Chevrolet Centre/Global Follow-up

30 07 2006

Following up on my article from Friday, I’ve learned why the Mahoning Valley Thunder have their offices on 224 in Boardman and not at the Chevrolet Centre, and also learned a little about where they’ll be practicing. 

The answer: their offices aren’t in the city because Global Entertainment refuses to allow them to have offices in the Chevy Centre, and because the Steelhounds are considered the main tenant (because Global owns the CHL), the Thunder won’t be allowed to practice at the arena.  

As mentioned Friday, the other Global-owned arena, the Dodge Arena in
Texas, also has two sports teams: the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (CHL) and the Rio Grande Valley Dorados (af2). I wonder if the Dorados receive the same sort of second-class treatment.  

These conditions are exactly why I question the tactics Global uses in managing the Chevrolet Centre. It’s a known fact that football is much more popular in Youngstown than hockey, and if the people of this valley warm to the different pace of game arena football presents (I have a feeling we will, and if some don’t they may accept the general entertainment experience a game offers), it has the potential to make much more money for the arena and the city. If this were to be the case, why relegate the Thunder to this lower class? 

This further exemplifies the problems Global gives this city with their management. Yes, the Steelhounds are in the league they run, but does it have to come to the point where Global plays Art Modell and the Thunder play the Cleveland Indians, back during the “mistake on the lake” era?  

Once again, the unfairness and dishonesty that Global gives us cannot continue.  

In closing, I’d like to make a plea to all those who are reading. If you like what you’re reading, and if you feel Global needs to change the way they run the Chevy or just kick them out altogether, e-mail Global. It isn’t much, but when a group of us voice our concerns individually, this can be called to Global’s attention. So drop them a line: gecadmin@globalentertainment2000.com





Chevy Centre, Global Entertainment, and Thoughts on Their Possible Divorce

28 07 2006

In about three months, the Chevrolet Centre will celebrate its one year anniversary between the Market St. and South Ave bridges. We can say our arena’s first year has been, if nothing else, at least well-documented. Articles on its concerts, ice shows, Steelhounds games, and any other event it may have hosted were considered front page news for the Vindicator. However, for all the events the paper covered, they published almost as many reports on the follies and shortcomings of its management, the Phoenix-based Global Entertainment.

Yes, you remember seeing stories on the top fold whenever you got the paper. You read about problems before the arena was completed, when the Steelhounds of the Global-owned CHL used their “no-compete clause” to ensure the now-Mahoning Valley Thunder wouldn’t play in 2006, even though their seasons don’t overlap each other (Yes, I was opposed to this greatly, being a great arena football fan who for years has awaited the arrival of a Youngstown team). There was the finding that the most profitable concert in 2005 was Lil Jon, whose attendance was 804. There was the embarrassing story when in April the Centre forgot to include the price of parking in their ticket prices. Even after it had opened, the city still had to approve contracts for additional work on the arena, causing it to go well over Global’s estimated budget.

Then a double-whammy was reported just two days ago. First, the Chevy reporting loses of over $130,000 in June, despite Global’s promise of a $17,616 profit, believing they could bring two concerts and a boxing card here, none of which happened. Second, through the arena’s first nine months, the projected profits set by Global are in sharp contrast to our actual profits: our arena has made $113,148, compared to an estimate of $669,880. Then you have to look at what Global will receive for managing the facility this fiscal year: something in the neighborhood of $300,000.

Now, to be fair, for the next fiscal year, Global will be make up for half the debt the city incurs from the Centre, and half of that would take away that 300 grand and more, and will pay the city if they lose money from the Centre. They’re also guaranteeing $600,000 to the city for the next fiscal year, but will also be given a flat rate of 12,500/month for management, compared to the current 4% of operating expenses. I take issue with the last two. First off, why are they guaranteeing us once again the arena will make 600 k, when they promised about the same estimate last year and we’ve seen that fall flat on its face through nine months? As to the new fee for managing the facility, perhaps this could work to our advantage during the winter months when events are abound, but in the down months, like in June, they could stand to make more than twice as much as they make at the moment.

What I’m also disappointed in is that Global, while lying to us, doesn’t even try to attract the kind of events here it attracts to the other currently operating arena it owns, the Dodge Arena in Hidalgo, Texas. Let’s compare event calendars:

Chevy Centre:

  • Summer Soul Fest, August 4
  • WWE Raw, August 26
  • Staind w/ Crossfade and 3 Days Grace, September 12
  • Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey Circus, September 14-17
  • Doodlebops Live, October 21
  • An American Holiday (Butler benefit) December 2-3.

Dodge Arena:

  • Fast & Furious Boxing, August 4
  • Ricardo Arjona, August 10
  • Aventurera, August 19 (2 shows)
  • Scorcher 7 (festival sponsored by
    Texas advert. Firm), September 3
  • Fists of Fury Live Professional Boxing, September 15
  • Shakira w/ Wyclef Jean, September 25 and 26
  • Vincente Fernandez, October 14
  • Blue Man Group, October 16
  • Motocross, February 23-24

Granted, Dodge features several Hispanic performers, and can attract a few more events indoors in the summer being in south Texas, but Shakira? For two shows??? In an arena the same size as ours??? Chevy, in comparison, so far only has Staind, which will be in town for one day, and Rock 104 had more to do with bringing them here than Global did. It’s also somewhat infuriating the Blue Man Group is coming there when over here we’ll have to go to the Q. I personally think a touring Blue Man Group would do well here, because the show, I believe is better in a smaller setting, and for this area I believe it could sell out with little difficulty.

You may not feel the same way, but I feel the city is positively being screwed by Global. They promised a lot more than they delivered, and when you compare our events to Dodge’s it’s a slap in the face. Yes, I understand we’re in between Cleveland and Pittsburgh when Hidalgo is nowhere near Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio or Fort Worth (the closest big city to them is Corpus Christi, some two hours away when driving), but do you think the acts they get or have gotten would consider playing a venue with a capacity of 5,500 half the time? I think in a lot of cases, they might’ve just skipped the area altogether for the larger Texas cities. To me, it shows Global is working much harder to pull events towards the Dodge then they are with the Chevy, and I have to say I’m not sure I want to know how they’ll manage our arena in the coming years.

This is why I support at least looking into a new group to take control of the Chevy Centre. I’m not going to fully endorse it right now, since I want to see how Global handles things during the second year of the arena. I’ve presented all the evidence: highly inflated profit projections, debts incurred by the city, eye-opening figures in the red, calling into question their commitment to bringing events to the city; if this happens in year one alone, why should we continue to settle for this? I guess one could ask the Budweiser
Events Center in Colorado, which was built by Global but has since bolted from their management and now managed by Global Spectrum (manager of Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center and the major venues in
Philadelphia).

Sometimes, I feel like the city voluntarily allows Global to hold us by the throat when it comes to the arena. Between constantly restructuring deals, regular reports of shortcomings, and the usual lies, has anyone thought we could do better?

Youngstown doesn’t deserve this sort of incompetence, and we cannot passively allow it to continue.

 

Links

Vindicator Article

Chevrolet Centre

Dodge Arena

Global Entertainment

Global Spectrum





Only on Here- The JIM TERRY Interview

24 07 2006

By now, you know who Jim Terry is. Whether you’ve seen him on TV or read about him in the newspapers, you know him for his eccentric behavior and his refusal to keep quiet when speaking out about his team, the Mahoning Valley Hitmen.

Whether you like it or not, Jim Terry has become the most recognizable person in the Mahoning Valley right now. Now, he’s taking the time to talk to New YTOWN.

 

 

NewYtown: Alright thank you for agreeing to this

 

JIM TERRY: SURE

 

NewYtown: First off…do you want to make an opening statement of any kind?

 

TERRY: I thank you for the chance to answer questions on your site. I think it’s great to be able to hit all branches of media BIG and small.

 

NewYtown: Thank you. I appreciate this as well, feeling my site has scored a major early victory by being able to interview who is possibly the most recognized man in the valley right now

 

NewYtown: I’ll start with this: I think you would agree with me that you’re more than a little eccentric when you promote your team.  Some might say you’re a little insane. Is there a method to all this madness?

 

TERRY: Yes. Most teams at our level of pro indoor football don’t do a good enough job getting the word out. As you can tell that is 1 problem the Hitmen will never have.

 

NewYtown: when you were with the Carolina Ghostriders, the Citizen-Times reported that your motto was “no press is bad press.” Do you think your taking that maxim to an extreme, given the kind of press you’ve created for the Hitmen and yourself?

 

TERRY: I was the head coach of the Carolina team for about 3 weeks never got paid and the team folded. I did not own that team. I do think no press is bad press. You can push the line on many things but its all in fun. You’re not going to make everyone happy. So as of now no press is bad press. I am still owed thousands of dollars from the
Carolina team. So is Ms Williams a friend of mine who worked with the team. I have seen the good and bad at this level that’s why I know what to do now that I have a team I can do what I want with.

 

NewYtown: I didn’t say you owned them. I knew you were coach and gm. sorry. So you’d say that Robert Boyd was grossly unprepared to run the Ghostriders?

 

TERRY: Yes. He would even say that. He just won a $430 thousand dollar law suit against Andrew Haines of the AIFL and I should get my money if that ever gets paid.

 

TERRY: I still talk to Rob a few times a week.

 

NewYtown: If even he would say that, then why bother investing in the first place?

 

TERRY: some times people that watch football think they can run a football team that’s where the problems begin.

 

NewYtown: Alright. Now I think there’s still some uncertainty to this: Is Maurice Clarett signed and ready to play?

 

TERRY: It’s very simple…Clarett’s contract has some incentives in it about number of people at the game. We need to see how many people can fit in our arena total through the fire marshal before that is signed. As soon as WE KNOW HOWMANY PEOPLE THE THUNDERPLEX CAN HOLD HE WILL SIGN. Dave Anderson is doing a huge softball expo so when that’s done we will have him signed. For GOD sakes Clarett said this in front of the TV RADIO AND NEWSPAPERS “I will sign with the HitMen” People still don’t want to believe we got him.

 

NewYtown: All I wanted to know was if it was still a verbal agreement or if it had been set in stone…Now are you concerned at all about the possibility of jail time? The fact that the last time he played competitively was the 2003 Fiesta Bowl?

 

TERRYhttp://www.wkbn.com/news/local/3291466.html?skipthumb=Y. See they tried to trash me, then he signed…He is still the big name in the area and the best athlete in the area. The Thunder wanted him and we got him. I don’t see him going to jail.

 

NewYtown: There is a lot of speculation he is out of shape, and those who say that have a case since being cut by
Denver. Has he done any kind of open workout with you?

 

TERRY: No. Not yet

 

NewYtown: Do you plan on conducting one or an open try-out anytime soon?

 

TERRY: We will see how he does in camp. Clarett’s football playing ability has never been in question.

 

NewYtown: Even though he’s your franchise player, you still have 2 other guys on your roster: Ray Marrow and PJ Mays. How’d you get into contact with them?

 

TERRY: I played against Ray we are friends and Coach Green with the Mahoning
Valley hardhats (semi-pro) got us with P.J.

 

NewYtown: Concerning the Thunderplex, we know it’s mostly a baseball/softball facility. How will it be set up to host the Hitmen?

 

TERRY: Dave Anderson already has that set up. We needed the space and people to help set it up. He is perfect for that. I would take the Thunderplex over the ICE ZONE or Chevy
Center any day. Ice Zone is too small and Chevy Center is too high of rent for this level of pro football indoor or AF2.

 

NewYtown: I was going to ask about the Ice Zone…The Vindicator said negotiations fell through because Bruce Zoldan wanted to see a business plan and financial specifics. Should this be a cause for concern among fans? Because I think we all, and I hope you as well, want to see a team that is here to last and is on solid financial footing.

 

TERRY: That is a lie. He never asked for that! We were told we could rent the ICE ZONE. He just backed out then would not talk to me face to face about it. It’s that simple. We were only renting his place. Everything happens for a reason. I love the Thunderplex!

 

NewYtown: So you’re saying The Vindicator got its facts wrong?

 

TERRY: I am saying after Zoldan backed out he looked bad so used that as an excuse. He still won’t talk to me publicly about it.

 

NewYtown: So you could say he’s another person who is out to make you look bad and see you fail?

 

TERRY: Not at all he just had other reasons for not wanting us and just did not want to come out and say it. We are past Zoldan now and it did not take long to find a better place.

 

NewYtown: Now forgive me if I’m being misled by The Vindicator again, but by the way they reported, it sounded as if you would’ve lost the chance to play in the Thunderplex as well, had you not shown up in Dave’s office with Maurice Clarett.

 

TERRY: Not that I know of.

 

NewYtown: Well they seemed to imply that.

 

TERRY: That has never been said to me by Dave Anderson

 

NewYtown: And I take your word for that. He speaks highly of you, aside from some concerns he had about the way you were running the franchise early on…Now given your “get whacked indoors” slogan, the website design, and calling Maurice Clarett your Hulk Hogan, can we expect the EIFL to be akin to the XFL, but an indoor version? Or will it be a more traditional indoor football league?

 

TERRY: more traditional indoor football league-BUT MORE FUN. I know what the people need to see to keep interest. We have a few more tricks in the next few months

 

NewYtown: So it’ll be football, but with a more carnival-like atmosphere with other attractions beside the game to draw people?

 

TERRY: YES INDOOR FOOTBALL WITH A SPICE… http://app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060722/SPORTS/607220442/1002 HERE is a great story about another team in our league.

 

NewYtown: If I can move back to the AIFL for a moment…before Carolina you coached
Steubenville, but resigned a week before the 1st game, and I think the whole thing was a little controversial. After having two bad experiences with the same league in one year, have you severed ties with the AIFL for good?

 

TERRY: They still owe me money. I don’t think the AIFL will be around next season several of the teams are jumping to other leagues this week. I read about it on www.ARENAFOOTBALLWEEKLY.com I get all the news first on that site.

 

NewYtown: I heard you played 1 game in the af2. Could you talk a little about that?

 

TERRY: I was in the AF2 in 2000 and filled in 1 game for a kicker named Tom Sellers who was out. My check came and it was $167.00 after taxes we had no food or place to stay. It was bad but I always wanted to say I played Arena Football and I did that in the AF2. SELLERS WAS DUE back the next game so I headed to the IFL AND SIGNED IN JOHNSTOWN

 

NewYtown: Yeah you’ve played in other indoor leagues I know.

 

TERRY: I made 300 a game and had food and housing.You need to give your players more then just $200 a game.

 

NewYtown: I agree with that actually…but I’m running short on time so I’m going to finish up here…the EIFL allows you to spend $5,000/week on player salaries..is Maurice going to be exempt from that?

 

TERRY: No we can fit him in easy.

 

TERRY: Make sure to check out all the info on www.MVHITMEN.com and www.EIFLFOOTBALL.com 

NewYtown: Mr. Terry, thank you very much for taking the time and talk to New YTOWN.





The Prospect of a Youngstown Film Festival?

23 07 2006

I want to state this bluntly: I believe a film festival could succeed in Youngstown.

Yes, this probably goes against my belief in finding attractions and businesses that will succeed in a downtown for a city under the conditions of Youngstown, and not instead referring to other, much larger cities and their plans, since a downtown in a city like Cleveland is a completely different animal compared to Youngstown’s downtown. However, a film festival in the city could be an exception, and this piece is setting out to prove why it is an exception.

For starters, there are many people in the valley who patronize the artistic ventures of the city. The Youngstown Symphony, for example, often plays to near-capacity audiences at Powers, and these same people are often supportive of the Broadway shows that make their way into the city every now and again. One could also point to the Butler Institute,
being a mainstay on Wick Avenue for well over eighty years. For something more recent, you can say that the peoples’ support for the arts in the valley has contributed to the construction of the Ford Recital Hall extension of Powers, allowing for more performances to be conducted at Powers throughout the year.

A second issue to look at is the prospect of many venues for screens in the near-future. Powers Auditorium has the capability to show films, so naturally it would be the site of the highlight features. One of the Ford Center’s intended uses was for it to show films among hosting concerts, so that creates screen number two. For screen number three, the festival could be able to utilize the screening room at the Butler Museum, which is a small, intimate venue with a capacity more in line with most multiplexes. Finally, there’s the supposed-restoration of the Paramount Theater, which would create a fourth screen, and possibly a fifth screen as well. I remain somewhat pessimistic about this project, given the
restoration company’s reputation, so I will believe it when I see it. Should the Paramount project fall apart, I’d imagine YSU would offer support, lending one of their auditoriums for use. Keep in mind that thisfestival is intended to be strictly within the city, and was never thought to be held in one of the multiplexes in Boardman or Niles.

Now, I’d like to talk about the film festival itself. There is no way a festival in this city could reach the level of significance and media attention as Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, etc. have been able to garner. I also don’t believe a Youngstown festival accepting any and all
independent films, like the festivals in Cleveland, Austin, or Tribeca, would work either, primarily because this location is unattractive for movie executives on the west coast who find it difficult to get here (since they’d most likely fly to either Cleveland or Pittsburgh), which in a way defeats the great service festivals provide: shed light on independent films in the hopes of a Hollywood studio buying the rights to it (Don’t think that the service of providing art takes a backseat to this, because that is the greatest and most important reason to host a festival. However, nine out of ten filmmakers make a film so that it can become widely shown throughout the country, and the other large purpose of a
festival is so these films can be seen by the public and executives alike). This is why I believe Youngstown could succeed as a niche festival, meaning the films shown have certain central themes and would resonate with the people attending the festival (an example of a niche festival would be the countless gay and lesbian festivals throughout
the world, and I don’t have to tell you the themes of the movies they show, or who they appeal to). So, now that we’ve established the fact Youngstown will be a niche
festival, we need to figure out the theme we’re looking for in films. This is
already covered.

Even though I firmly believe this valley needs to put our steel working past behind us, the fact remains that the valley is and always has been blue-collar oriented. I’m proposing a festival for our city would showcase films that were shot or are set in an industrial locale, and/or storylines that feature themes that would identify with working-class people. This works,because should a studio want to find a film in line with the films we show, they would know where to go, and because much of the population in the valley could still identify with the films shown, regardless if they worked in a mill or not, because the working class values have always been deeply rooted in the valley.

 In closing, whether you’re a supporter of the arts in Youngstown, a downtown enthusiast, a film-lover who wants to get away from the overblown Hollywood films the multiplexes show, or just someone who’d appreciate a different and entertaining annual event in the city, a Youngstown Film Festival has the potential to be a highly successful event in our valley. I have full confidence when I say this, because the people here are highly appreciative of what is offered to them, and the support we would put towards a film festival would certainly enhance Youngstown and its connection to the arts.





Welcome to New YTOWN!

23 07 2006

Welcome to New YTOWN, a site devoted to discussing the events and the future possibilities of the city of Youngstown, Ohio. There is already a small but vibrant list of blogs devoted to the city, and I’m excited to be joining their ranks.

Let me tell you a little bit about what we’ll be featuring on the site. We’ll feature editorials, event postings, photography, and general news pertaining to the city and the valley. The general theme of this blog is to look ahead to what the city can offer in the future, not look back at what it did in the past.

With that in mind, this site intends to be realistic. By that I mean I want to talk about the prospects of something that could succeed under the current conditions of this area, and not talk about ideas that when you look at it further, it could succeed possibly in Cleveland or Columbus, but could fall flat on its face in Youngstown.

With that said, welcome! Check back often for future postings.