SAVILLE: ANOTHER KATZ MOUTHPIECE?

Robin Brownlee
September 22 2012 12:33AM

The stance by some citizens in this city seems to be that any member of the media who supports putting more money on the table to help build an arena in partnership with Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz should be dismissed as a mouthpiece or a fartcatcher.

Others sit smugly and suggest that if Katz and the Oilers want a new arena, they can damn well pick up the tab because, after all, there's no way Katz is going to pull up stakes and move the team to another city that offers a sweeter deal. Even the faintest suggestion that could happen is characterized as fear mongering and bluffing by Katz.

It follows, then, that anybody in the local media who doesn't discount the possibility that shelving or delaying the downtown arena project might result in the Oilers leaving town for a destination that is building a rink or already has one is, again, a fartcatcher or a mouthpiece.

Bob Stauffer of 630 CHED gets tarred with that brush often, of course, as he's an employee of the Oilers and, it follows, is bought and paid for by Katz and Rexall Sports. People say Stauffer's a Yes Man. A shill. The opinion of people who feel that way has been strengthened in recent days as Stauffer has tip-toed around the possibility of Edmonton losing the team if the arena isn't built. "There goes Bob again, doing the bidding for Katz . . ."

SAVILLE WADES IN

I don't know if you heard Stauffer's interview with former EIG member Bruce Saville on Oilers Now today, but if you haven't, you can follow this link to the podcast. Give it a listen. It might just send shivers down your spine. At the very least, it should provide those who scoff at the possibility the Oilers will ever leave town pause for thought.

Saville, last time I checked, isn't a member of the segment of the media deemed by some to be pitchmen for Katz. Saville, near as I can tell, isn't a Katz Yes man, a mouthpiece, a fartcatcher. Katz isn't his boss. Katz doesn't sign Saville's cheques. Here's some excerpts – listen to the entire interview for context – of Saville's interview with Stauffer.

STAUFFER: ". . . I think it's naïve to believe there aren't other options for Mr. Katz and the Katz group carrying forward. What happens, do you think, if a building doesn't get built in this city?"

SAVILLE: "If this arena doesn’t get built, the team's gone. I don't know how long it'll take – two years when the lease is over, maybe another year or two beyond that, but I would bet my life that, five years from now, if there's not a new arena or a hole in the ground or one almost finished, that the team will be gone and there won't be any team coming along behind it to replace it . . ."

SAVILLE: "Let's get it signed and get on with it. This isn’t a get rich scheme for Daryl Katz. People who think that are just jealous. They don't understand the deal. It's unfortunate that Daryl is a bit of an introvert, you know? He doesn't like to appear in public. He doesn’t like to speak in public. But that's his personality. We all have personality traits.

"That's the fact. Isn't that better than Peter Pocklington mouthing off and you can't believe a word he says, you know? Peter Pocklington never saw a microphone he didn't like. Thank God he's out of here. (Katz) is a solid, solid, solid guy who, for some reason, has not really had the support of the business community, the downtown, big company business community. They're not stepping up . . ."

Fartcatcher? Mouthpiece? I think not.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 The Soup Fascist
September 22 2012, 11:25AM
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S_DUB wrote:

The Soup Fascist, I don't think the word "fact" means what you think it means.

"2. This particular pro team needs a new venue. PERIOD. Rexall is a 40 year old dump."

Why? When anyone asks why Rexall is insufficient, its a vague response that "its not up to current NHL standards". It's not shiny enough? Not enough restaurants? I'll admit that its small, and sight-lines are not the best, but it still works! The same thing could be said about Fenway Park, the most storied venue in baseball!

"3. A downtown arena will accelerate or initiate development in that area."

Studies have consistently shown this to be untrue. I don't necessarily believe it won't work here, but that's not a fact.

@ S_DUB

1) TUG phoned and he wants his "... Doesn't mean what you think it means" thing back. Write your own stuff.

No matter.

2) If you think Rexall is the hockey equivalent of Fenway, we are on two different planets, friend.

I have been fortunate enough to be in seven NHL buildings other than Rexall. " Woefully inadequete" is where I would start.

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#52 Fresh Mess
September 22 2012, 11:29AM
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If the Oilers have to keep dipping into the public purse to be viable- then let them go. Good riddance.

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#53 wiseguy
September 22 2012, 11:35AM
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Peacecountry wrote:

Is there at point in that rant anything close to something resembling a fact? This isn't a conspiracy theory but your very close to slander and deffemation. It's bad when even when you use idle speculation your post was filled with words like 'could' and 'may'. Go crawl back under your rock

On a site for discussion, I would contend that my contribution closer resembles intelligent comment than you screaming out insults from the rafters. Is "deffemation" where you get out of your dress and pretend to be a man? You should try going under my rock sometime if that's where you may learn af few things about civilized behaviour. I thought name calling and belittleling were things that we outgrew when we left junior high.

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#54 kgo
September 22 2012, 11:46AM
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I was at a restaurant on vancouver island last night and I overheard Bruce Saville say, "I don't know for sure that the Oilers will leave town, but if they do, they're going to Seattle"

He also mentioned that Katz is meeting with that seattle billionare Chris Hansen in edmonton next week.

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#55 S_DUB
September 22 2012, 11:49AM
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It's very ironic, that someone named "The Soup Fascist" is complaining about someone being unoriginal.

I too have attended numerous NHL arenas - most of them are very nice. But we shouldn't confuse need and want, especially when tax money is being used to subsidize a private business. If the benefits for the city are there, go ahead with the project. If they're not, then re-evaluate, because we don't need a new arena. We want one if the right deal is in place.

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#56 Dave Lumley
September 22 2012, 12:01PM
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Northlands is city subsidized. Lets ban the Billionaire Paul McCartney from playing there and making a buck on the backs of the poor tax paying stiffs. Poor saps, having to buy overpriced tickets laden with working mans sweat!

Maybe we can lynch him from the Gretzky statue.

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#57 Gret99zky
September 22 2012, 12:07PM
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To be honest I am surprised Edmonton even paves its streets. I mean what a waste of money. Paving causes potholes.

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#58 Dave Lumley
September 22 2012, 12:13PM
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@Gret99zky

Exactly, pavement is luxury. And in the winter you don't need to sand your gravel.

I would sign your nomination papers if you ran for mayor.

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#59 DieHard
September 22 2012, 12:16PM
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Too many idiots in Deadmonton.

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#60 Morgie99
September 22 2012, 12:19PM
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Dave Lumley wrote:

Northlands is city subsidized. Lets ban the Billionaire Paul McCartney from playing there and making a buck on the backs of the poor tax paying stiffs. Poor saps, having to buy overpriced tickets laden with working mans sweat!

Maybe we can lynch him from the Gretzky statue.

Northlands looks after many activities for the city in programs, buildings etc.

Without them, the city would have to do that

They are also non profit

big difference

you could argue then the city is really subsidizing itself essentially

Not a billionaire, who already has a sweet deal but now wants:

- the city to pay him an anuual subsidy of 6 mill, meaning we are paying Katz to be in the building to receive all profits

- no taxation of activities in the arena, - A casino licence - the city to move all it's employees permanently into his new office tower

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#61 @NateInVegas
September 22 2012, 12:25PM
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It's easy to make a 35-year commitment when you put down $5.8M/year and get a $6M subsidy. It's like giving a girl a promise ring instead of having the money for an engagement ring. Katz would be equally committed to Edmonton by putting $100M into the arena as was originally promised.

Katz can't seriously be afraid of competing with Northlands. Look at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, or McNichols arena in Denver. Once a new venue goes up, the old one becomes obsolete.

It`s time for a new arena. If you`ve attended games in the spring, you`d know the roof leaks all over the 200`s. Edmonton won't get a better opportunity than Katz, but the PR stinks.

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#62 Dave Lumley
September 22 2012, 12:34PM
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@Morgie99

Now I get it, you are actually Tony Catrina. How was the lunch at the last Northlands board meeting?

So the city can't move employees into a Katz owned building. They have employees all over the city in leased space. If having them in a building that supports Edmonton having a major asset then why would you be against that? These are formulas that are used all over the league, in bigger markets than ours. Explore them all and choose the best. Yes, for a casino, yes for no taxation. Is Northlands being taxed now for the sq. ft. of stores and food kiosks. No, not only are they not being taxed, they are being funded by our taxes.

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#63 etownman
September 22 2012, 12:37PM
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The benefits of having this facility built downtown are not just hockey related! City council needs to get this embarassing situation rectified and get a shovel in the ground! Let's move the city forward, not backwards where some of this council wants to take it!

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#64 Morgie99
September 22 2012, 12:42PM
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Dave Lumley wrote:

Now I get it, you are actually Tony Catrina. How was the lunch at the last Northlands board meeting?

So the city can't move employees into a Katz owned building. They have employees all over the city in leased space. If having them in a building that supports Edmonton having a major asset then why would you be against that? These are formulas that are used all over the league, in bigger markets than ours. Explore them all and choose the best. Yes, for a casino, yes for no taxation. Is Northlands being taxed now for the sq. ft. of stores and food kiosks. No, not only are they not being taxed, they are being funded by our taxes.

ya I'm Caterina you figured it out

you must be daryl Katz then LMAO

Who cares about formulas in the league, someone else makes a bad deal so we should follow suit?

I see you're one of those BUILD IT ALL COST FOLKS

Don't worry about the details LOL

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#65 Jasmine
September 22 2012, 12:46PM
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@SorryToSay

Not until Caterina and Diotte are gone. All these 2 do is complain complain complain. Both are also part of Northlands BOG. That is conflict of interest. That's why Katz won't go public.

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#66 seanjohn
September 22 2012, 12:50PM
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last week I was worried that the building wouldn't get built. Now, I am convinced it won't and am worried that it is only a matter of time when the Oilers leave. I think, when that happens, I leave too. Edmonton is populated by the biggest bunch of cheapskate, hicks, 100 years behind the times that I am getting embarressed to even live here. have fun in Deadmonton, dreaming of the good ol' days when there was this tunnel called the Rathole and water tower. Gretz99ky had it right. I'm surprized people are ok with paving roads, because you know, that costs money. wouldn't want to spend money on anything that isn't food, cloth and shelter.

good bye, Oil. it was fun while it lasted.

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#67 David S
September 22 2012, 12:55PM
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Dave Lumley wrote:

Couple of things; Instead of jumping all over Stauffer and Ssville, they are just stating a fact. If the deal does not get done, the team will be moving. He is just giving voice to it. We have come close to losing the team before and the next time it happens it will all be hingeing on having a arena to play in. The EIG sold because they could not take the project on. Even if Katz is forced to sell to some other rich guy, they still need somewhere to play and a new arena will still have to be built. Doing it now is already generating investment, construction and new tax revenue around the site.

I firmly believe that if Calgary was needing to rebuild the Saddledome first, the Provincial Government would be finding a way to make it happen. No leadership assistance coming for Redmonton. At least the Wildrose offered a lottery funding proposal.

Speaking of secrecy; check out the City of Edmonton website and try and find out what projects like the upgrades on the Capilano Library or the new fascade on the downtown library will cost. Not a whisper of how much they will spend.

And finally, didn't anyone actually listen to Katz. They had a proposed deal were the city was to pursue and locate operational funds. The city failed and flipped it back on to Katz.

A city runs on growth and you need to attact investment for that to happen. Are the Oilers an assest? You better believe it, but more so, the negative publicity for losing the team will be worth billions. You can almost hear the cackling coming from down south.

^ THIS

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#68 Morgie99
September 22 2012, 12:56PM
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Jasmine wrote:

Not until Caterina and Diotte are gone. All these 2 do is complain complain complain. Both are also part of Northlands BOG. That is conflict of interest. That's why Katz won't go public.

www.northlands.com/board-directors

Hey Jasmine,

There's the list of current BOG's for Northlands

Notice there's no Caterina or Diotte on the board so what you suggest is absolutely false

However, Diotte and Mandel are directors with Mandel being pro arena and Diotte too but not on current funding model

As for conflict of interest, Leibovici's husband works for Daryl Katz as a VP of rexall

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#69 justwondering
September 22 2012, 12:57PM
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Morgie99 wrote:

First, yes, North lands area is a crap hole, always will be, but so are many stadiums in north america, they are in crap hole areas, it's not pretty but it is what it is

Rexall concourse could be widened, put in new seats for $250 mill a lot less than the city spending 400 mill +

Yes, the negotiation is embarrassing, but assuming if one side is unreasonable, how do you negotiate?

Yes, a couple of Councillors were in conflict of interest, I think that's why Caterina left the board. But, Leibovici who supports this is in conflict of interest, her husband is a VP for Rexall, it goes both ways for both sides.

Downtown is already building all over the place, just take a look, many, many projects are happening, and are too happen without the Arena, and the biggest ones are happening without the arena,

And, No Edmonton doesn't need Katz, period

You do know that there is more to this project than an arena... right? You can build a brand new arena for $250 mill so why would you want to renovate Rexall? You would stil have a 40 year old building... And who would pay for it? And just because there are arenas in other cities that are in crap holes, that makes it okay to have yours there? That is a very sad statement, and reflects what I said in my first blog.

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#70 Jasmine
September 22 2012, 01:02PM
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@Morgie99

But those 2 are still against the arena. All they do is complain complain complain.

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#71 The Soup Fascist
September 22 2012, 01:08PM
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S_DUB wrote:

It's very ironic, that someone named "The Soup Fascist" is complaining about someone being unoriginal.

I too have attended numerous NHL arenas - most of them are very nice. But we shouldn't confuse need and want, especially when tax money is being used to subsidize a private business. If the benefits for the city are there, go ahead with the project. If they're not, then re-evaluate, because we don't need a new arena. We want one if the right deal is in place.

Ouch. Going after my subpar nicknaming skills. Now that hurts. And relevant to the discussion, too.

Not sure if you grew up in Mayberry or Utopia, but levels of government subsidizing or offering incentives for private enterprise to invest within their locales is not only accepted it is ... Gasp ... Proactive and actually good business.

But your last statement is a perfect metaphor for many who share your view. Let's just do enough to get by. We are in Edmonton (the fact that it is the capital of the wealthiest province in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, notwithstanding). We are fine with "settling". We don't really NEED an iconic world class venue for sports, entertainment, trade shows and conferences. Let's just put lipstick on the pig, that is Rexall. A vibrant downtown is overated and unneccessary. We are Edmontonians and really this is all we deserve.

Sorry, I disagree - we deserve better. And the sooner we get over all the feelings of inadequecy, agendas, pettiness and rhetoric (from both parties involved) the better.

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#72 Morgie99
September 22 2012, 01:13PM
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Jasmine wrote:

But those 2 are still against the arena. All they do is complain complain complain.

Which Two Jasmine?

Did you read?

No Caterina ok, again he's nothing to do with Northlands now, got it?

Leaving Mandel a supporter and Diotte not, cancelling each other out

and lebivoci still in conflict, understand?

@just wondering

You do realize development is already occurring and many of the biggest projects to do so without an arena, don't you?

I'm not against the arena nor the oilers, just think the funding model is horrible but can live with it, but not with anymore concessions, just too much.

so, if the original model isn't good enough, forget the Oilers as far as I'm concerned

that CRL would have to really pay for itself to make any sense, but with the new concessions, it's hard to imagine it still being so, even then, there's no guarantees

and the project is still short 100 mill regardless

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#73 Morgie99
September 22 2012, 01:20PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Ouch. Going after my subpar nicknaming skills. Now that hurts. And relevant to the discussion, too.

Not sure if you grew up in Mayberry or Utopia, but levels of government subsidizing or offering incentives for private enterprise to invest within their locales is not only accepted it is ... Gasp ... Proactive and actually good business.

But your last statement is a perfect metaphor for many who share your view. Let's just do enough to get by. We are in Edmonton (the fact that it is the capital of the wealthiest province in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, notwithstanding). We are fine with "settling". We don't really NEED an iconic world class venue for sports, entertainment, trade shows and conferences. Let's just put lipstick on the pig, that is Rexall. A vibrant downtown is overated and unneccessary. We are Edmontonians and really this is all we deserve.

Sorry, I disagree - we deserve better. And the sooner we get over all the feelings of inadequecy, agendas, pettiness and rhetoric (from both parties involved) the better.

Sorry, I disagree - we deserve better. And the sooner we get over all the feelings of inadequecy, agendas, pettiness and rhetoric (from both parties involved) the better. - Well said

The pettiness is ridiculous, let's make our points and agree to disagree, instead this becomes childish with people labeling and making insults

as for inadequacy, I believe that's why many people want this, we feel inadequate without an NHL team or inadequate without an iconic building

It's best to have them but at what cost?

As for downtown not being vibrant, is somewhat overblown. As for someone who works downtown and lived downtown, I Loved it, as did anyone else I know that lived there. Yes, we didn't hang out in the inner city or Churchill square so what? That's not what makes downtown great, it's the central location to any direction in the city, nearby amenities a walk away, a gem of a river valley, golf courses, bike paths, river paths, etc. Downtown is great even without this development and will continue to be. The same for Edmonton with or without the Oilers. But we can agree to disagree

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#74 The Soup Fascist
September 22 2012, 01:38PM
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Morgie99 wrote:

Sorry, I disagree - we deserve better. And the sooner we get over all the feelings of inadequecy, agendas, pettiness and rhetoric (from both parties involved) the better. - Well said

The pettiness is ridiculous, let's make our points and agree to disagree, instead this becomes childish with people labeling and making insults

as for inadequacy, I believe that's why many people want this, we feel inadequate without an NHL team or inadequate without an iconic building

It's best to have them but at what cost?

As for downtown not being vibrant, is somewhat overblown. As for someone who works downtown and lived downtown, I Loved it, as did anyone else I know that lived there. Yes, we didn't hang out in the inner city or Churchill square so what? That's not what makes downtown great, it's the central location to any direction in the city, nearby amenities a walk away, a gem of a river valley, golf courses, bike paths, river paths, etc. Downtown is great even without this development and will continue to be. The same for Edmonton with or without the Oilers. But we can agree to disagree

Winnipeggers had the same argument when the Jets pulled the pin. "We are a great city and are not defined by a sports team". A short time later the MTS center was conceptualized.

Wonderful sentiment. The reality is a professional sports team - especially hockey in Canada or football in the southern US are not only a source of pride and identity but have huge ecomomic benefits that are attached. Whether you think it is sad or not if you say "Edmonton" in the US or Europe, the response is WEM or the Oilers. Never once have I heard, "oh yeah you guys are those folks with the beautiful river valley", or "wow I want to come see that wonderful art gallery". Not once.

Downtown is a morgue after 6:00 and contains too many eyesores. Sorry. Not sure what I am missing, but you and I have much different perspective of what a "great" downtown looks like. But maybe that makes me a "half glass empty" kind of guy, because I also don't see Rexall as hockey's version of Fenway Park either. Weird, huh?

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#75 David S
September 22 2012, 01:49PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Winnipeggers had the same argument when the Jets pulled the pin. "We are a great city and are not defined by a sports team". A short time later the MTS center was conceptualized.

Wonderful sentiment. The reality is a professional sports team - especially hockey in Canada or football in the southern US are not only a source of pride and identity but have huge ecomomic benefits that are attached. Whether you think it is sad or not if you say "Edmonton" in the US or Europe, the response is WEM or the Oilers. Never once have I heard, "oh yeah you guys are those folks with the beautiful river valley", or "wow I want to come see that wonderful art gallery". Not once.

Downtown is a morgue after 6:00 and contains too many eyesores. Sorry. Not sure what I am missing, but you and I have much different perspective of what a "great" downtown looks like. But maybe that makes me a "half glass empty" kind of guy, because I also don't see Rexall as hockey's version of Fenway Park either. Weird, huh?

At least they maintain Fenway. Ever since talk of the new arena surfaced Northlands has spent the bare minimum on upkeep and maintenance at RX1. I was there about ten days ago inspecting my company's corporate suite and it looks like we'll have to spend a whack of cash just to make it presentable.

While I was there I noticed the peeling paint, smelly halls, wall cracks, bad lighting, ancient signage and on and on. Brutal.

What people don't seem to understand is that the city is going to have to spend some serious money very soon on one location or the other. There is simply no other option.

The original estimate for a proper facelift of RX1 was $250 Million in (I think) 2007. My bet is that figure is easily over $300M now. EASY.

So the rather straightforward reality is that (a) you spend $300M at RX1 and get basically nothing but a refurbished building in the middle of nowhere or (b) roughly the same on a new facility downtown with all the projected benefits of a new entertainment district and ancillary development on top of a huge increase in tax revenue.

What part of this aren't people getting?

Oh right. "I don't want to give money to a billionaire and his millionaire buddies."

Really? That's it? Be better.

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#76 Kaiser Wilhelm
September 22 2012, 01:51PM
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1). Edmonton needs a new arena. Any rink we build is going to cost around $400 mil, minimum.

2). Darryl Katz is offering to put in roughly $200m of his own cash into building an arena.

3). There are at least three, possibly four, larger, richer, and more populous markets currently interested in obtaining an NHL team. A young, talent-heavy, entertaining team is a far better target than an expansion team.

I realize this is an overly simplistic summation of the issue, but let's ditch the pissing contest about who's right and who's wrong. We can get a new rink considerably cheaper with Mr. Katz's help than we can without him. As an eight-year-old kid, I cried when I heard the Oilers might move in the late 90s, and I don't ever want to have to listen to stories about that again.

Just DO it, darn it.

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#77 The Soup Fascist
September 22 2012, 01:56PM
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David S wrote:

At least they maintain Fenway. Ever since talk of the new arena surfaced Northlands has spent the bare minimum on upkeep and maintenance at RX1. I was there about ten days ago inspecting my company's corporate suite and it looks like we'll have to spend a whack of cash just to make it presentable.

While I was there I noticed the peeling paint, smelly halls, wall cracks, bad lighting, ancient signage and on and on. Brutal.

What people don't seem to understand is that the city is going to have to spend some serious money very soon on one location or the other. There is simply no other option.

The original estimate for a proper facelift of RX1 was $250 Million in (I think) 2007. My bet is that figure is easily over $300M now. EASY.

So the rather straightforward reality is that (a) you spend $300M at RX1 and get basically nothing but a refurbished building in the middle of nowhere or (b) roughly the same on a new facility downtown with all the projected benefits of a new entertainment district and ancillary development on top of a huge increase in tax revenue.

What part of this aren't people getting?

Oh right. "I don't want to give money to a billionaire and his millionaire buddies."

Really? That's it? Be better.

I know. We would be much better off with no billionaires, millionaires, people with ambition or those schmoes who want to make money and spend it in their city.

Just think, if we could run those posers out of town we could be Greece!

Minus the weather and beaches, mind you.

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#78 Kaiser Wilhelm
September 22 2012, 02:03PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

I know. We would be much better off with no billionaires, millionaires, people with ambition or those schmoes who want to make money and spend it in their city.

Just think, if we could run those posers out of town we could be Greece!

Minus the weather and beaches, mind you.

Or the European Union to give us billions when we ask for it.

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#79 Gerald R. Ford
September 22 2012, 02:09PM
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I'm halfway between: "The arena is the cure-all for everything wrong for Edmonton" and "I don't need an NHL hockey team where I live to validate my self-worth. Let them go, who cares?" I think both positions are silly.

I love Edmonton. I've lived here most of my life now, and every time I go away for work, or just to travel, I'm always happy to get home. It's a nice, relatively friendly, cozy sort of place for the average joe (of which I am one). But... our downtown sucks a Flinstones-era bowling ball through eighty feet of garden hose. It's thoroughly embarrassing, bordering on indecent. After spending the better part of a month visiting my family in Montréal, partying Big Wanye Style, I can tell you, if anyone thinks downtown Edmonton is "vibrant", they do not have a proper baseline for comparison.

Are there some nice places to live downtown? Sure. Good places to eat? If you squint hard and long enough. Any semblance of a coordinated, sustainable effort to attract large numbers of patrons to have a good time, or businesses to set up shop? Next to none.

Look, I don't buy that CRL hocus-pocus used car salesman pitch that Mandel and Katz are spewing about the "goldmine" of riches that the arena will generate for the city. It's NOT a creation of wealth, it's a transference of wealth. It's a redistribution of existing wealth. A purposeful concentration for a better good. I'm fine with that, and I wish they would state it as such, without the numerical slight of hand act. I think it ultimately hurts the cause, and the cause IS just. We need that arena, and we need it downtown. The arena... is a good START for necessary change. This TOWN has stood still for far, far too long. As Stauffer says, we can keep being a big town, or we can grow up and be something better. Get the deal done, get it done TODAY. And, yes, it's going to be somewhat unfair in favour of Mr. Katz. C'est la vie.

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#80 Morgie99
September 22 2012, 02:26PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

I know. We would be much better off with no billionaires, millionaires, people with ambition or those schmoes who want to make money and spend it in their city.

Just think, if we could run those posers out of town we could be Greece!

Minus the weather and beaches, mind you.

You two, including Kaiser makes some great points, no doubt

David S, "Just think, if we could run those posers out of town we could be Greece"

Well, that's my concern, that if CRL doesn't work, we could be Greece, overspent, it's certainly possible

According to Diotte, in ten years city debt has went for 25 million to 2.5 billion, and that's before starting this project

Montreal just finished paying for the Olympic stadium two years ago, built for the 76 Olympics!

I'll admit it, the funding model guts me, and concerns me

Pro sports always plays this card, it's too bad not enough cities stood up so the whole thing made more economic sense, now created a monster

Despite that where's the missing 100 mill coming from?

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#81 huh?
September 22 2012, 02:29PM
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Kaiser Wilhelm wrote:

1). Edmonton needs a new arena. Any rink we build is going to cost around $400 mil, minimum.

2). Darryl Katz is offering to put in roughly $200m of his own cash into building an arena.

3). There are at least three, possibly four, larger, richer, and more populous markets currently interested in obtaining an NHL team. A young, talent-heavy, entertaining team is a far better target than an expansion team.

I realize this is an overly simplistic summation of the issue, but let's ditch the pissing contest about who's right and who's wrong. We can get a new rink considerably cheaper with Mr. Katz's help than we can without him. As an eight-year-old kid, I cried when I heard the Oilers might move in the late 90s, and I don't ever want to have to listen to stories about that again.

Just DO it, darn it.

Where are people getting this false impression that Katz is putting any of his own money into this??? Katz is putting EXACTLY $0 OF HIS OWN MONEY into this project. His $100M contribution is borrowed from the city which he will pay back at $5.5M/year for 35 years. And he is now asking for an additional $6M/year subsidy from the city to cover "operations". So not only is Katz not putting any money in, he is having the city pay back their own loan. On top of that, Katz will keep all profits from the Arena, and will also gain profits from land developments surrounding the arena.

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#82 SorryToSay
September 22 2012, 02:43PM
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Jasmine wrote:

Not until Caterina and Diotte are gone. All these 2 do is complain complain complain. Both are also part of Northlands BOG. That is conflict of interest. That's why Katz won't go public.

Even though your statement above has already shown to be false... Even if it were true, if the reason that the Katz group wont bring their plan public is because they are afraid that Caterina and Diotte (or ANY 2 people) might complain about it, then they must be VERY insecure in their plan convincing anyone that it is good for the city. Seriously, if the reason they will not go public is that they are worried that people will complain, then they should come up with good arguments to refute the complaints. If they would rather rather hide their plan than discuss it with the citizens of this city, it just means that they have something to hide. And that is that they have no good arguments for their plans being good for the city.

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#83 Morgie99
September 22 2012, 02:51PM
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Gerald R. Ford wrote:

I'm halfway between: "The arena is the cure-all for everything wrong for Edmonton" and "I don't need an NHL hockey team where I live to validate my self-worth. Let them go, who cares?" I think both positions are silly.

I love Edmonton. I've lived here most of my life now, and every time I go away for work, or just to travel, I'm always happy to get home. It's a nice, relatively friendly, cozy sort of place for the average joe (of which I am one). But... our downtown sucks a Flinstones-era bowling ball through eighty feet of garden hose. It's thoroughly embarrassing, bordering on indecent. After spending the better part of a month visiting my family in Montréal, partying Big Wanye Style, I can tell you, if anyone thinks downtown Edmonton is "vibrant", they do not have a proper baseline for comparison.

Are there some nice places to live downtown? Sure. Good places to eat? If you squint hard and long enough. Any semblance of a coordinated, sustainable effort to attract large numbers of patrons to have a good time, or businesses to set up shop? Next to none.

Look, I don't buy that CRL hocus-pocus used car salesman pitch that Mandel and Katz are spewing about the "goldmine" of riches that the arena will generate for the city. It's NOT a creation of wealth, it's a transference of wealth. It's a redistribution of existing wealth. A purposeful concentration for a better good. I'm fine with that, and I wish they would state it as such, without the numerical slight of hand act. I think it ultimately hurts the cause, and the cause IS just. We need that arena, and we need it downtown. The arena... is a good START for necessary change. This TOWN has stood still for far, far too long. As Stauffer says, we can keep being a big town, or we can grow up and be something better. Get the deal done, get it done TODAY. And, yes, it's going to be somewhat unfair in favour of Mr. Katz. C'est la vie.

Are there some nice places to live downtown? Sure. Good places to eat? If you squint hard and long enough. Any semblance of a coordinated, sustainable effort to attract large numbers of patrons to have a good time, or businesses to set up shop? Next to none. - Gerald Ford

I agree with most of your points but not the one directly above

What do you consider downtown? Is Jasper Ave downtown?

What about Oliver Square?

Nothing to attract a number of patrons?

Same with restaurants?

I beg to differ, there are numerous restaurants and clubs already, and more in the works already

Do we have resort to Hyperbole to make our points?

other than that I agree, but still have trouble stomaching this subsidy getting better by the minute i'm sure

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#84 David S
September 22 2012, 03:12PM
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huh? wrote:

Where are people getting this false impression that Katz is putting any of his own money into this??? Katz is putting EXACTLY $0 OF HIS OWN MONEY into this project. His $100M contribution is borrowed from the city which he will pay back at $5.5M/year for 35 years. And he is now asking for an additional $6M/year subsidy from the city to cover "operations". So not only is Katz not putting any money in, he is having the city pay back their own loan. On top of that, Katz will keep all profits from the Arena, and will also gain profits from land developments surrounding the arena.

- $5.5M/year is $192M over 35 years that Katz is putting in OF HIS OWN MONEY (profit that he could invest otherwise).

- The city will own the building

- Operating costs are ON TOP OF the mortgage. There was always a mechanism proposed (i.e. the casino) that would offset said costs. The city hasn't made any progress on that front so Katz is saying "Fine. Then pay me a subsidy per our agreement."

- Katz keeps all the profits of the arena, the city gets all the tax revenue from both the arena and any new development, said to be conservatively estimated at in excess of $2 BILLION.

- Katz is proposing the same sort of model cities like Winnipeg have in place. Why should he accept less than league standard?

- The arena district has been acknowledged by several credible sources (Downtown Business Association being one of them) to be a catalyst for much of the urban redevelopment. And no, people like "Mimi Williams" are NOT credible authorities.

- There have been ZERO credible studies done IN EDMONTON ABOUT THE ARENA DISTRICT that refute the claims of the city, DBA. Zero. None.

- We have spent almost nothing on our downtown in comparison to our suburbs. The result is what you currently see - a "crap hole"

- Contrary to popular belief, many of us are not content with a crap hole downtown.

- Also, many of us are OK with a businessman making profit. It's what they do. Get over it. You don't like it? Put up in excess of $200 Million yourself to buy the team and let's see if you're any different.

- The "economic redistribution" argument is based on the false assumption of a closed economy. It assumes no net in-migration of business or people. People lean on this because it supports their hate of new development being financed (in part) by government, despite the fact it's a commonly used vehicle for economic expansion.

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#85 Wanyes bastard child
September 22 2012, 03:15PM
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I like hockey.

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#86 The Soup Fascist
September 22 2012, 03:19PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

I like hockey.

What is this "hockey" of which you speak?

Props.

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#87 Quicksilver ballet
September 22 2012, 03:23PM
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No matter what side of the debate you're on, it has to be a tough sell with a population base of only 1.1 million.

Calgary will have the same issues/concerns when it's their turn. Chicken/egg arguement all over again.

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#88 Kaiser Wilhelm
September 22 2012, 03:37PM
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Morgie99 wrote:

You two, including Kaiser makes some great points, no doubt

David S, "Just think, if we could run those posers out of town we could be Greece"

Well, that's my concern, that if CRL doesn't work, we could be Greece, overspent, it's certainly possible

According to Diotte, in ten years city debt has went for 25 million to 2.5 billion, and that's before starting this project

Montreal just finished paying for the Olympic stadium two years ago, built for the 76 Olympics!

I'll admit it, the funding model guts me, and concerns me

Pro sports always plays this card, it's too bad not enough cities stood up so the whole thing made more economic sense, now created a monster

Despite that where's the missing 100 mill coming from?

That's a solid point regarding Montreal, and an extremely valid concern regarding Greece. And I too am concerned by the missing 100 mil. However, I feel like we're missing the point in some ways here: an arena isn't a luxury in this case, it's a necessity. Rexall is junk. Even without considering hockey, we aren't going to get another 20 years out of Rexall without a couple hundred million going towards renos. I don't know how they'll fund this rink--I have enough trouble paying my tuition, for crying out loud--but one thing I know for absolutely certan: We are never going to get a better deal than we will right now, and the forcasted benefits (even taken conservatively, and even if, as Gerald. R. Ford pointed out, it's a redistribution of wealth as opposed to creation of new wealth), far outweigh the negatives.

Let's look big picture here. If this works, Edmonton's downtown is set for at least another 40 years. Plus, people might actually ask me something other than "why does Edmonton have so many more murders than Calgary" when they find out where I'm from.

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#89 The Soup Fascist
September 22 2012, 03:37PM
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@Morgie99

I think David S dealt with the economics better than I ever could.

Olympic Stadium was a visit to the trough by friends of all levels of government within Montreal, Quebec and the feds of the time. This baby cost 1.1B in 1976 dollars. Someone smarter than me will have to tell me what the equivalency in 2012 dollars is.

In terms of the Honorable Mr. Diotte I will not comment on his numbers. Due to Mr. Diotte's litigious nature, my legal counsel, Wanye's cousin Dwanye, has advised me not to comment, for fear of being sued in a similar manner as the Edmonton Sun, the EPS and the Girl Scout who showed up at his door without Magic Mint cookies. So if Diotte says the moon is made of green cheese, I smile, bite my lip and say, "mmmmm, that sounds good.

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#90 Jason
September 22 2012, 04:21PM
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there is far more support in favour of this downtown entertainment complex than there is opposed yet the majority of the things we here about are of the ones opposing the arena...why is that??

and why is it always being billed as an arena for the Oilers? can the vocal minority not understand the enormous economic spinoff for this city??

this absolutely boggles my mind as to why it is so difficult to get this project done!!

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#91 DSF
September 22 2012, 04:27PM
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huh? wrote:

Where are people getting this false impression that Katz is putting any of his own money into this??? Katz is putting EXACTLY $0 OF HIS OWN MONEY into this project. His $100M contribution is borrowed from the city which he will pay back at $5.5M/year for 35 years. And he is now asking for an additional $6M/year subsidy from the city to cover "operations". So not only is Katz not putting any money in, he is having the city pay back their own loan. On top of that, Katz will keep all profits from the Arena, and will also gain profits from land developments surrounding the arena.

This is just nonsense.

Katz is contributing:

1) $125 million from a ticket surcharge that DOES NOT EXIST without the Oilers.

2) $5.5 million annually over 35 years which amounts to $192.5 million and includes interest. As any good businessman would do, he is using the city's ability to get money at a far lower rate than he could on capital markets and there is NO RISK to the city in this arrangement since he is guaranteeing it.

3) He is contributing $25 million to the construction of the Winter Garden and has agreed to pay half if the cost rises about $50 million

4) As part of the arena agreement, he is required to spent a minimum of $30 million to kick start the ancillary development around the arena. He claims he has already spent $70 million and the city could easily verify this and I am sure verification would be part of the agreement.

That adds up to a minimum $280 million so to say he will contribute nothing is just absurd.

I think what rankles lethargic thinkers is:

1) Katz will make a profit....on noes!!!!! He already has too much money!!!

3) There is a risk involved in the CRL. Maybe nothing happens. Eeeek. The city administration certainly doesn't think so. These professional planners and bean counters have raised their estimate of CRL revenue to $1.6 BILLION. Why don't you read the report.

http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/Updated__CRL_Review_Forcecast_2012.pdf

4) Katz has asked the city to live up to its commitment in the framework agreement to find a funding source for maintenance and capital costs. It was ALWAYS in the agreement.

Another factor almost always overlooked is that, as part of the agreement, the city has used of the arena for one month every year. The city can use the proceeds of its activity to pay down its contribution to the arena if it so chooses.

One of the last stumbling blocks to the agreement to build a new arena in Seattle was also fear about the success of the CRL there. The developer has agreed to guarantee that revenue stream and perhaps that is the solution for all the NIMBYs in Edmonton.

However, there is still the matter of the missing $100 million and I think it is THAT which will ultimately kill this deal and see the Oilers head to Seattle in a couple of years.

Katz is apparently meeting with Hansen next week and I'm guessing its not to talk about the NBA.

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#92 Wanyes bastard child
September 22 2012, 04:44PM
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DSF wrote:

This is just nonsense.

Katz is contributing:

1) $125 million from a ticket surcharge that DOES NOT EXIST without the Oilers.

2) $5.5 million annually over 35 years which amounts to $192.5 million and includes interest. As any good businessman would do, he is using the city's ability to get money at a far lower rate than he could on capital markets and there is NO RISK to the city in this arrangement since he is guaranteeing it.

3) He is contributing $25 million to the construction of the Winter Garden and has agreed to pay half if the cost rises about $50 million

4) As part of the arena agreement, he is required to spent a minimum of $30 million to kick start the ancillary development around the arena. He claims he has already spent $70 million and the city could easily verify this and I am sure verification would be part of the agreement.

That adds up to a minimum $280 million so to say he will contribute nothing is just absurd.

I think what rankles lethargic thinkers is:

1) Katz will make a profit....on noes!!!!! He already has too much money!!!

3) There is a risk involved in the CRL. Maybe nothing happens. Eeeek. The city administration certainly doesn't think so. These professional planners and bean counters have raised their estimate of CRL revenue to $1.6 BILLION. Why don't you read the report.

http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/Updated__CRL_Review_Forcecast_2012.pdf

4) Katz has asked the city to live up to its commitment in the framework agreement to find a funding source for maintenance and capital costs. It was ALWAYS in the agreement.

Another factor almost always overlooked is that, as part of the agreement, the city has used of the arena for one month every year. The city can use the proceeds of its activity to pay down its contribution to the arena if it so chooses.

One of the last stumbling blocks to the agreement to build a new arena in Seattle was also fear about the success of the CRL there. The developer has agreed to guarantee that revenue stream and perhaps that is the solution for all the NIMBYs in Edmonton.

However, there is still the matter of the missing $100 million and I think it is THAT which will ultimately kill this deal and see the Oilers head to Seattle in a couple of years.

Katz is apparently meeting with Hansen next week and I'm guessing its not to talk about the NBA.

Great post but you lost me at the end... is the Oilers to Seattle as confirmed as Shultz to Vancouver?

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#93 David S
September 22 2012, 05:06PM
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@DSF

Agreed.

It's not entirely out of the question Katz may be interested in selling the team. Sometimes you get to a point in the process where you have to say "F it" and move on. Unless the Oilers are a hobby of his (which would validate his taking so much time away from other actual profitable ventures), it's not out of the realm of possibility.

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#94 DSF
September 22 2012, 06:50PM
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David S wrote:

Agreed.

It's not entirely out of the question Katz may be interested in selling the team. Sometimes you get to a point in the process where you have to say "F it" and move on. Unless the Oilers are a hobby of his (which would validate his taking so much time away from other actual profitable ventures), it's not out of the realm of possibility.

I wouldn't characterize his interest as a hobby...I think he is a civic spirited man and his many multi million dollar donations in Edmonton prove that beyond a doubt.

I do think though, that after having spent $200 million to buy the team, having a significant number of Edmontonians calling him out as greedy would no doubt take the bloom off the rose.

He could certainly use the proceeds of the sale of the Oilers to a much higher benefit that spending four freaking years and tens of millions of dollars trying to get the yokels to see his vision.

I would think he could likely sell the team for close to $250 million and walk away from the whole mess.

I would.

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#95 S_DUB
September 22 2012, 07:06PM
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The Soup Fascist, for someone who wants to "get over all the feelings of inadequecy, agendas, pettiness and rhetoric (from both parties involved)" you're really not doing a very good job of it - first, stating my use of a commonly-known reference to make a point was "unoriginal", then hyperbolizing about "Mayberry" and "Utopia", then complaining how this was not "relevant to the discussion", let's focus on the point, which you seem to be missing.

"But your last statement is a perfect metaphor for many who share your view. Let's just do enough to get by. We are in Edmonton (the fact that it is the capital of the wealthiest province in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, notwithstanding). We are fine with "settling". We don't really NEED an iconic world class venue for sports, entertainment, trade shows and conferences. Let's just put lipstick on the pig, that is Rexall. A vibrant downtown is overated and unneccessary. We are Edmontonians and really this is all we deserve.

"Sorry, I disagree - we deserve better."

What we deserve is that our tax money utility is maximized - if that is accomplished by subsidizing a private business, so be it. But this is a discussion that needs to happen, and whatever deal is in place needs to be analysed by what it accomplishes for the citizens, be it by effective use of tax dollars, or by having great sports and entertainment options. If building a new arena is not an effective use of tax money, don't do it. If the oilers will leave (which I don't believe they will, but I digress), and its extremely valuable to have them here, then build the thing, but call it what it is - subsidizing a profit-making business, but one from which the city benefits greatly.

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#96 The Soup Fascist
September 22 2012, 07:30PM
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S_DUB wrote:

The Soup Fascist, for someone who wants to "get over all the feelings of inadequecy, agendas, pettiness and rhetoric (from both parties involved)" you're really not doing a very good job of it - first, stating my use of a commonly-known reference to make a point was "unoriginal", then hyperbolizing about "Mayberry" and "Utopia", then complaining how this was not "relevant to the discussion", let's focus on the point, which you seem to be missing.

"But your last statement is a perfect metaphor for many who share your view. Let's just do enough to get by. We are in Edmonton (the fact that it is the capital of the wealthiest province in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, notwithstanding). We are fine with "settling". We don't really NEED an iconic world class venue for sports, entertainment, trade shows and conferences. Let's just put lipstick on the pig, that is Rexall. A vibrant downtown is overated and unneccessary. We are Edmontonians and really this is all we deserve.

"Sorry, I disagree - we deserve better."

What we deserve is that our tax money utility is maximized - if that is accomplished by subsidizing a private business, so be it. But this is a discussion that needs to happen, and whatever deal is in place needs to be analysed by what it accomplishes for the citizens, be it by effective use of tax dollars, or by having great sports and entertainment options. If building a new arena is not an effective use of tax money, don't do it. If the oilers will leave (which I don't believe they will, but I digress), and its extremely valuable to have them here, then build the thing, but call it what it is - subsidizing a profit-making business, but one from which the city benefits greatly.

If you are expecting efficient spending of dollars from this government or any other, I am afraid you are going to be disappointed. Without getting into a discussion on the socio-economic respsonibility of governments, they really have no incentive to be efficient.

I sincerely apologize if you feel slighted. But your view that a government, any government can simply sit back and wait for business to roll in is, IMO, naïve.

I assume you are a taxpayer so you can pass your views onto your councillor and ask him to take action as you see fit. My belief the arena is a bit of a litmus test in terms of stepping out of the "small town" funk this city seems to self wallow in at times. My hope is both parties can come up with a reasonable deal that will lead to construction of a world class facility that we will look back to as the start of something great. If you have a better use for our tax dollars, fill your boots.

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#97 Pouzar99
September 22 2012, 07:59PM
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Very lively debate fellow Nationers. I have to come down in the middle on this one. Katz is not Darth Vader but right now he is asking too much and threatening even more.

First off - Anyone who thinks Rexall is still a viable NHL rink either spends very little time there or has seen very few other NHL arenas. Even the ice plant is shot. The Oilers have a skating team on ice that is a pale shadow of the 80s. The sightlines are excellent but almost everything else ranges from sub-standard to appalling.

There must be a new rink, the projected location is ideal and Katz and the public must share the expenditures. The numbers and projections are where this gets sticky. When the city projects healthy profits for Katz and he projects break-even at best and significant losses at worst it makes it hard for us to judge, especially when the matter isn't fully public.

Katz obsession with keeping things private should make everyone nervous. It is clear that he has dumped a pack of new demands on Council and Mandel, who is no fool and has been by his side every step of the way, is pissed. One way or the other the parties have to grind this one out and get the shovels in the ground.

There is no sort-term danger of the Oilers moving, but Katz or no Katz, Rexall is only viable as a temporary home so, yes, if there is no new building in 5 years or so then there is some danger of losing the Oilers. But outside of the building Edmonton and Calgary are the strongest small market franchises in the league, infinitely better than any alternative. So not building a new arena is nuts and I can't see it happening. I also advocate tearing down Rexall when the new arena is built so the entitled clowns at Northlands and their pals on Council and the provincial government don't screw this thing up.

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#98 HOFFFF
September 22 2012, 08:36PM
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I've seen some of the people of Edmonton chase players out of Edmonton.....but an entire team at once? Once they are gone, they will all be looking around thinking..."what the eff did we just do?" Your NHL Team needs an new arena. If not now, in 5 years. Everyone knows that. So why not take advantage of the opportunity in front of you?

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#99 Mike
September 22 2012, 09:10PM
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@S_DUB

What about the city's own calculations that a new arena will yield a 1.3 billion dollar return over the term of the Oilers location agreement??

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#100 DSF
September 22 2012, 09:22PM
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Pouzar99 wrote:

Very lively debate fellow Nationers. I have to come down in the middle on this one. Katz is not Darth Vader but right now he is asking too much and threatening even more.

First off - Anyone who thinks Rexall is still a viable NHL rink either spends very little time there or has seen very few other NHL arenas. Even the ice plant is shot. The Oilers have a skating team on ice that is a pale shadow of the 80s. The sightlines are excellent but almost everything else ranges from sub-standard to appalling.

There must be a new rink, the projected location is ideal and Katz and the public must share the expenditures. The numbers and projections are where this gets sticky. When the city projects healthy profits for Katz and he projects break-even at best and significant losses at worst it makes it hard for us to judge, especially when the matter isn't fully public.

Katz obsession with keeping things private should make everyone nervous. It is clear that he has dumped a pack of new demands on Council and Mandel, who is no fool and has been by his side every step of the way, is pissed. One way or the other the parties have to grind this one out and get the shovels in the ground.

There is no sort-term danger of the Oilers moving, but Katz or no Katz, Rexall is only viable as a temporary home so, yes, if there is no new building in 5 years or so then there is some danger of losing the Oilers. But outside of the building Edmonton and Calgary are the strongest small market franchises in the league, infinitely better than any alternative. So not building a new arena is nuts and I can't see it happening. I also advocate tearing down Rexall when the new arena is built so the entitled clowns at Northlands and their pals on Council and the provincial government don't screw this thing up.

You really shouldn't equate Calgary and Edmonton in framing this debate.

1) The Saddledome is 5 years newer than Rexall Place and seats 19,829 for hockey. 3,000 more than Rexall Place.

2) The Flames generate $10 million more annually than the Oilers due to larger capacity. Over 10 years that is $100 million dollars.

3) In 1994, the Stampede Board turned over management of the arena to the Calgary Flames for $20 million dollars. Since that time, the Flames have received all non-hockey related revenue from the arena.

4) Calgary has a much larger corporate community to draw on for sponsorship

5) When Calgary needs a new arena, they will find a way to get it done.

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