A new Young Arena lease agreement between the Waterloo Black Hawks and the City of Waterloo will lead to immediate investment in the landmark facility, the team said this evening.
During Monday evening’s city council meeting, members voted unanimously to approve the three-year deal, which includes an option for the team to extend the arrangement as far as 2022. A key provision of the lease allows the Black Hawks – at the team’s sole expense – to retrofit the rink with two luxury suites and an expansion of the Coors Light Cold Zone. Other terms encourage cooperation between the Hawks and Waterloo Leisure Services which will yield new ticket-plus-concession value packages for fans.
“Downtown Waterloo is a vibrant and exciting place to be right now,” said Waterloo Black Hawks Vice President of Sales and Marketing Joe Greene. “Look at the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, the Cedar Valley SportsPlex, and dozens of building or renovation projects. For the past decade or more, the result of these efforts has been new jobs, improved aesthetics, and more reasons to visit the community. The Black Hawks are excited to echo these developments in our own, unique way.”
City-owned Young Arena opened in the midst of the 1994/95 hockey season and has been the home of the Black Hawks for over 22 years. The team will pay all of the estimated $200,000 in expenses for improving the rink with the addition of two 20-seat luxury boxes. An additional $75,000 will be devoted to doubling the size of the popular Coors Light Cold Zone, which the Black Hawks opened in 2015. Both projects should be completed during the upcoming 2017/18 season. The Hawks are also exploring the future addition of a “Founder’s Room” which would offer more meeting and event space within the building.
“This lease is the essence of what a public-private partnership should be,” noted Greene. “The Black Hawks are adding value to this city property. Beyond that, the new concession structure replaces competition with collaboration, and fans will see that as we release details about game promotions in the coming weeks.”
In the prior arrangement between the parties, both the team and the city sold concessions at different locations in the arena. Now, the Black Hawks will be responsible for all alcohol sales; Waterloo Leisure Services will serve all food and non-alcoholic beverages.
“It is in everyone’s best interest to offer more value to the fans who are coming to hockey games in Waterloo,” Greene added. “That is a substantial way we can improve the fan experience. More and happier fans are good for hockey, for the facility’s sustained operation into the future, and for the other businesses and attractions downtown who benefit from tens of thousands of people making their way to the rink in the winter.”
The new lease also streamlines a complex structure of payments and incentive rebates – the elements of prior agreements – into one annual $75,000 facility fee which the Black Hawks will pay to the City of Waterloo.
From Wednesday through Friday this week, the Black Hawks will provide additional details about changes and improvements associated with various aspects of the new lease. Find out more about the agreement each day at waterlooblackhawks.com.
The Black Hawks’ 2017/18 United States Hockey League schedule begins in October; Waterloo’s first home game is on Saturday, October 14th against the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Season tickets are available now, and group reservations are also being accepted; for more details, call the Hawks at (319) 232-3444. Single-game tickets for all 30 home games will go on sale September 1st.