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Reading Royals Lost Nearly $300,000 This Season

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08-19-2011, 05:22 PM
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Reading Royals Lost Nearly $300,000 This Season

http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=326957

Interesting, for the arena overall it was a lot less loss than expected. But almost $300,000? Is that considered a lot for minor league hockey? Does this bring question into the Royals future going forward?

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08-19-2011, 05:45 PM
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Well, the NHL Sharks have lost $3-5m/season.

(But that's a bit misleading as the parent company MAKES money, including running 3+ ice facilities near SJ, running HP Pavilion. And a tennis tournament, etc.)

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08-21-2011, 10:19 PM
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when you say the sharks, are you including concession sales or no? just wondering if the accounting puts that into the operation of the rink or the operation of the team

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08-22-2011, 10:33 AM
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when you say the sharks, are you including concession sales or no? just wondering if the accounting puts that into the operation of the rink or the operation of the team
NHL Sharks = team.

SVSE = NHL Sharks, AHL Sharks, operation of five ice rinks, management of HPPSJ, four tennis tournaments, etc.

Now, the NHL CBA has some definitions of what revenue is considered Hockey Related (HRR). Don't have the time at the moment to go and dig it up, but you can find copies online.

The numbers reported to the NHL, which do include a portion of suite income (prorated for Sharks only), parking (Sharks events only at team-controlled lots), merchandise (games, plus Sharks Store). Not exactly sure how concessions fit in.

Now, they may have a different set of $$s they use to report income to the public for the NHL Sharks entity.

(However, it seems pretty clear that SVSE makes a profit.)

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08-26-2011, 12:27 AM
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I sure hope nothing happens to the Royals. I love going to Royals games and sitting right behind the Royals bench. It did seem less full last season, but that's because this area is full of too many people that don't like hockey cause they aren't from a "hockey place". Its sad to see what the city of Reading is turning into. But that's beside the point.

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08-26-2011, 02:39 AM
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I sure hope nothing happens to the Royals. I love going to Royals games and sitting right behind the Royals bench. It did seem less full last season, but that's because this area is full of too many people that don't like hockey cause they aren't from a "hockey place". Its sad to see what the city of Reading is turning into. But that's beside the point.
They claim it's a lot of corporate people who gave up tickets after the dreadful 08-09season. But the team has gotten better...

We went through this in Elmira, though the real rumor with that is the oh great Afr was screwing them over somehow. The guy has a horrific track record. It's weird though attendance has picked back up without them. I think it's better advertising and more group stuff. The first few years there really weren't many groups at games. I'm not sure that this is a Hockey town but we did have a college team for a few decades so we were pre exposed to the game. The fact they get people from like 3 different counties and only have 4K seats I think is a benefit.

Your city can't be that bad. Ours is horrific nobody young wants to stay here(myself included)and we have 2 state prisons so that brings down the value quite a bit.

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08-27-2011, 03:40 PM
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Long time lurker of the site, and have finally been able to register to post here. I live about 20 minutes outside of Reading. Over the past decade, the number of Royals games I have attended has dropped from probably 20-25 games a year to about 10-12 games a year. Over the past two years, it really feels like the franchise is dying. At the very least, the interest level from fans seems to have dropped significantly.

From a personal standpoint, I frequently drive 75 minutes to Hershey rather than 20 minutes for Royals games. I have met several people at Bears games that echo the same thoughts about driving a greater distance to see Hershey play rather than the Royals because the atmosphere and game-day experience in Hershey just seems so much more exciting.

Some other random thoughts about the Royals and why the attendance seems to have taken a severe slide the past couple years.

1. The arena feels dead. The people that are there do love the team, but sad as it is to say, the game day experience feels almost boring and lifeless anymore. I know Sunday afternoons are a tough sell in minor league hockey, but I went to a couple Sunday games last year and I don't even think there were 1.500 people in the building. Even Saturday nights no longer pack the Sovereign Center like they used to.

2. Now that the novelty has worn off, seeing Elmira, Trenton and Wheeling 60 percent of the schedule had grown tiresome.

3. I realize it is the nature of ECHL hockey, but many fans have also grown weary of call-ups being spread all over the AHL, especially late in the season.

I went to the Royals' Town Hall Meeting for fans that was conducted this past Monday night. General Manager Mark Wallace was right up front at the start of the meeting that the past two years have been difficult. Wallace said that the $300,000 loss this past season was an accurate number, but he wished the reporter would have mentioned that the team actually improved this past season in that they lost $135,000 less than the previous year.

Much of the town hall meeting seemed to be a plea for fans in attendance to help attract new fans to Royals games. But it was also kinda neat to see Maple Leafs rep Dave Poulin and Don Sweeney of the Bruins take time out to appear at the town hall meeting and speak extensively during the open forum. Wallace said that the number of actual fans in the arena last year was up 12,000 over the previous year and that the number of walk-up fans each night increased by 200 fans nightly over the '09-10 season.

It was also announced at the town hall meeting that the Royals would again broadcast all of their away gamea on the local Reading, PA., community based cable channel. That still seems kinda amazing to me for a "AA" hockey team.

I know the economy is terrible (especially in Reading itself), but I don't know that the economy can be blamed for all of the problems. The minor league baseball team in town (the Reading Phillies) still leads the Eastern League in attendance every year -- even with the relocation of the Phillies AAA affiliate to nearby Lehigh Valley three seasons ago. The Royals are even offering season ticket packages of two tickets for $380 ($5 a ticket) in the less desirable locations of the arena. I work at a local school district, and we have received Royals flyers offering a six pack of tickets for $30. Even in the midst of a terrible economy, I don't really see how tickets can go down much below $5 each.

I do still try to support the Royals, because I would hate to see them ever leave town. G.M. Wallace, head coach Larry Courville and everyone involved with the team always seems extremely fan friendly and appreciative of the fans. But the fan interest and game day atmosphere really seems to have fallen off the face of the earth the past couple years.


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08-27-2011, 04:01 PM
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Re: Game Experience

Takes one (or more) creative, enthusiastic person(s) (hired) to revamp the music, video, introductions, etc.

I know that many NHL venues work very hard (many surveys through the year) to see how fans enjoy the games.



Musical chairs - NHL Sharks use plastic air-filled seats and it's a great hit with fans. (You only need ASCAP license and some attendee participants, plus chairs.)

Sumo wrestlers - OK
"Gerbil" balls - OK

Outside paid acts (e.g., Zooper Stars) - Sharks rarely use them. Maybe 1-2 games/season (and it's like a trampoline/x-games like exhibition).

Sharks usually get the local skate drill team to do a holiday number.

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08-27-2011, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyStanley View Post

I know that many NHL venues work very hard (many surveys through the year) to see how fans enjoy the games.
That is something Hershey is also very good at. The Royals might be as well; I just don't know because I am not on their e-mail list. But Herhey frequently e-mails customer service surveys to fans with the enticement of entry into a drawing for autographed sticks, jerseys or free tickets to respondents. I received an e-mail questionnaire a few weeks ago from the Bears asking to rate the importance of probably 20 different topics -- everything from won-loss record to between period entertainment to importance of the team mascot to ticket prices to availability of players for autograph sessions.

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08-29-2011, 03:19 AM
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NHL Sharks = team.

SVSE = NHL Sharks, AHL Sharks, operation of five ice rinks, management of HPPSJ, four tennis tournaments, etc.

Now, the NHL CBA has some definitions of what revenue is considered Hockey Related (HRR). Don't have the time at the moment to go and dig it up, but you can find copies online.

The numbers reported to the NHL, which do include a portion of suite income (prorated for Sharks only), parking (Sharks events only at team-controlled lots), merchandise (games, plus Sharks Store). Not exactly sure how concessions fit in.

Now, they may have a different set of $$s they use to report income to the public for the NHL Sharks entity.

(However, it seems pretty clear that SVSE makes a profit.)
I would assume SVSE controls concessions/restaurants since it's part of the arena.

Found this from SVSE's site:

Quote:
Concessions This department covers food and beverage sales at events. Manny Conway is the director of concessions. Manny coordinates up to 300 part-time workers (employees and non-profit organization representatives) to open up to 165 points of sales for Sharks games. The scope of operations is very broad, covering all levels of the arena operation in as many as 25 hard stands and 28 portable stands. The director also coordinates numerous branded sub-contractors operating at events. ARAMARK is also a Round Table franchisee.

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08-29-2011, 10:38 AM
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Some other random thoughts about the Royals and why the attendance seems to have taken a severe slide the past couple years.

1. The arena feels dead. The people that are there do love the team, but sad as it is to say, the game day experience feels almost boring and lifeless anymore. I know Sunday afternoons are a tough sell in minor league hockey, but I went to a couple Sunday games last year and I don't even think there were 1.500 people in the building. Even Saturday nights no longer pack the Sovereign Center like they used to.
I can't disagree with you here, although Saturday nights still draw a nice crowd.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bored5000
2. Now that the novelty has worn off, seeing Elmira, Trenton and Wheeling 60 percent of the schedule had grown tiresome.
It's not as if the Bears play a different opponent every night. Besides you mention that the R-Phils still draw well, yet they play the same teams over and over again

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bored5000
3. I realize it is the nature of ECHL hockey, but many fans have also grown weary of call-ups being spread all over the AHL, especially late in the season.
The nature of AHL hockey is to have their players called up to the NHL. Again, using your R-Phillies analogy, no different than R-Phils players being called up to Lehigh Valley or right up to Philadelphia.

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08-29-2011, 11:55 AM
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I can't disagree with you here, although Saturday nights still draw a nice crowd.



It's not as if the Bears play a different opponent every night. Besides you mention that the R-Phils still draw well, yet they play the same teams over and over again



The nature of AHL hockey is to have their players called up to the NHL. Again, using your R-Phillies analogy, no different than R-Phils players being called up to Lehigh Valley or right up to Philadelphia.
Pelts, let me just start by saying you were one of the posters I always liked reading on this site before I registered.

That being said, I know the Bears don't play a different team every night, but there is still a ton more variety in the AHL than the ECHL. I realize the AHL is a much bigger league than the ECHL, but Hershey played 18 different teams in the regular season last year, compared to 11 for Reading in the ECHL. Hershey's three most common opponents accounted for 26 of 80 games (32.5 percent) last year, while Reading's three most common opponents accounted for 43 of the 72 (59.7 percent) games. Hershey's most common opponent last year was 10 games against WBS. The Royals played 16 times against Trenton, 15 times against Elmira and 12 times against Wheeling.

I am really not trying to come on here and be negative. I do still support the Royals, but I am just offering some reasons why the team seems to be dying somewhat. After 10 years, the scheduling and the ECHL in general have grown somewhat stale, IMO.

The point about the Reading Phillies drawing well despite playing the same teams over and over again is well taken. One thing I will say, though, is that just off the top of my head, three guys I saw last year with the R-Phils that are now up with the big club are Vance Worley, Michael Stutes and Michael Schwimmer. I know this topic gets beat to death on here often, but AA baseball is not nearly the dumping ground that AA hockey can be.

I know players get called up from the AHL to the parent club, but I don't think it is as severe as ECHL call-ups, where players just seem to fall into a black hole of random AHL teams and may or may not actually play for those AHL teams. Again, maybe this is just my perception. But it still seems that an AHL team will have players on the roster all year long, while as ECHL team has the roster just get decimated between October and April.


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08-29-2011, 11:57 AM
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WRT Sharks Sports & Entertainment (renamed last week from SVSE) concessions, AIUI they "contract" with Aramark to run the concessions. (Note, this is the food stuff only; the merchandise is a different animal.)

Guessing they get an income stream from that, but I don't know (and doubt I'd be told) specifically how much. (Aramark wants income as well. Not sure if it's a "income" split, or what.)

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08-29-2011, 04:47 PM
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That is something Hershey is also very good at. The Royals might be as well; I just don't know because I am not on their e-mail list. But Herhey frequently e-mails customer service surveys to fans with the enticement of entry into a drawing for autographed sticks, jerseys or free tickets to respondents. I received an e-mail questionnaire a few weeks ago from the Bears asking to rate the importance of probably 20 different topics -- everything from won-loss record to between period entertainment to importance of the team mascot to ticket prices to availability of players for autograph sessions.
I recall reading somewhere that Rochester Americans fans were pissed because thids no longer happens.

I would like them at this level but I also can live without. considering we don't have a jumbotron a lot of things are out of play.

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08-29-2011, 04:58 PM
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Long time lurker of the site, and have finally been able to register to post here. I live about 20 minutes outside of Reading. Over the past decade, the number of Royals games I have attended has dropped from probably 20-25 games a year to about 10-12 games a year. Over the past two years, it really feels like the franchise is dying. At the very least, the interest level from fans seems to have dropped significantly.

From a personal standpoint, I frequently drive 75 minutes to Hershey rather than 20 minutes for Royals games. I have met several people at Bears games that echo the same thoughts about driving a greater distance to see Hershey play rather than the Royals because the atmosphere and game-day experience in Hershey just seems so much more exciting.

Some other random thoughts about the Royals and why the attendance seems to have taken a severe slide the past couple years.

1. The arena feels dead. The people that are there do love the team, but sad as it is to say, the game day experience feels almost boring and lifeless anymore. I know Sunday afternoons are a tough sell in minor league hockey, but I went to a couple Sunday games last year and I don't even think there were 1.500 people in the building. Even Saturday nights no longer pack the Sovereign Center like they used to.

2. Now that the novelty has worn off, seeing Elmira, Trenton and Wheeling 60 percent of the schedule had grown tiresome.

3. I realize it is the nature of ECHL hockey, but many fans have also grown weary of call-ups being spread all over the AHL, especially late in the season.

I went to the Royals' Town Hall Meeting for fans that was conducted this past Monday night. General Manager Mark Wallace was right up front at the start of the meeting that the past two years have been difficult. Wallace said that the $300,000 loss this past season was an accurate number, but he wished the reporter would have mentioned that the team actually improved this past season in that they lost $135,000 less than the previous year.

Much of the town hall meeting seemed to be a plea for fans in attendance to help attract new fans to Royals games. But it was also kinda neat to see Maple Leafs rep Dave Poulin and Don Sweeney of the Bruins take time out to appear at the town hall meeting and speak extensively during the open forum. Wallace said that the number of actual fans in the arena last year was up 12,000 over the previous year and that the number of walk-up fans each night increased by 200 fans nightly over the '09-10 season.

It was also announced at the town hall meeting that the Royals would again broadcast all of their away gamea on the local Reading, PA., community based cable channel. That still seems kinda amazing to me for a "AA" hockey team.

I know the economy is terrible (especially in Reading itself), but I don't know that the economy can be blamed for all of the problems. The minor league baseball team in town (the Reading Phillies) still leads the Eastern League in attendance every year -- even with the relocation of the Phillies AAA affiliate to nearby Lehigh Valley three seasons ago. The Royals are even offering season ticket packages of two tickets for $380 ($5 a ticket) in the less desirable locations of the arena. I work at a local school district, and we have received Royals flyers offering a six pack of tickets for $30. Even in the midst of a terrible economy, I don't really see how tickets can go down much below $5 each.

I do still try to support the Royals, because I would hate to see them ever leave town. G.M. Wallace, head coach Larry Courville and everyone involved with the team always seems extremely fan friendly and appreciative of the fans. But the fan interest and game day atmosphere really seems to have fallen off the face of the earth the past couple years.
I LOVE all of your points here. Seeing Reading/Trenton/Wheeling all the time bores the hell outta me.

I am SICK of the callups as well. The last month of last year we basically fielded an AAHL/FHL team. It's not right nor is it fair to the fans. The most critical stretch of the year in a playoff race and it's like we grabbed random dudes off the street.

Arenas in general suck now because of the trons. I feel fortunate. Our arena is like a throwback in time but is new enough and modernized. Wheeling is a dump and they don't have any fans. I know we give away freebies but we can have a bit of an atmosphere all these years later.

Despite the better teams the past 2 years it seems the Royals are hurting. Are yo telling me they are almost at the Wheeling/Johnstown phase where death might be in reach or something? Like dire straights? panic time? And yes, Wheeling is a franchise thats basically dying a slow death. All but the 12 fans there know that.

I wonder how much these games on TV cost? But there must be some cash around if they can do it...or maybe not, I need to know how in the hell Wheeling can afford it. To me a few home games on TV would be good advertising to the casual/not fans. Not sure being on the tube for road games does much aside from the diehards

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08-29-2011, 05:24 PM
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I have never been to Wheeling or Johnstown before the Chiefs moved, so am I only going by what I always read on here and a couple other boards. I don't think the Royals are in that desperate a shape, but things are definitely nowhere near what they were even 4-5 years ago, never mind the early days of the franchise. I have gone to the Town Hall meetings for the past several years, and this was the first time I really heard a plea to bring in more fans. General Manager Mark Wallace mentioned at the Town Hall Meeting that the Royals lost 700 season ticket accounts two years ago, most of which he said were corporate accounts.

It was also brought up at the Town Hall meeting that the Convention Center authority buying half the team was in response to an outside buyer that wanted to buy the team and move it to Richmond, Va. I understand the Convention Center's move, and it does make sense. But at the same time, how many years would they be willing to keep shoveling good money after bad if the team continues to lose money?


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08-30-2011, 01:27 PM
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Pelts, let me just start by saying you were one of the posters I always liked reading on this site before I registered.

That being said, I know the Bears don't play a different team every night, but there is still a ton more variety in the AHL than the ECHL. I realize the AHL is a much bigger league than the ECHL, but Hershey played 18 different teams in the regular season last year, compared to 11 for Reading in the ECHL. Hershey's three most common opponents accounted for 26 of 80 games (32.5 percent) last year, while Reading's three most common opponents accounted for 43 of the 72 (59.7 percent) games. Hershey's most common opponent last year was 10 games against WBS. The Royals played 16 times against Trenton, 15 times against Elmira and 12 times against Wheeling.

I am really not trying to come on here and be negative. I do still support the Royals, but I am just offering some reasons why the team seems to be dying somewhat. After 10 years, the scheduling and the ECHL in general have grown somewhat stale, IMO.

The point about the Reading Phillies drawing well despite playing the same teams over and over again is well taken. One thing I will say, though, is that just off the top of my head, three guys I saw last year with the R-Phils that are now up with the big club are Vance Worley, Michael Stutes and Michael Schwimmer. I know this topic gets beat to death on here often, but AA baseball is not nearly the dumping ground that AA hockey can be.

I know players get called up from the AHL to the parent club, but I don't think it is as severe as ECHL call-ups, where players just seem to fall into a black hole of random AHL teams and may or may not actually play for those AHL teams. Again, maybe this is just my perception. But it still seems that an AHL team will have players on the roster all year long, while as ECHL team has the roster just get decimated between October and April.
I appreciate the compliment.

I do see what you are saying about seeing the same teams, but anyone who goes to R-Phillies games are used to the same thing.

I also see what you are saying about callups. Players under contract with the Royals can go anywhere, as opposed to players under contract with the parent club (Dalton last year for example). Different from the AHL where callups go directly to their NHL parent club. Even so, callups at the AHL level are commonplace.

All of this said I actually enjoy the ECHL product more than the AHL product now. I like the fact that players are under contract with the ECHL team and those teams are built to win instead of just developing prospects.

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08-31-2011, 12:37 AM
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I LOVE all of your points here. Seeing Reading/Trenton/Wheeling all the time bores the hell outta me.

I am SICK of the callups as well. The last month of last year we basically fielded an AAHL/FHL team. It's not right nor is it fair to the fans. The most critical stretch of the year in a playoff race and it's like we grabbed random dudes off the street.

Arenas in general suck now because of the trons. I feel fortunate. Our arena is like a throwback in time but is new enough and modernized. Wheeling is a dump and they don't have any fans. I know we give away freebies but we can have a bit of an atmosphere all these years later.

Despite the better teams the past 2 years it seems the Royals are hurting. Are yo telling me they are almost at the Wheeling/Johnstown phase where death might be in reach or something? Like dire straights? panic time? And yes, Wheeling is a franchise thats basically dying a slow death. All but the 12 fans there know that.I wonder how much these games on TV cost? But there must be some cash around if they can do it...or maybe not, I need to know how in the hell Wheeling can afford it. To me a few home games on TV would be good advertising to the casual/not fans. Not sure being on the tube for road games does much aside from the diehards
Two questions for you GMR.

1. Am I one of those 12 Wheeling fans?

2. How do you really feel about Wheeling?

Seriously though, I can see what you are saying. I can remember going to the War Memorial in Johnstown and feeling energy there. The team might not have been great, but there was some excitement in the air. The last game I went to had the morgue feeling to it. That was before the team announced it was moving.

Regarding the cable television, I am not sure about the cost. However, I think that Wheeling has a deal with the local NBC affiliate which also broadcasts the local high school footbal games on Friday nights and Saturdays so the televsion station may be covering the expenses.

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08-31-2011, 06:38 AM
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Two questions for you GMR.

1. Am I one of those 12 Wheeling fans?

2. How do you really feel about Wheeling?

Seriously though, I can see what you are saying. I can remember going to the War Memorial in Johnstown and feeling energy there. The team might not have been great, but there was some excitement in the air. The last game I went to had the morgue feeling to it. That was before the team announced it was moving.

Regarding the cable television, I am not sure about the cost. However, I think that Wheeling has a deal with the local NBC affiliate which also broadcasts the local high school footbal games on Friday nights and Saturdays so the televsion station may be covering the expenses.
You can be if you want. Lol

Actually the former radio guy(Bob Rotruck)told me himself in a Facebook message that the arena could use a bath. I have seen pictures of the arena and it could use work. I like the older arenas but that may be the worst. Johnstown's isn't terrible. The problem in Johnstown was that former GM Vuvatar who stole a lot of money.

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11-05-2011, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by o Hamhuis 2 x View Post
I sure hope nothing happens to the Royals. I love going to Royals games and sitting right behind the Royals bench. It did seem less full last season, but that's because this area is full of too many people that don't like hockey cause they aren't from a "hockey place". Its sad to see what the city of Reading is turning into. But that's beside the point.
Turned into - Reading has been awful for 15 years. Highest unemployment in the country and at the same time there are so many jobs to be had.

Wanna score $200 worth of food stamps for $100? Just walk up and down Penn Street for 10 minutes. Disgusting town

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11-05-2011, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Gert B Frobe View Post
Turned into - Reading has been awful for 15 years. Highest unemployment in the country and at the same time there are so many jobs to be had.

Wanna score $200 worth of food stamps for $100? Just walk up and down Penn Street for 10 minutes. Disgusting town
Wouldn't the city be a tad bit too small in size to fit the bill for that category?

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