About six months into their stewardship as the new owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the impact and touch of Fenway Sports Group is starting to be felt on franchise.
This past week, the biggest stories for the Pittsburgh hockey club included promoting Kevin Acklin to a job that will have him report to the FSG leadership in a role that replaces the departed former team President/CEO David Morehouse. And there was also this to create a new role:
The Penguins have named Teena Murray as Senior Vice President of Integrated Performance.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) June 17, 2022
In her new role, Murray will oversee the hockey operations’ strength and conditioning staff, rehabilitation, sports science, and medical staff. https://t.co/BWLFsjsqjU
Murray was hired away from the Sacramento Kings, but also has experience in hockey with the Anaheim Ducks, Hartford Wolfpack and Florida Panthers. The team says “Murray will oversee the hockey operations’ strength and conditioning staff, rehabilitation, sports science and medical staff.” So perhaps she can get to work and help change the team’s recent rotten injury luck as of late.
More changes from ownership will benefit the fans with a change in the management company for PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins, together with their ownership team at Fenway Sports Group, have selected OVG360, the full-service venue management division of Oak View Group, to manage, book, and operate PPG Paints Arena.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) June 6, 2022
Full details: https://t.co/L9fET3COeT pic.twitter.com/I4oSiTiyPI
It has been rumored that the video board will be replaced within a year’s time. PPG Paints Arena has had the same video board since opening in 2010, which is well past time for an upgrade when an arena and hockey team is in the entertainment business.
The Athletic hinted that OVG360, which handled the new Seattle Kraken arena to high marks might also improve the entertainment experience for games by adding new “on-ice light shows as part of pregame entertainment to real-time information available to fans for viewing on mobile devices with 5G capabilities”.
OVG360 is also tasked with bringing in more concerts, shows and filling the building on more days, which will also help the bottom line financially for FSG (and the Penguins). PPG Paints was occupied for about 160 non-Penguin events per year pre-pandemic, which leaves the door open for many, many more open nights.
There also might be benefits on the ice from the impact of new ownership decisions and investments as well. Rob Rossi also wrote:
The Athletic has learned that investing in top-tier technology to take advantage of next-generation NHL statistics to benefit those in the hockey operations and in-arena entertainment departments is a priority as identified by FSG’s ongoing overall evaluation of the Penguins.
FSG’s other teams, the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC, are known to be very forward-thinking in their respective sports in the realm of collecting and utilizing sports data to analyze and improve performance on the field. For years now areas like GPS tracking and other technology have seemingly been close to breaking out in hockey, and likely will soon. The expectation is that the Pens will be positioned by the philosophies from ownership to be on the leading edge of such technologies.
Naturally, the Pens will continue to evolve under their new ownership. While human nature is to resist or fear change, it looks like FSG is preparing and acting on making investments in personnel, technology and management strategies to improve the Pens and the game day experience for fans.
It was bound to happen that with time the Penguins would see changes and feel the influence of being run in the direction that their new ownership group wants to go, and already this off-season signs are popping up to make this true. Fans are bound to notice it too in a big way if they get a better video board when going to the arena.