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Breaking news: UML to own Tsongas Arena by mid-January

October 26, 2009

Talked to a great and trusted source who is pretty much always right about this kind of thing at the Colgate game, and he says the deal is all but finalized and that ownership of the Tsongas Arena will be transferred from the City of Lowell to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell on or around Jan. 16, 2010. Details about the sale itself (price, etc.) beyond that are scant right now.

However, we do have a number of details about potential improvements to the Arena itself, and some info on what is going to happen with the Lowell Devils of the AHL (that one will make Lowell fans real happy).

As to the improvements to the arena, there are many in the offing.

1. No more Lite-Brite scoreboard, which will be replaced by a video scoreboard.

2. The school will invest in one of those wrap-around LED screens that will ring the inside of the top of the seating area.

3. There are plans, perhaps not yet finalized, to blow out one side of the largely-unused fourth level of the arena (the concourse is the third floor) where the spotlights are to make a proper, and giant, press and staff level. The boxes behind Sections A and B currently occupied by both gameday arena staff (sound, etc.) and media will then become more luxury boxes to help generate revenue for the school.

4. The U will be taking all revenues from advertisements within the arena, and that includes those on the boards and the ice itself. It will also take all concessions money. The current arrangement is obviously a split of some kind with the Devils.

5. Speaking of the Devils, they’re probably going to see their rent go up significantly (our source says it could increase three-fold or even more) in a take-it-or-leave-it scenario. If they accept the new, higher rent, then the school obviously profits considerably from the Devils paying more per game over their 41 home dates. If they don’t accept the new rent, then that’s 41 new days that the arena can be rented out to other acts. This would also, obviously, give the River Hawks first crack at whichever dates they want for the schedule.

6. There is talk of a video board being installed in the lobby facing out into the traffic circle in front of the arena that would advertise that day’s event (Lowell hockey, a concert, WWE, etc. etc.) or those upcoming.

7. Almost all of this would be done by the start of the 2010-2011 season.

Any further details we get will, of course, be passed on to you, the reader.

P.S. When the Lowell Sun eventually tries to take credit for these details, remember where you heard it first.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2009 5:02 pm

    Sounds like a good deal.

  2. UMassFan permalink
    October 26, 2009 6:36 pm

    Great news for Lowell! This is looking like it will be a very good year for the Riverhawks. Tsongas Arena is already one of the nicer venues to see a hockey game, but it is nice to see the that administration is looking to improve it.

  3. jrobes01 permalink
    October 26, 2009 9:56 pm

    Excellent news. With the scoreboard replaced and 41 new open dates available, (come on, the Devils will never take triple the rent, they’ll look for another sweetheart deal), the Tsongas should be able to bring in some big events/concerts that it may have lost out to Agganis or the Centrum Center in the past.

    Score another one for Marty.

  4. Peter permalink
    October 27, 2009 2:24 am

    Good to see this happen, especially after UML’s program was in jeopardy a few years ago. This shows that the support and overall status of the program has really turned around, and hopefully this already nice arena can become even better in the future!

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