The Sprint Center’s most likely tenant bows out, increasing the chance that the new arena could be empty when it opens next fall.

Penguins Owner Rejects Kansas City 

The Sprint Center’s most likely tenant bows out, increasing the chance that the new arena could be empty when it opens next fall.

The new owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins officially ended speculation that the hockey team might move to Kansas City, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported last week.

Jim Balsillie, chairman of the company that makes Blackberry devices, scoffed at the idea of moving his team to the City of Fountains. Balsillie lives in Waterloo, Ontario, and told the paper he wouldn’t want a longer commute to see his team play home games.

"Kansas City? I mean, come on,” Balsillie told the Post-Gazette. “Now I've taken a 40-minute flight [to Pittsburgh] and made it two hours, and to an unproven market.”

Earlier this year, the Penguins appeared to be the best chance for Kansas City to land a tenant for the Sprint Center arena. Connecticut real estate developer Sam Fingold, who had sought to buy the Penguins, had suggested that he would consider moving the team to Kansas City.

But Fingold’s deal fell through in August, and Balsillie signed an agreement on October 4 to buy the Penguins for $175 million. The deal still needs approval by the National Hockey League. Balsillie told the Post-Gazette that he expects to work in good faith with Pennsylvania politicians to negotiate the details of a new arena for the Penguins.

“I think I’m going to take the politicians at their word,” Balsillie told the paper. “I’m going to work with people to do what I can.”

For Kansas City, that means finding a new potential tenant for an area that could be empty when it opens next fall.

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