Family Services, Inc. to use 4,535 sq. ft. on 1st floor for OUTPATIENT HALFWAY HOUSE for up to 30 youths ages of 12-18 years, & share parking with Masonic Temple, being a use permitted by Special Exception under Article 1313.01.D & shared parking being permitted by Special Exception under Article 1321.01.0, located in a High Density Residential (R-H) & Traditional Neighborhood Development Overlay (TNDO) District.

Anonymous said...

I've been to a Phantoms game. Parked in the garage. Enjoyed the game. Left immediately afterward, as did the overwhelming majority of garage parkers. Traffic was well directed and sent game goers quickly out of the area, following the game. Not much synergy with the surrounding neighborhood. Iron Pigs games are the same story. The MC story acknowledges the season ticket packages that equate to good attendance in the first several years. After that, it's anybody's call.

Rudy Miller said...

I have to agree with the commenters on this one. I have been a Phantoms fan since they played in the Spectrum in Philadelphia. Despite their poor season, they do sell out the arena. I went to the final home game with my family and had a great time. Win, lose or draw it's a fun family-oriented night out or even a cheap night out with the guys. Not for nothing, but they did make a run at the end of the season and have some promising young talent. I wish the arena could have been built without public money, but I'm glad the Phantoms are close to home.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on posting an email devoid of any actual point. As long as it bashes downtown Allentown.

And tell the genius that yes, the governor needs to raise taxes. Anyone with eyes and a brain can see that.

Anonymous said...

We often go early to the games and go a local restaurant. The Hamilton inside the hotel the arena is attached to is a nice spot. I don't hang around after but would if there was a reason to at 10:00 at night.

Anonymous said...

@9:59 AM. If you believe you are under-taxed, then please, you can write Wolf a check for as much money as you want.

I prefer to take the money I earn and invest it for my retirement. Not give it to the government, sorry.

Anonymous said...

As a Phantoms full season ticket holder I have no complaints about the team or game experience. Sure, we would like a winning team and playoff appearances. That could come next year. Meanwhile, the fan experience is better than any other arena I have visited. There is tremendous energy and fun for fans of all ages. I have spoken with fans from Hershey and Wilkes-Barre who came to see their teams play at PPL. They all marvel at the facilities and game-related activities, especially the "Hometown Heroes" segment that honors veterans. It is a first-class operation as witnessed by sellout after sellout and the fourth-best attendance in the AHL v. larger arenas and championship teams (i.e. Hershey). So anyone who criticizes the Phantoms or arena is clueless.

Anonymous said...

7:43, you believe what the MC prints? Call me later. I have lots of swamp land for sale.

Anonymous said...

11:07 facts are facts. The Phantoms had 24 sellouts and are ranked #4 in attendance. You don't need the Morning Call to verify that.

Rich Fegley said...

I have enjoyed two great seasons of hockey at the PPL arena.

The Allentown Brew Works has great attendance before all of the games. After the games, we get a small crowd. I don't know why they feel the need to close and block so many streets around the arena. Do they block the streets after a game at Madison Square Garden? Traffic police are helpful but the streets should be left open. It feels like a ghost town on Hamilton Street after a game or concert.

Attendance at the games has always impressed me. Most of the 200-level seats always appear to be "sold" and there are people in the seats. The season ticket seats are sometimes visibly bare.

The Phantoms players play a solid game of professional hockey. I went to a few Flyers games in the 70's as a kid. I now love walking down the block to a Phantoms game.

Now...How did we get an arena? Who paid for it? What is going on with the NIZ? Let's wait to see what the FBI has to say about all of that.

George Ruth said...

Sell-outs of games is fine for the team because they get the money whether the 'fans' go to the game or not. I have been to more than a few Phantoms games and there are always tons of empty seats, no doubt purchased by the valley's movers and shakers at the behest of local politicians and Tony Ianelli's Chamber of Commerce. Once the arm-twisting wears off I can guaranty you a few thousand of those tix will not be sole...t least on a season basis. I saw that last Sunday at the Iron Pigs game where they announce a sell-out yet there were a couple thousand (at least) seats that were empty. They have been around longer than the Phantoms so the bloom might be off the rose a bit. Having said that it is a positive part of living in the valley to have this entertainment. However, I would rather not have it if the owners and players don't pay for it. After all: who pays to have you live in your home? This pro sports team blackmail and/or bribery of states and municipalities must end.

Anonymous said...

"And tell the genius that yes, the governor needs to raise taxes. Anyone with eyes and a brain can see that."

Translation: "And tell the genius that yes, the governor needs to raise taxes. Anyone who is a non-contributing sponge and/or a PSEA sychophant can see that.

Anonymous said...

"I saw that last Sunday at the Iron Pigs game where they announce a sell-out yet there were a couple thousand (at least) seats that were empty. They have been around longer than the Phantoms so the bloom might be off the rose a bit."

Not really. The Pigs have a huge season ticket base and in general and a lot of them don't show up to a lot of the games especially early in the season. I know because up until last year I was one of them. I had a 36 game plan from day one and maybe I went to half of my games at the most. Yet, my seats got counted towards towards a sell out whether I was physically there or not. Multiply that by a thousand or two and that's how you get a bunch of games especially in April where they announce a sell out when there's only seven thousand physically at the game.

George Ruth said...

7:21...I understand what your are saying, and you are making my point. Many of the seats are 'bought' by companies that are losing interest in the Iron Pigs. What a shame that these 'fans' can't find a neighbor kid or youth group to give their unwanted tickets to. At some point, and we may be getting there, those folks will feel less obligated to continue buying their ticket plans. I am not rooting for that, but it's just how it is. Just look at the 'sold' luxury tickets behind the plate at Yankee Stadium: they are sold but rarely used and most often not even passed on to employees of the companies that own them. Disgraceful on all counts.

Anonymous said...

Not everyone who sends you an email deserves to have it posted...

Bernie O'Hare said...

I was happy to post it.

Anonymous said...

Just spit balling...

...imagine if all that money was spent on a solar array and the electricity would have been given away to the locals free minus the maintenance costs, at least you'd be getting something on the investment and helping save natural gas reducing the need for nasty pipelines, not to mention the savings of other resources instead of the tax payer money pit it is becoming.

Oh wait it's call the PPL center.... never mind.

Anonymous said...

I prefer to take the money I earn and invest it for my retirement. Not give it to the government, sorry.

I prefer saving for retirement AND having safe roads, good schools, and a nice community. In my older years, it's not all about me me me. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Translation: "And tell the genius that yes, the governor needs to raise taxes. Anyone who is a non-contributing sponge and/or a PSEA sychophant can see that.

I'm happy you are fine with the crumbling infrastructure. You must be ready to kick the bucket, right grump grandpa?

Anonymous said...

I've been to three or four games this season. The games were all announced as sell outs, but the arena was never filled. The one game it looked like the place was half empty. All the games had atleast one empty luxury box.

Hank_Hill

Anonymous said...

"Many of the seats are 'bought' by companies"

I can only speak from my experience which is that I would agree with you when you reference companies buying many of the seats in relation to the boxes and suites at CCP but at least in the section I sat in (109) it was all individuals. Most of them, myself included, had bought their plans as soon as tickets went on sale prior to the inaugural season in '08 with a five year contract to lock in the per ticket price + seat location and then after the third or fourth season the Pigs offered either a three or five year extension so in essence in 2018 you could still be paying 2008 prices.

The rub is that if you signed up early enough and for a large enough plan it equaled some great seats but quite honestly it becomes a PIA to go to that many games especially since the Pigs have overall been miserable throughout most of their history and unlike most people there, I actually came for the baseball not to stuff my face with six big porker sandwiches, eight beers and three cobs of corn.

In the end the family no longer cared unless there was a "good" giveaway and unless it was a "good" giveaway or a weekend game I couldn't give the tickets away even with great seats but I knew that I would never be able to get seats like that ever again if I stopped renewing which is what kept me going my final two years. Finally I just decided that the seat location was no longer worth it but A LOT of people I know personally choose to pay for them year after year and maybe go to 1/3 or 1/4 of the games on their plan.