Anaheim Arena Management has been chosen to take over Pechanga Arena operations, and will now work with San Diego officials to finalize an agreement.
Earlier this year, San Diego officials issued a request for proposals (RFP) from prospective firms to handle operations at the arena. Operations are currently handled by AEG and the Hahn family as part of an agreement that runs out next May, so any new management arrangement would take effect after that deal expires.
The city fielded a series of pitches that included bids from Anaheim Arena Management–an entity backed by San Diego Gulls (AHL) and Anaheim Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli–as well as AEG and the Hahn family. Officials have opted to move toward a potential agreement with Anaheim Arena Management, but there is not a final deal between the two sides. Negotiations between city officials and the firm must take place, with any agreement requiring San Diego City Council approval. More from the San Diego Union-Tribune:
After reviewing the bids, city officials selected Anaheim Arena Management, which also runs the Honda Center in Anaheim where the Gulls parent franchise — the Anaheim Ducks — plays its games.
“From the outset of this process, our goal was to improve the experience for the arena’s users and guests, enhance the volume and quality of programming and increase revenue for San Diego taxpayers,” Tim Ryan, chief executive of Anaheim Arena Management, said in a prepared statement. “We are excited that the selection panel agreed with this vision and selected our bid.”
Details of the bid proposal have not yet been revealed. Ryan predicted the new contract and his company would “deliver more value for the city of San Diego and its residents.”
Ernie Hahn said in a statement that AEG plans to “defend our position to be the arena operator as we have for the last 28 years,” noting that a change in operator won’t be official until a new lease is negotiated and approved.
Though an aging facility–it originally opened in 1966–Pechanga Arena remains active for concerts, indoor sports, and other events. The Gulls have been a major draw there since relocating to San Diego from Norfolk, VA in 2015, when it was one of several AHL clubs that moved from the east coast to the west coast and joined the league’s newly formed Pacific Division.
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