Evansville IceMen Release Official Statement Regarding Lease Negotiations [UPDATE]
The Evansville IceMen release a statement to the media, with comments from owner Ron Geary that paint a picture IceMen are hoping they wouldn't see.
Each time one side makes a comment on the ongoing negotiations to keep the IceMen in Evansville, the less likely it seems it's going to happen. The following release came directly from team's Department of Media Relations:
On Wednesday, the City provided its best offer on what it is financially willing to do for a new lease. The City said it was up to the IceMen whether or not to accept the City’s proposal. “Not only is the offer far short of what we hoped for, their best offer is actually worse than the current lease. We have been telling the City since February 2015 that we need a better lease. If that is the best the City can offer us there is simply no way we can accept it,” said Geary.
It is the IceMen’s understanding that the City cannot move any further on the financial conditions of the lease terms. The City and the IceMen are several hundred thousand dollars apart on the deal. “The IceMen have been trying to find new ways to bring value to both sides in order to bridge the gap. We have done that by presenting new concepts to the City, including rink naming rights and new ways to bring more bodies into the arena which increases the City’s food and beverage revenue. If the IceMen hadn’t done that, we felt the gap would be insurmountable. It appears those efforts were just not enough,” said Geary. The IceMen will continue to try and find ways to make a lease possible in Evansville, and will explore all avenues to keep the IceMen in this area.
“As I have said before, I’m happy to have invested in the team and in the City, but after spending millions with no return we need a lease that is fair and does not take advantage of us,” said Geary. “I think we have the best fans in the league. I think that is the result of our organization developing a great game day experience. If we can continue that experience in the Ford Center it would be a best case scenario,” Geary added.
Earlier in the afternoon, Mayor Winnecke released a series of tweets that seem to suggest the City is planning for a future with a team other than the IceMen inside the Ford Center.
We'll update this story as more information becomes available.