Pittsburgh Penguins received nearly $5 million in PPP loans from CARES Act

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins confirmed Monday they had applied for and were granted a Paycheck Protection Program loan for nearly $5 million.

Through the CARES Act, the team received a loan of $4.82 million according to Tom McMillan, senior communications advisor for the team.

The Small Business Administration details the PPP as “a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.”

“With our arena being ordered closed since March and without any event revenue, we requested that our landlord, the Sports & Exhibition Authority (SEA), consider a temporary deferral of our annual rent payment due in September. This request was denied,” McMillan said in a statement sent to WPXI.

“Accordingly, we borrowed $4.8M under the CARES Act program in mid-August and applied the funds to our $6.1M September rent payment to the SEA, which was used by the public agency to make its required bond payment,” McMillan said in the statement. “The SEA indicated it is facing similar financial difficulties due to the closure of the SEA-owned Convention Center, and we are pleased that these funds were used to support an important public agency during these challenging times.”

The Penguins are valued at approximately $650 million, according to Forbes. Because that PPP money is meant to help small businesses, the Penguins receiving the loan is raising a lot of eyebrows -- and many people said it’s unfair.

“There are a lot of folks out there that could use that money who are really struggling a little more than I think the Pittsburgh Penguins,” said Jay Sebes, owner of Aviva Brick Oven in Warrendale. “That money is extremely important to any small business owner just to keep their doors open.”

In May, the Penguins temporarily furloughed employees, while the senior executives and coaches took pay cuts.

Both the Steelers and Pirates told Channel 11 they did not request nor receive any loans.

In unrelated news, Ron Burkle, co-owner of the team with Mario Lemieux, recently purchased Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch for $22 million.