Replacement team being sought by Boardwalk Hall

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies officials today confirmed to Boardwalk Hall their intent to sell the team.  According to the officials, the new ownership group will relocate the team to Stockton, California.  The move is expected to take place immediately following the conclusion of the Bullies’ fourth season.  ECHL regular season play ends in mid-April.  Should the Bullies make the season playoffs, games could continue through May 2005. 

          “We are extremely disappointed with this turn of events,” said Jeffrey Vasser, Executive Director of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (ACCVA).  “Late last season and again earlier this season, we found local business people who were interested in purchasing the team and keeping them in Atlantic City.  For whatever reason, current ownership chose not to pursue that opportunity.  We are already discussing our options for new ownership to replace the Bullies.  We have faith in this market and will work with the ECHL to bring another team to Atlantic City.” 

          Brian McKenna, Commissioner of the ECHL, stated “The League retains interest in the Atlantic City market and we’ve pledged our commitment to assist the facility and the ACCVA in their pursuit of a new franchise.”

          Greg Tesone, Assistant General Manager of Boardwalk Hall, expressed optimism that a professional hockey team can be successful in Atlantic City.  “We have two viable ownership options, both of which are New Jersey-based.  We believe that local ownership is pivotal to the long term success in this market.  We have the best facility in the league and the core fan base is here.  Local owners with an understanding and appreciation of our market would provide a more hands-on approach to their marketing and more vigilant management of the franchise.”

          Tesone added that season ticket holders and sponsors will be kept apprised of progress and developments during the search for a replacement team.         

          In spring 2001, owner George Shinn announced the relocation of a franchise formerly known as the Birmingham Bulls to Atlantic City. The team, renamed the Boardwalk Bullies, played their first game in October, 2001 and later won the ECHL’s Kelly Cup in 2003.  
          Historic Boardwalk Hall, which first opened in 1929, received a $90 million renovation to transform the building into a modern special events arena capable of variable seating for up to 13,800 people. The facility is the home of the Bullies, in addition to hosting an array of other events including concerts, boxing, and family shows. 

          The Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority serves as the destination's principal marketing arm, stimulating economic growth through convention, business and leisure tourism development.  The Authority oversees the management of the Atlantic City Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall on behalf of its parent agency, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

          Headquartered in Philadelphia, SMG provides facility services to more than 170 venues in 42 states, Puerto Rico, Canada and Europe, manages over ten million square feet of exhibit space and controls more than 1.46 million entertainment seats worldwide.  SMG operates the Atlantic City Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall on behalf of its clients, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority

Valarie McGonigal
Marketing Director
Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall, Convention Center

  January 31, 2005       2:59 pm