Wachovia Arena Sale Possible

WILKES-BARRE, PA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Big Win Ventures, owner of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers, is reportedly interested in purchasing Pennsylvania’s Wachovia Arena.

“I’ve just recently been informed that there may be a possible offer coming to purchase the arena,” Bill Jones, a member of the Luzerne County Convention Center Authority, told the Times-Leader.

A source confirmed to the paper that the interested party was Big Win Ventures, but the company would not admit or deny the rumors.

“Big Win is always looking for opportunities in the localized marketplace,” Pioneers GM and team President Dave Berryman told the paper. “As far as specifics about Wachovia Arena, I couldn’t say at this time.”

Big Win was among those interested in a shared management agreement with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, who were in search of a new Major League Baseball affiliate after the Philadelphia Phillies announced their departure earlier this year. The New York Yankees are the Barons’ new parent club, while California-based Mandalay Entertainment has taken over management of the Triple-A franchise.

Big Win has owned the franchise since November 2004. The Pioneers will begin their sixth af2 season on March 31.

If the arena ended up in private hands, the county could benefit from the deal. The arena collects 80 percent of the revenue received from the county hotel tax, which has amounted to more than $10.5 million since the tax went into effect in May 1996. If the county did not have to fund the arena, that money could be used for other recreational or tourism needs. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers