A Possible Alternative?

Could the NIC be used as an alternative venue for the Sheffield Steelers should their ice problems at the Motorpoint Arena continue? Jono Bullard wonders if it could.

At a fan forum in Sheffield this evening, Sheffield Steelers owner Tony Smith confirmed that a leak in the pipes is causing their Arena ice problem. Steelers Official Twitter feed quoted their owner who said “First of all its a problem with the pipes and not with the plant.We are now attempting to find a hole in over 6 miles of piping”. Today’s Sheffield Star also painted a bleak picture in this article.

While the Steelers are hoping for the problem to be sorted swiftly, there is a possibility that the problem could take weeks, maybe months to be sorted. I had a look online and the only comparison I could find was from last year where the rink in Kilmarnock, Scotland found a similar problem when the ice pad was being upgraded which delayed opening by 3 months [LINK].
From tonight’s forum it appears the club have a contingency to play games out of Ice Sheffield if the situation continues, however the Steelers also revealed tonight that they have 1,677 season ticket holders and Ice Sheffield has a capacity of 1,500. If the Steelers continue to play out of their smaller home there’s going to be a lot of angry fans.

While thinking about this earlier today I wondered if the Steelers could use the NIC as a temporary home until the problem is fixed. Now I want to make clear that I was thinking aloud, I have no idea if this is feasible or the ice time available so this is speaking very much hypothetically.
Every club needs a cash flow and while Ice Sheffield will provide some revenue it won’t be anywhere near as much as the Motorpoint can generate.
No doubt there would be some opposition to holding home fixtures at the NIC but there are positives for the Steelers. The first one is the any games against the Panthers would almost guarantee a 7,000 sell-out, and while other games may struggle to hit the attendances they would at their Arena, the crowd would surely be bolstered by Panthers fans wanting to see a few bonus games (and a Steelers defeat!)

It of course depends on the rent charged (I have no idea what the figures would be) and how many people would be prepared to travel from the North to make it truly worthwhile, but Steelers also do a webcast and that would provide another revenue stream. The cost involved may also make it unworkable, however Steelers are an Arena team with an Arena budget, so Ice Sheffield will only work for a short time if the situation continues.

Pie in the sky? Probably, but I’d be very surprised if Tony Smith hadn’t thought about it.


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