Daryl Katz Thinks You Won't Bother Checking What He Says

Jonathan Willis
February 25 2010 04:02PM

Daryl Katz has been kicking his public relations campaign on behalf of a new arena into high gear. Not long after arranging for a radio interview with employee Bob Stauffer, Katz has launched a new website and has produced the YouTube video above (The Oilers new motto: “We love new media!”).

There are, however some glitches. I don’t have a lot to say about the video posted at the top of the article, except that I find the entire Katz PR campaign to be heavy on grandiloquence and awfully light on detail. With that in mind, I thought I might help by flushing out at least one part of the picture.

In the video, Katz refers to Los Angeles, San Diego, Columbus and Indianapolis as cities that have seen their downtown revitalized by a new arena. He does not, however, go into details as to how those arenas were financed.

The Staples Centre in Los Angeles is owned by AEG – the same company Katz has hired as advisors - and the really interesting thing about that arena is that it was mostly paid for by private investors. According to ballparks.com, just a hair under 85% of the money for the arena came from the tenants of the arena, with the city chipping in less than $60 million. That’s because investors saw it as “a risk worth taking.”

It’s a similar story in Columbus, where Nationwide Arena was built entirely by private funding after citizens rejected a 0.5% increase in sales taxes to pay for it. Describing the arena, one Blue Jackets’ season ticket holder called it “a lesson for those who insist sports stadiums must be built entirely at taxpayer expense.”

That still leaves Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and Petco Park in San Diego as examples of arenas built largely using public funds. We might assume, based on Katz’s tone and without the benefit of five minutes and Google that these two projects have been great successes and that the cities which built them have reaped nothing but benefits.

Not so.

Take, for instance, this charming story out of Indianapolis. I’ll quote just two passages: 

Taxpayers in Indiana may already be on the hook for a financial bailout of Lucas Oil Stadium, the new home of the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League and reputedly the most heavily subsidized professional sports stadium in the nation.

The funny thing about that paragraph? The stadium opened in August of 2008, meaning that less than two years after coughing up the vast majority of the $720 million required to build it, the city is already looking at bailing out the arena. 

The financial picture grew even bleaker in September, when CIB officials announced the cost of running the stadium would be $20 million a year…. CIB (the management group) is tapping into a $25 million reserve fund while working to find a solution before the fund dries up in 2010.
CIB Chairman Bob Grand told the Indianapolis Star in September, “We’re bleeding cash right now, absolutely.”

While Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was basically able to pay for his entire contribution to the project by selling the naming rights, the public money was raised by hiking taxes and taking on loans – and those tax increases haven’t been enough. The good news for sports fans is that the Colts make low rent payments and keep the vast majority of arena revenue, so while the city bleeds red ink they’re doing just fine.

Petco Park hasn’t been a disaster, but things haven’t gone smoothly either. The city is on the hook not just for loan repayments, but also for a portion of the operating costs, which drain millions every year; estimate place the city’s losses at between $9.0 and $19.0 million annually. Litigation against the arena (see this Berkeley article) caused a long and difficult battle which the city finally won after the arena had been delayed for two years. The city of San Diego itself has faced a massive financial crisis and saw it’s credit rating suspended by S&P; the expenditure on the arena was a contributing factor. City officials misled the public on the true cost of the stadium as well as other matters (five would eventually be charged with fraud). Meanwhile, the investment in the area surrounding the arena paid off handsomely for owner Padres’ owner John Moores. Vladimir Kogan, who is currently writing a book on San Diego politics, explained the situation well in an interview last month:

True, there was a lot of investment downtown, but all that investment provided benefits that were all private benefits. John Moores of JMI spent a billion dollars, but it also came with the ability to shape what happened downtown. They got essentially free reign to shape land-use policy downtown any way they wanted in order for them to maximize profits.

The risk was public risk. The rewards were private rewards. While the city did benefit in the end, there’s no question that Padres’ ownership benefited even more, all while risking more (one-third the cost of the arena, plus investment in the area around it) than Katz has proposed to.

This is why I’m skeptical about the arena proposal. We have yet to see details, only vague generalities and when we take a closer look at those, as we have here, things look much less favourable. I think it’s remarkable that of the four examples Katz provides to support his case, two were built with a much higher percentage of private investment, and of the two built along the lines Katz proposes one was a financial catastrophe and the other has been at best a debatable success. They aren’t the sort of examples I’d use, unless I strongly suspected that nobody was going to bother looking into them.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Ender
February 25 2010, 04:20PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I think it’s remarkable that . . . the four examples Katz provides to support his case . . . aren’t the sort of examples I’d use, unless I strongly suspected that nobody was going to bother looking into them.

Or there just weren't any better examples to use, which is even scarier. I hope we get a new arena and I don't even mind marginally higher taxes to pay for it (although I'm obviously a biased Oiler fan); the thing has to make money for the city that pays for it, though. The relationship needs to be symbiotic, not parasitic. C'mon, Katz; you can do better than this.

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#2 VMR
February 25 2010, 04:23PM
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The Nationwide arena in Columbus has more problems as well. The team and owners are losing money left and right and while it's revitalized the downtown area they cant make money on the building through sporting events and concerts. They've been fighting with the city for a few years now to get bailed out, so even success stories have problems.

Their doesnt seem to be a winning solution. They cant keep playing at Rexall forever. A new building is going to end up costing the city and taxpayers one way or the other. Some form of tax on tickets might help out but increasing the cost of Oilers tickets when they're playing this well might just drive down the audience more than it builds revenue.

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#4 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 25 2010, 04:33PM
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I've always been a little skeptical about Katz, it seems the majority almost viewed him as a charity for the team when his intentions actually seem to be the opposite.

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#5 Karth
February 25 2010, 04:34PM
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Jonathan, quick question..In which city do you currently reside?

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#7 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 25 2010, 04:35PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'm not against the idea of a new arena, I just hate the current proposal and the way it's being sold insults the intelligence of the general public.

It basically assumes that everyone will buy into this "vision" without researching any part of it, because the plan collapses under even light scrutiny.

Ideally, Katz would fun a significant portion of the arena (say 40%) and be on the hook for operating costs. He's getting a substantial chunk of change from the city, and that means a) he should take some of the risk and b) the city should get some protection, in this case from the operating expenses which have plagued both San Diego and Indianapolis.

Obviously we don't have all the nuts and bolts of the situations, but from a glance it looks like a horrible deal for tax payers and a marvelous deal for Katz.

Good on you for trying Darryl, I never fault a man for trying to make as much $$$ as he can, but I hope the tax base doesn't get burnt here.

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#10 Ender
February 25 2010, 05:08PM
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I remember this clip from a Journal editorial a week or two back:

"It sounds on the face of it like an outlandish request, but teams all over North America get deals like this all the time," says Brad Humphreys, professor of sports economics at the University of Alberta.

"As a matter of public policy, we let professional sports operate this way."

In other words, will Katz make out like a bandit on this deal? Probably.

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#11 Travis Dakin
February 25 2010, 05:15PM
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Well first of all, Progress costs money. Edmonton is a dump. I love it dearly but a 30 minute drive through Calgary's core a couple of days ago really puts that into perspective. I agree with Katz that people need to start thinking big. Some more perspective, Calgary and Vancouver have now both hosted the world for the Olymipics. I know that has nothing to do with a new arena but Those are "World Class Cities." Can anyone ever really imagine Edmonton/Jasper hosting? Never in the state it is in.

Katz is a business man and will obviously be trying to get the best deal for him first. It's called BUSINESS and it's a negotiation. But everyone seems to be crapping all over a man that actually wants to get something done to make Edmonton (his home town) as great as it can be. IT WILL COST YOU MONEY!!! So what? If you (Edmontonians) can not see that it's about long term growth and prosperity then you are just short cited and quite frankly, a cheap ass.

Think big Edmonton. You deserve to not have a third rate city behind Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

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#12 rubbertrout
February 25 2010, 05:15PM
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On a lighter note look for me on TV at the Canda game tomorrow. I'll be the drunk guy in the lower bowl wearing a red jersey.

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#13 Harlie
February 25 2010, 05:16PM
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my wife watched the youtube video with me. She asked why Katz would make a video while he was sucking on a mint. haha!

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#14 OilFan
February 25 2010, 05:22PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

On a lighter note look for me on TV at the Canda game tomorrow. I'll be the drunk guy in the lower bowl wearing a red jersey.

You too?

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#15 Reijo Ruotsalainen's wicked slapper
February 25 2010, 05:29PM
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Holy tilted head batman! Is it me, or is Katz doing a really bad Stallone impression?

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#16 Charlie
February 25 2010, 05:31PM
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On the contrary, I think that the tone at the end is that it's the start of a discussion. You're not going to sell an idea or give much detail in the first four minutes introducing the idea on a website that is less than 48 hours old.

JW, this is the first article that I think you're better than. I believe this video was released to start a public conversation, and Katz encourages viewers to stay informed through various channels. I don't think he released it to insult anyone's intelligence.

Anyone in marketing knows your initial product introduction has to get the customer involved, interested, and hopefully, EXCITED - and that's what I am in regards to this project.

Go Oilers.

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#17 Oilchange64
February 25 2010, 05:45PM
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I agree and believe that Edmonton needs a new arena. Oilers lunch had a guy on from Winnipeg a week or 2 back - the team gets all the revenue - which makes sense as the rink was primarily built with private dollars. While there are plenty of examples of cities that have paid the bill for a rink (does anyone really believe Phoenix will end well) there are also numerous examples of privately funded buildings that make a profit. It is going to take a lot of compromise on both sides. Katz effectively used the media to build public support to buy the team - most readers here probably listened to the same radio programs I did - and I agreed at that time. I am stunned that the building issue has been this poorly handled and much of the public support that was there has evaporated. You can't promise $100 mil in and then redirect it under any premise. It just does not fly.

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#18 Travis Dakin
February 25 2010, 05:48PM
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@Oilchange64

People are concerned that the arena won't bring new development. Katz said he'd put 100 million of his own dollars into getting that development started. Much better spent than on the arena itself. That isn't a reneg on a promise. It is an improvement on one.

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#19 Oilchange64
February 25 2010, 05:59PM
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I totally get your point but disagree. I am not certain people are worried that development will not follow a new arena. A free arena and then being able to invest around it? Priceless. Don't get me wrong, Katz is a local guy who has strongly supported many things around the city and I admire him for that. But this does not have good optics and in my view would gather minimal support from Edmontonians. Political suicide for city politicians to support. I get negotiating, but this proposal just gets people agitated which makes a future stance all the more likely to be met with resistance. Which is why I still say this has been very poorly handled.

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#24 Oilchange64
February 25 2010, 06:25PM
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JW I like your idea but don't see it happening that way. I totally agree it is better for Katz to control the building and by extension he must put more $'s into it. Again, to be clear, I would like Edmonton to think big, go big, but not totally at taxpayer expense when a private corp benefits the most. Frankly, that goes against everything a "conservative" province like ours tends to stand for. As mentioned in the article, private investment has worked elsewhere and the govt funded projects have tended to be less succesful. I fully agree with some support or even a tax holiday for the arena itself as it does bring benefits to the city. But paying for it and not receiving the revenue will never make sense to me.

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#25 Harlie
February 25 2010, 06:30PM
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So I assume that "Soon" "When" "Now!" campaign with billboards is Katz's? I thought it looked like something Northlands would do tho. Anyone know who's it is?

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#27 Oilchange64
February 25 2010, 06:38PM
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Private ownership is always more efficient. 100% agree.

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#28 Oilchange64
February 25 2010, 06:45PM
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One other comment on the whole optics thing. I have had the opportunity to negotiate some large deals - though admittedly not 100's of millions. Have won more than I have lost. What worries me is that when the sides start so far apart, they take forever - if they ever happen. And most often they don't happen.

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#29 Word
February 25 2010, 06:47PM
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JW - "In the video, Katz refers to Los Angeles, San Diego, Columbus and Indianapolis as cities that have seen their downtown revitalized by a new arena. He does not, however, go into details as to how those arenas were financed."

The website that is intended to be the primary link for this video goes into these "missing" details.

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#31 Harlie
February 25 2010, 06:51PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Well first of all, Progress costs money. Edmonton is a dump. I love it dearly but a 30 minute drive through Calgary's core a couple of days ago really puts that into perspective. I agree with Katz that people need to start thinking big. Some more perspective, Calgary and Vancouver have now both hosted the world for the Olymipics. I know that has nothing to do with a new arena but Those are "World Class Cities." Can anyone ever really imagine Edmonton/Jasper hosting? Never in the state it is in.

Katz is a business man and will obviously be trying to get the best deal for him first. It's called BUSINESS and it's a negotiation. But everyone seems to be crapping all over a man that actually wants to get something done to make Edmonton (his home town) as great as it can be. IT WILL COST YOU MONEY!!! So what? If you (Edmontonians) can not see that it's about long term growth and prosperity then you are just short cited and quite frankly, a cheap ass.

Think big Edmonton. You deserve to not have a third rate city behind Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

Third rate city compared to Vancouver? No way man. I lived in Van..for 2 years and I was makin a decent wage and I was flat broke. It's expensive to live out there. From the downtown, to the boondocks rent is high and wages are low. Heck, we used to say it cost $10 bux to look out the window of the apartment and $100 bux to go outside! With the government tax and the inflated prices it was hard for a guy to get by. Then you add the good ass weather and there were bums everywhere!

Calgary may compare to us but I think being nearer to the Oilsands is the leg up for Edmonton.

No real comparison to Toronto. They're the engine and we're the gas. They need us as much or more than we need them.

Until Katz ponies up more info I'll remain a skeptic. I appreciate his vision and him stepping up but I'd like to see more details before casting aspersions or applause either way.

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#32 Oilchange64
February 25 2010, 07:03PM
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Edmonton cannot compete with Vancouver in terms of location (on the ocean) or climate (though some would disagree). Being closer to the mountains is a bonus for Calgary. But I love it here in the summer and it could be so much more. The downtown needs an arena. It is only a question as to how to do it.

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#33 Crooked
February 25 2010, 07:09PM
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Winnipeg's MTS Center was $133.5M funded primarily by the private sector ($93M with the remaining $40.5M paid for by the public sector) and seats 15,015 for hockey. Spending $500M ($400M of which in public funding) on a hockey arena, when $150M would more than suffice is just plain stupid.

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#34 Word
February 25 2010, 07:14PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Let me expound upon my viewpoint.

Consider yourself as King of Edmonton. As King, the only thing that matters to you is the city's best interests.

A billionaire, born and raised in your city, buys the Oilers, and makes you an offer:

- you will invest $500 million in a building you will own and operate, and will cover all operating costs

- the building will be designed to specifications he will provide

- his Oilers will play in that building at a nominal rent and collect almost all the revenue on nights they use it

- in exchange, he will invest $100 million on developments around the arena which you can then tax

So, in exchange for your investment of $500 million, your generous billionaire friend will invest 20% of that amount in a seperate, nearby venture that you can collect tax revenue on.

The future tax revenues on 20% of an investment $100 million is a substantial sum, but it doesn't compare to half a billion dollars. In fact, that seems like a damn poor return on a half billion dollar investment.

Now, if I were the King of Edmonton, I'd counter the offer. I'd promise to match whatever Katz spends on the arena - so if he spends $100 million, I'd spend $100 million and we'd build a facility comparable to Nationwide Arena (constructed at a cost of $150 million). Katz would own it, and as King I could tax it.

Then I would take the $400 million I have left over and invest it in private public partnership around the arena.

Isn't that a better deal for Edmonton? I've spent only 20% of what Katz originally suggested, I now take tax revenues on a $200 million dollar investment and cover no operating costs, and I have $400 million left to revitalize the downtown - i.e. 400% the amount Katz was going to spend.

The argument I'm making isn't "don't build an arena". The argument I'm making is that if Edmonton wants to spend half a billion dollars there are better ways to do it.

And btw, it's not like Katz is doing badly here - he's only spending the money he originally planned to, he's getting $100 million dollars in investment absolutely free of charge, and he gets a new arena for his already substantial investment, the Oilers. Plus he gets the downtown rejuvenation which will only bring more people to see events at his arena.

Isn't that a better proposal?

And then, the billionaire born and raised in the city, would tell the King to stuff it because he's not interested in a counter-offer that turns his investment into a donation.

Then the King would have his city left exactly how it was, and the billionaire would go home with no new arena.

And although the city hadn't changed, and the dreary greyness of downtown went unbroken, we peasant serfs of the Greater metropolitan Edmonchuk could at least feel that our money was well spent when we happily walk past the new $88 million art gallery, of which 77% was publicly financed (source: http://www2.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=8b306a5c-4be4-409b-be00-b8356387c8db). At least that would revitalize the neighbouring courthouse and city hall, increasing the tax base the city gets from... wait... nevermind.

- The End.

We publicly fund the art gallery (aka unprofitable entertainment) so that it can in turn fund local artists who are also unprofitable. Daryl Katz' biggest crime is that he's been succesful so we expect him to give the city money.

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#35 Word
February 25 2010, 07:22PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Word:

Yeah, I hadn't throughly reviewed the website when I posted this. On the other hand, everything I wrote is still relevant.

For instance, read the Indianapolis case study. Do you see anything indicating it was less than a smashing success?

No, and I guess in principle I agree with you. Downtown Edmonton sucks. Mostly cause it's always cold here. Will building a huge arena complex actually do anything? Probably not. But DK is coming up with an idea and commiting to his idea. The do nothing approach is why this place looks like it's stuck in the 1980s and not it a tolerable "we're hip cause we're stuck in the 1980's" way.

I'd like to believe that we could make Downtown more interesting with new buildings and better architecture. Thats why despite my previous post, I actually approve of the art gallery. I have no misguided belief that Edmonton will ever be a tourist hub, just that I'm kinda tired of it being a meth dump.

And while I'm ranting, we should probably just spend the money to turn that whole area into a nice (patrolled) park; pay police to actually walk the beat and make streets safe instead of working radar to make streets profitable; and pay a bunch of people who are looking for work to keep downtown clean and free of litter. Then maybe the private sector would revitalize the downtown core because it was actually worth revitalizing.

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#36 Oilchange64
February 25 2010, 07:26PM
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Hey, I am not likely going to be in the new art gallery any time soon either. The difference is that NO economic case can be made that the art gallery could ever be self sustaining. If you use the argument that the city needs a new arena to be "world class" the reality is that most world class cities also have a significant art presence. It has to be publicly financed to be viable - and Katz made a significant contribution - again, good on him, much appreciated. But a case can be made in terms of viability for an arena. It does not need to be a welfare case.

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#37 David S
February 25 2010, 07:30PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The other point I want to make is that if this really is about revitalizing downtown and the long-term stability of the Oilers, then Katz should own the arena.

There's nothing more stable than a team that owns the arena they play in. It makes them a package deal.

I'm not sure the city wouldn't want a stake in the arena to some degree. With the city comes Northlands and it appears Katz wants nothing to do with Northlands. So the proposal he puts out redirects his involvement to the district instead.

This offer may be about positioning, most of which is behind closed doors. Katz might counter by saying "OK. How about this? I'll go in with you on the arena, but on the condition its my management group. The city has to agree because they dearly want this thing to go through and Katz ditches Northlands, which may be his end game.

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#38 David S
February 25 2010, 07:31PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Well first of all, Progress costs money. Edmonton is a dump. I love it dearly but a 30 minute drive through Calgary's core a couple of days ago really puts that into perspective. I agree with Katz that people need to start thinking big. Some more perspective, Calgary and Vancouver have now both hosted the world for the Olymipics. I know that has nothing to do with a new arena but Those are "World Class Cities." Can anyone ever really imagine Edmonton/Jasper hosting? Never in the state it is in.

Katz is a business man and will obviously be trying to get the best deal for him first. It's called BUSINESS and it's a negotiation. But everyone seems to be crapping all over a man that actually wants to get something done to make Edmonton (his home town) as great as it can be. IT WILL COST YOU MONEY!!! So what? If you (Edmontonians) can not see that it's about long term growth and prosperity then you are just short cited and quite frankly, a cheap ass.

Think big Edmonton. You deserve to not have a third rate city behind Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

Dear god. I agree with Travis.

*reconsiders meaning of life*

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#39 Clangger
February 25 2010, 07:34PM
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Harlie wrote:

So I assume that "Soon" "When" "Now!" campaign with billboards is Katz's? I thought it looked like something Northlands would do tho. Anyone know who's it is?

New radio station..

http://1023nowradio.com/

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#40 Word
February 25 2010, 07:40PM
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But "world class" needs to be interpretted in light of the fact that we're talking about Edmonton here. I love this town, but I'm realistic about what it is: a good place to live, and an OK place to visit if you're from North Battleford and only have the long weekend, a tank of gas in your Pontiac and a voucher for the Motel 8.

World Class cities with world class art galleries are tourism hubs because they also have a) world class culture/history; b) world class weather; c) world glass natural surroundings; or d) any combination of the above. Vancouver does, Calgary does (an hour away at least...), Edmonton, alas, does not.

Edmonton needs to focus on becoming a place that people choose to move to because no ones choosing to visit. That means doing whatever it takes to make downtown profitable, clean, and safe. If you can convince me that an arena helps on any of those 3 fronts, I think it's worth the risk.

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#41 Harlie
February 25 2010, 07:41PM
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Clangger wrote:

New radio station..

http://1023nowradio.com/

thanks...looks lame.

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#42 Oilchange64
February 25 2010, 07:41PM
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Word - Fair points all.

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#43 David S
February 25 2010, 07:45PM
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Word wrote:

But "world class" needs to be interpretted in light of the fact that we're talking about Edmonton here. I love this town, but I'm realistic about what it is: a good place to live, and an OK place to visit if you're from North Battleford and only have the long weekend, a tank of gas in your Pontiac and a voucher for the Motel 8.

World Class cities with world class art galleries are tourism hubs because they also have a) world class culture/history; b) world class weather; c) world glass natural surroundings; or d) any combination of the above. Vancouver does, Calgary does (an hour away at least...), Edmonton, alas, does not.

Edmonton needs to focus on becoming a place that people choose to move to because no ones choosing to visit. That means doing whatever it takes to make downtown profitable, clean, and safe. If you can convince me that an arena helps on any of those 3 fronts, I think it's worth the risk.

Positioning 101. As soon as you have to say what you are, you're not.

I'd be happy if I didn't hear "world class" ever again - this coming from a guy that spent 7 years in Calgary.

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#44 Oilchange64
February 25 2010, 07:49PM
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Positioning 101. As soon as you have to say what you are, you're not.

That would be the quote of the debate so far IMO.

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#45 David S
February 25 2010, 07:55PM
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I've gotta say that Katz' image consultant should be fired first thing tomorrow morning. Unless of course he actually wants to be portrayed as "rich, overbearing, my way or the highway douchebag".

He made every possible PR mistake in the book with that video.

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#46 edm_euler
February 25 2010, 08:08PM
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The only way to make this work without being a disaster is to do it as a partnership. Figure out the expected total revenues from a downtown arena; include the marginal tax benefits to the city as well as the value of social benefits (increased investment downtown, etc). Then figure out the costs and expenses to everybody, don't concern yourself with where the money will come from just yet. Do up an economic study based on those numbers, as if one entity was paying for the whole thing. Make a case for building the thing from those numbers. If it doesn't make financial sense then redo the design until the costs/benefits do work.

Now, divide up the costs, revenues, and risks. The city has to be a part of it because of the tax and social benefit part. Katz has to be a part because the city would be nuts to take on that much risk by themselves.

The important thing is to make sure the arena is sensible economically before arguing over who's going to pay for what.

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#47 nye
February 25 2010, 08:11PM
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---- And it's not like Katz is going anywhere. The city has plenty of leverage here - he's invested a bunch of money in the Oilers, and if he wants to move he has to find a city with:

a) the fanbase of Edmonton

b) the TV deal that comes with being a Canadian team

c) a political leadership willing to hand him $100 million

and then he has to clear the move with the rest of the NHL's ownership.

There's a great, once in a lifetime opportunity for the city to put itself way ahead of where they would be otherwise - because they have an owner in a great situation who has very little chance to find a better one.

They should take advantage of that opportunity. ----

Ottawa took a view like this when the Senators were building an arena.

The company owning the Senators that built the arena went bankrupt.

Meanwhile, there is a building sitting in Kansas City looking for an anchor tenant. KC and AEG (I believe they manage it) would throw cash or consessions at any NHL or NBA team if they could get one to move there. There are other American cities and states that will do sweetheart deals to get and keep teams (Pittsburgh's new arena).

I really think taking a hard line with Katz would be a very bad idea. Recall that the conditions for moving a team under Bettman and the BoG are a: lack of a suitable building, and b: lack of anyone wanting to own the team in the current location.

Katz may not move the team, but he may decide to sell it. Who would buy it to keep it in Edmonton without a new rink? If the answer to the question is no one, we could line up behind Winnipeg and Quebec City for a team.

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#48 Reagan
February 25 2010, 08:18PM
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Yeah. I am going to say one question or thought? I am not going to bash or negatively say what I actually feel.

Really, what are the ramifications of placing this new arena?

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#49 Soup
February 25 2010, 08:19PM
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I was born in Edmonton and raised in Fort Mac. I'm currently working in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi and Alberta have a lot in common. Inhospitable living conditions through most of the year, great nature to experience and access to an amazing world class resource. Now the difference:

Abu Dhabi has been working with International Oil companies for the last 40 years in a partnership. The government (actually, much more like the "King" discussion from above) owns a share in all of the oil company's local enterprises and aggressively reinvests the profits into the Emirate. When the Cricket Stadium needed to be rebuilt, the Sheik funded it. When they decided they wanted to draw people in with a new sport, the Sheik funded the YAS Marina Grand Prix facility and paid for the F1 to come to town.

Abu Dhabi has a vision to expand beyond oil. They are doing this through investment in infrastructure and businesses outside of their normal core. They understand and state clearly that there is a huge upfront cost in doing so. They get that they need to pay now to benefit later. They get that they need to reinvest the profits from oil into something for the future.

Want some fun? Scan the web for pictures of Abu Dhabi circa 1972 and then more recent photos. This is a place with vision. This is a world class city. And no, Calgary is not. Calgary is an American class city, and there isn't anything wrong with that. Just not nearly on par with Paris, New York, Abu Dhabi or even Vancouver or Toronto or Montreal.

Canada is and always will be my home. However, the small time thinking and naval-gazing (sp) that occurs whenever there is the thought of having to put money into something rattles the brain. Wonder why hockey player's wives would rather live elsewhere? Go elsewhere with open eyes. It is pretty obvious.

JW - in the short term, Fort St John and Dawson Creek are in the red for the investment in the new facilities. You've said nothing about the quality of life improvements for the residents. Sherwood Park has benefited greatly from Millenium Place. Was that built with private money? Exclusively?

I suspect what Katz has put out there so far is the opening salvo. This is a negotiation and he is doing it exactly as it should. Expect the tears to come soon when his organization pulls on the heart strings about loyalty and such. It is normal. Mario did pretty much the same in Pitts. Worked for him.

Edmonton is a wonderful, blue collar city. That is part of its charm. At the same time, it is a helluva lot closer to being Winnipeg than it is to being New York or even Calgary for that matter.

Read an article this week talking about the cost of doing business for oil companies in north America. Alberta is now the most expensive region in terms of taxes on the companies. More than Texas, more than Sask and even for than our socialist friends to the west. Wouldn't you like to see that money invested in something that will last for a while?

Grow up guys - the future ain't free.

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#50 Heavyd
February 25 2010, 08:29PM
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Katz is a business man. All he is doing is business.

He is trying to do what's best for him, and the business he owns.

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