Maine Hockey Team Lease Dispute

Officials with American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates in Maine have filed a lawsuit against the Cumberland County Civic Center trustees over terms of a proposed five-year lease agreement the team claims are in breach.

The lawsuit, filed by the team Sept. 6 in Cumberland County Superior Court, seeks an injunction to prevent Civic Center officials from booking dates reserved for the AHL team’s season at the venue after renovations are completed in January.

A judge is asked to rule whether an unsigned lease agreed to by both parties is binding.

The dispute between the parties involves a revenue-sharing plan in the agreement that was ironed out April 17 but has been changed along with other revisions not agreed to, according to the Maine Hockey Journal.

Under the agreement, the Pirates were to get 57.5 percent of net food and beverage sales including alcohol – a perk not available in its previous lease agreement – and 50 percent of net revenues from above-ice advertising.

However, the lawsuit claims the trustees sent the team a different version of the lease in May that violated the original terms by removing revenue from alcohol sales and removed sub-naming rights from above-ice advertising, the MHJ said.

Board trustees learned the lease as written would violate state law because the team’s name isn’t on the liquor license and it can’t legally collect revenue from alcohol sales.

The board reportedly offered the Pirates 65 percent of food and beverage sales minus alcoholic beverage sales.

Pirates officials claim the amended offer would result in a significant reduction in the amount of revenue the team could earn over the five-year period.