WILKES-BARRE TWP. — The signs on the Mohegan Sun Arena can stay in place for quite a while under a new naming-rights deal announced Thursday.
The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority will receive $2.875 million over 10 years via the agreement with Mohegan Sun, which boasts a casino, hotel, convention center and harness racing track nearby in Plains Township.
Ed Harry, chairman of the 11-member authority that oversees the arena, said the partnership has worked out well for the first 10 years.
“We are looking forward to continue another 10 years,” Harry said.
The authority will receive $275,000 for each of the first five years of the contract and $300,000 for each of the remaining five years. The term runs from January 2020 to January 2030.
Under the existing contract, the authority was paid $225,000 for the first half and $250,000 for the second half.
Having its name on the arena and having it seen by people who attend the shows, hockey games and events there enhances Mohegan Sun’s efforts to make a positive impact in Northeastern Pennsylvania, said Erica Tessier, vice president of marketing at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
“And I know that Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza and Mohegan Sun Pocono have a mutual understanding of our importance in striving to be the most responsible ambassadors in the region,” Tessier said.
Mohegan Sun Pocono is one of the “largest economic influencers” in the region, added Brian Sipe, who manages the arena for SMG.
“Our sponsors are truly the lifeblood of the venue and our partnership with our friends at Mohegan Sun Pocono has been second to none,” Sipe said.
The naming-rights announcement coincided with the 20th season for the facility that opened in late 1999. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, who play in the American Hockey League, have been the anchor tenant since then.
Negotiations have begun for new contracts with the Penguins and SMG.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins president and CEO Jeff Barrett recalled moving to the area in 1998 to prepare to start up the team. He acknowledged he had “no idea” what to expect.
In the 19 seasons the club has skated here, it’s been in the playoffs 17 times, played 746 regular season games, 103 playoff games and sent numerous players and coaches on to the NHL.
“We’re really excited about this season,” said Barrett.
Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.