Business leaders in Oklahoma City pass on Penguins

Updated: January 12, 2007, 11:49 PM ET
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- An Oklahoma City business group has decided not to try to entice the Pittsburgh Penguins to move and play in the city's Ford Center arena, a newspaper reported.

Brad Lund, chief executive officer of the company that runs the arena, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review his group couldn't meet the team's timetable to work out a deal.

The Penguins and owner Mario Lemieux have been seeking a new arena in Pittsburgh and have already visited Kansas City and have an offer to move there.

"We cannot compete aggressively for the Penguins the way (Pennsylvania) and Kansas City are going about it," Lund told the newspaper.

Ford Center opened in 2003 and is the part-time home of the National Basketball Association's New Orleans Hornets. Lund said his group will focus on trying to land a permanent NBA franchise.

The Penguins are busy negotiating a deal with city, county and state officials to build a $290 million arena to replace 45-year-old Mellon Arena, the oldest and smallest in the National Hockey League.

Lemieux has said the team will be free to move if an arena deal isn't in place by the time the Penguins' lease at Mellon Arena expires at the end of the season.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press