Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Spot, Same Spirit Penguins Fans Watch on Big Screen at Market Square

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Spot, Same Spirit Penguins Fans Watch on Big Screen at Market Square

Article excerpt

Sometimes, big screens come with big disappointments.

Such was the case Monday night for fans gathered in Market Square, Downtown, to watch their Penguins fall to the New York Rangers, 2-1, in the third game of their Stanley Cup playoff series.

Organizers estimated that at least a couple of hundred black- and-gold-clad fans turned out - and many more passed through - to watch the game on a 16-by-9-foot video screen under a surprisingly clear night sky. Those in attendance pulled out their chairs, their blankets and their shared enthusiasm while the game was being played further uptown in Consol Energy Center.

"Instead of just watching it at home, you're out with all these people," said Connor Wagner, 27, who joined his fellow North Side friends Josh Ray, 29, and Dustin Strayer, 27, in an old sofa that they brought for the occasion. "I feel like it's the best of both worlds. You don't have to buy a ticket, but you still get the game atmosphere. And the relaxing comfort of your home."

The Penguins have been hosting these playoff shows for several years now with big screens erected on the grounds of the former Civic Arena, but not everyone brings a sofa. Most bring folding chairs and coolers.

This year, however, construction across from the Penguins' new home threatened to cancel the show.

That was until last week, when city officials and the Penguins huddled with Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the Market Square Merchants Association, IHeartRadio and a number of local businesses to shift the venue to the center of the city. It wasn't the first time it had been tried; the city hosted a showing of the World Cup match between the USA and Belgium in June.

"It's a little tighter, but it's an open space and people have the opportunity to go into different establishments around Market Square to dine and drink," said city public works director Guy Costa, who was on hand. "This is our first time doing it with a hockey game, so we'll be interested to see how it goes. …

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