Big ups to our main man @21bam21 for sending us the classic video above.

Bad news just seems to be raining down on the OilersNation doesn’t it? First the lockout dominates our every waking thought as our beloved sport is put in jeopardy by the very same rich people who make their living from us enjoying our beloved sport. Then news that Randy Jackson isn’t leaving American Idol after all. Then news yesterday of an alarming exchange between Daryl Katz and City Council.

Good times.


Let’s all take a deep breath and calm down. 99% of what we are witnessing is theatre designed to create fear among us average folk and force the government’s hand into publicly funding a greater share of a private-public partnership.

Read that again if you need to have it sink in: people who are experienced at this sort of thing are playing out drama designed to freak you out and make demands of government. There is no risk of the arena not being built and the Oilers leaving town.


Everyone involved knows that this arena is going to get built. Make no mistake. They just want someone else to pay for it and are willing to stir us all up to sway public opinion. This is a play that was designed a long time ago and has been very effective time and time again. 

The City wants other governments to pay for this thing. Katz wants anyone but Katz Co to pay for it. The Feds don’t want to pay for anything for fear it will lead to multiple demands for federal money for arenas in other cities. Fans just want to line up to pay $200 for a ticket to watch Dubnyk and Khabibulin battle it out for King Shit of the Worst Goaltending tandem in the league.

Good times.


This is just utter nonsense. Companies and individuals with large amounts of capital would be all over putting in $100 million into funding the current gap. Think that a billionaire can’t raise 100 million at the drop of a hat? Please. We guarantee that the Katz Group is appoached on the regular by companies looking to participate in the project.

Hell we saw representatives from the AEG at the Art Gallery for the launch of the arena designs at many months ago. They make millions of dollars every year by funding arenas that can’t come up with the money from any other source. And they charge a boatload to do it. They have been hanging around since day one and aren’t the only company that would jump at the chance to fund a project of this size in an economy as hot as Alberta.

If you are interested in an arena at a reasonable price you will want to avoid private funds which will want a much higher percentage return on their money thus jacking up the cost considerably. You might not believe it – but it is absolute truth.

No entity can borrow money at a lower rate of interest than a government. A government owned arena or some sort of partnership is the cheapest if a government body borrows the money at government rates and makes a return on the money they borrow.


The US is going through a generational recession at the moment in case anyone cares to look. Cities in the US are experiencing double digit unemployment, social unrest and bleak prospects for the immediate future. If you want to line up the teams that need to be relocated the Oil are like 25th out of 30th. 

One of the main reasons that the NHL is going to war over expenses (though they lack the PR sense to discuss it) is that the US economy is in dire trouble and there are several teams on life support. North American cities are splitting into haves and have nots and Professional Sports are exposed to a tremendous amount of risk as a result.

A strong market like Edmonton is not going to be disrupted no matter what nonsense is being thrown around in the media.

Read that again if you need to have it sink in: there is ZERO risk the Oilers are leaving town if they don’t get a new arena. Zero.


What we are witnessing here folks is theatre, pure and simple by people who are used to putting on this sort of play. Katz has more than the ability to put in the $100 million himself, or raise the capital with a couple well timed phone calls. Governments routinely split costs of publicly owned facilities like this and at the same time private money bangs these things out all over the world.

And the quickest way to get the deal done is turn up public pressure to 1000 until someone cracks and the thing gets built.

Don’t let politicians, rich people or the media scare you. It is all a show designed to get a rise out of us all and everyone freaking out and blogging, tweeting and screaming their heads off is playing right into their practiced plans. Whether it’s through a per ticket surcharge, $9 beers or tax increases you are paying your portion of the arena whether you like it or not. And odds are you won’t even notice.

It’s a similar situation over in the NHL-NHLPA war too. It’s a shame that the average joe is the only one put out by any of these battles and picks up the tab for the entire thing anyways.

But that’s a different conversation.

Mark this down: the arena will be funded and the first shovel will be in the ground in the Spring. This is all BS.


  • Gerald R. Ford

    I am less concerned about the arena being built than I am what the actual results may end up being.

    My faith in Katz being the right guy for a project that means so much for the city has been shaken and there is no do over here.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    So tired of this posturing and el toro poo poo. The most maddening thing about this entire mess is, in the time that it takes to convince everyone to spend x amount of money on the project, it’s already increased to x + 5%. It’s a never-ending cycle of self-inflicted inflation.


    “No one said it would be easy, but no one said it’d be this hard.”
    -Sheryl Crow


    except I don’t think “Deez Nuts” will do well instead of “no comment”

    wake me up when they start playing and when they put a shovel to the ground on this building… till then what channel is that women’s lingerie football on again?

    • ubermiguel

      @ Jonathan Willis: I agree! I live here in Lancaster, Pa in the USA, and let me tell you, Wanye…you are 110% correct! There are quite a few teams here in the US that just don’t belong.
      Been a life long Oilers fan since Elementary school, aka…the Dynasty years. all this posturing is nonsense.

      love the blogs! Go Oilers from PA!! (I hate the Penguins and Flyers)

  • book¡e

    Wanye is right about a few things. First,the arena will be built. Second, the Oilers will not move.

    However, I can tell you that the councilors for the City that have supported this thing are pissed off at how Katz has approached this.

  • ubermiguel

    Wanye, why would Katz be wasting his time with the City if there is private capital available? Face it, an arena is a bad business venture, no smart business man (that didn’t own a hockey team) would build one. It’s a great thing for Edmonton’s city core and general image, but it’s not going to turn a profit.

    • Any good investment is a better investment if you get the money at a cheaper rate. In an economy like Alberta’s this is a tremendous investment and will turn a profit over the lifespan of the building.

      If you get the money at a cheaper (government) rate it turns a bigger profit.

      • ubermiguel

        All true.

        Why is Katz concerned about the ROI the missing $100 million that someone else is providing though? Oh right, he wants the profits from that.

        Also I haven’t heard any deep pockets in the media saying “if the province isn’t on board here’s a wheelbarrow full of money.” They aren’t there.

        • #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...

          Do you actually believe that Katz is open to taking on partners – and splitting the potential windfall – on this venture?

          I seem to recall a few of the EIG being interested in staying on when Katz first took over the team but instead they were summarily kicked to the curb for their efforts.

        • So in the absence of the local or national media telling you that companies exist providing capital you don’t believe in them?

          They exist my man. Even private money means borrowed money. Lenders are everywhere for any sum of money. It’s the interest rate of return you to worry about.

          • ubermiguel

            I know there are lenders out there who will front Katz the cash…but just because a methhead can get a payday loan it doesn’t mean it’s a good business deal.

            In our media saturated world, on a topic that has both business and sports media taking an interest I would expect to hear something about some real private capital wanting on-board, but there’s nada.

            Point me to a tweet, blog post, newspaper article or public bathroom graffiti that says a friend of a friend of a friend saw Richard Branson and Robert Kraft having secret meeting with Katz about building a rink.

          • Dude. I’ve got nothing against you but your assumptions about social media transparency and open disclosure are either naive or extremely short-sighted.

            A guy like Katz has bankers like that on speed-dial. Finance deals are brokered behind closed doors all the time, and not surprisingly, nobody talks about it. The fact that he hasn’t accessed them speaks to the reality that he believes he can finance his $100M contribution using the city’s far better lending rates. In fact, this deal may only be feasible for him by using those rates. It’s a Private-Public-Partnership or PPP.

            I know Wanye comes off like sort of a goof around here but I can vouch for the fact he’s actually a pretty bright business guy. You’d be wise to take him a bit more seriously.

          • ubermiguel

            Nothing against you either. I appreciate you’re keeping it measured and not getting personal.

            100% agree with you, no doubt Katz can get private financing (as opposed to building partnerships which was more where I was going with that). I know he wants to use gov’t money because it’s cheaper. But you saying “this deal may only be feasible for him by using those rates” is kind of what I’m getting at: rink = bad business. If I can only afford to buy a house with a 0.0001% mortgage, I can’t really afford that house.

            No doubt Wanye’s a sharp guy. I love his businesses and will continue to support them. But I tend to trust what I read for myself and it’s stuff like the links below that have me convinced rink = bad business:


            “independent work on the economic impact of stadiums and arenas has
            uniformly found that there is no statistically significant positive correlation between sports facility construction and economic development. These results stand in distinct contrast to the promotional studies that are typically done by consulting firms under the hire of teams or local chambers of commerce supporting facility development.”


            “The evidence presented here is that the presence of a new or renovated stadium has an uncertain impact on the levels of personal income and possibly a negative impact on local development relative to the region”

            I wish more Oilers fans would just admit, “I want a new rink because it’s frickin’ cool!” The business arguments are endlessly debated because they’re endlessly debatable.

          • Every case is different. In Edmonton there’s a severely underdeveloped downtown ripe for development with the right sort of stimulus. I’ve seen those studies you cited and more like ’em. I’ve also seen conservative estimates by city planners pegging development potential at $2 Billion probable and almost $5 Billion possible with the arena entertainment district being one of the prime accelerators.

            What’s not up for debate is the need for a new arena. Whether we like it or not the city will either dump $250 Million (more like $300M now) into RX1 for a major reno or downtown. There’s also not much debate on which location has a greater opportunity for urban redevelopment. I had a meeting at RX1 the other day and was reminded how crappy an area it sits around when I drove down there (it’s far more depressing when you drive in during the day let me tell you!).

    • Jason Gregor

      Ask MLSE if their new arena turns a profit. In a major market with diehard fans, you can easily turn a profit.

      It would be harder in Edmonton, but there is still a profit to be made. Both sides need each other to make it work. Make no mistake money can be made, but neither side wants to invest too much. Eventually they will figure it out, however, when they do the cost will be much higher than it is now.

  • ubermiguel

    Really good article … too bad we can’t get all our information with this panache. No new facts
    but reassurance given with style that most couldn’t get with 10X the words.

  • admiralmark

    This may all very well be true.. And i believe you are mostly correct here. But this latest shot across the bow came from Katz and if his desired effect was to get more public funding I think its an epic fail. He has with this move most definitely swayed public opinion in a negative direction as it pertains to his image. And that cannot help in getting public funding… can it?

  • vetinari

    I like new arenas as much as the next guy, but didn’t Katz think that somebody would notice that his management team just handed out some major moola for extensions for Hall and Eb’s, and that the average tax payer might assume that he’d have a few extra million dollars kicking around his couch cushions to fund an arena privately? Especially at a time when he’s not actually paying his team to play hockey? And that if he wants to threaten to move the team, another team like the Phoenix Coyotes would likely be relocated here at the drop of a hat?

      • vetinari

        @ David – Now why would I read the article? 😉


        I did read the article and maybe the point is that when each side (Katz v. government) assesses the other for who should pay the extra $100M, government may push back and point to things like I mentioned in the above post. And although everyone knows that Katz won’t move the team, in case it even gets implied or threatened, there are other considerations beyond those mentioned in the article that will be used to counter such a threat (such as another team getting relocated here).

        • DieHard

          So, Katz and the Oilers leave. But, another team from the USA is relocated to Edmonton. And exactly who are the new owners? And is he or are they Billionaires? Just asking.

          • Dude they can’t leave. The NHL can’t allow it with all the teams in big trouble. If anyone is moving its one of the mega screwed US teams not the Canadian team that is strongly supported in one of the better economies in the world.

  • Katz gets the arena profits and the city gets the tax revenue from the arena and surrounding development, conservatively estimated at somewhere around $1.6 BILLION over the life of the project.

    I’m still not sure what the problem is.

    • ubermiguel

      Because the logic behind CRLs is weak. A new hockey rink, hotel, casino etc brings in revenue and taxes only so far as it takes revenue and taxes away from other hockey rinks, hotels, casinos, etc.

      • No. This assumes a closed economy that doesn’t account for new influx of either people or businesses. It’s a false assumption that arena haters have been pimping for a while now. It also(conveniently) ignores the fact that urban development spurs additional development if done properly – see Calgary.

        Fact is, CRL’s work. I’ve personally seen the results in another city and I can tell you new development stimulated by a CRL and an “open for business” city council did NOT simply migrate development from another part of the city. Development came from an influx of new investment which would not have simply chosen to locate elsewhere. Of course, alot of it has to do with re-purposing under-used or under-developed parcels of land, which the proposed arena distric is a prime example of.

        • ubermiguel

          By bringing up the idea of an “influx” of money you understand that the rink etc is simply going to compete for a limited pool of money in the economy.

          The “influx” might be from other parts of the city but it would more likely be coming from Calgary, Red Deer or Leduc. The province is not going to give away $100 million to move tax revenue from Calgary to Edmonton.

          I have seen no suggestion that a new rink will steal money (e.g.: corporate head offices) from Toronto, Montreal or Houston.

          I don’t mind an “open for business” city council. But I would prefer a business model where the city’s profit is commensurate with the investment made and not dependant on a specious CRL with unexamined assumptions about where the influx of revenue is really coming from.

          If you want to generate revenue, spend your money on more refining capacity.

          • The (false) knock about CRL’s is that it just shifts local investment – assuming a closed economy, which doesn’t exist.

            Let’s not muddy the waters here by going outside that (flawed) assumption’s scope.

          • DSF

            So, what you’re saying is you would give up the Oilers for more refining capacity.

            Maybe Oiler Nation will have to take a turn toward the petrochemical industry.

            Should be riveting.

  • FootballJimmy

    First, he built a website from popsicle sticks, glue, and sweat (mostly bingofuel’s, I believe).

    Then he told us that Comrie was coming back, and even though others laughed in his face, he was eventually proven right.

    Now, today, Wanye has given us a calm, reassuring voice of reason in this perfect storm of lockout-dread and arena/relocation panic.

    Thank-you, Wanye, thank you.

    • book¡e

      Seriously, how does this not have 100 props already?


      Com’n people, pay attention – this was brilliant. I can’t believe that I wasn’t the one to say it.

      Edit: YOu see, its like Gagner, but it’s spelt wrong – the video is called Gangnam…

  • The Katz Group must be taking lessons in negotiation and PR from Peter Pocklington. At least Pocklington faced the media from time to time. Katz just seems to content to hide in his Batcave.

    Whether one agrees with the City or not, at least their people has been able to explain their position. While the Mayor has been making the interview rounds with various media outlets, the leader of the Katz Group is nowhere to be found.

  • “We guarantee that the Katz Group is appoached on the regular by companies looking to participate in the project.”

    This is insane. Trying to make money off an arena in a small city is a fool’s game, which is why nobody does it. If building an arena is the money maker you say it is, Katz would have just built it himself 5 years ago. But he hasn’t, so it isn’t.

    $450MM up-front is a huge investment for a company that generates $100MM in revenue and a fraction of that in free cash flow to service the debt. You can make a go of it you’re MLSE and you have a sports monopoly in a city of 6.5MM and two major tenants, but not if you’re Katz in a city of 1MM with a competing arena. Bringing in new investors isn’t going to increase your top line, so Katz would have to give up a huge chunk of the revenue to bring somebody else in – which he is clearly unwilling to do.

  • Chaz

    What I don’t like about this is how the Katz group seems to know that a $450 million dollar arena won’t be “Iconic” enough for Edmontonians. Really?!?! This coming from the guy who felt it necessary to build that $20 million eyesore of a house that encroaches on our River Valley. I’m an Edmontonian. I like simple, attractive, and classic architecture that is not overly gaudy and pretentious. Everything that Katz’s Valleyview “Making up for some type of shortcoming” house is not. Maybe they should actually engage the public to see what we want. Leave the Gold platted bidets out of the design!

    • The house he grew up in wasn’t too shabby either. Just because you don’t understand the world these people live in doesn’t mean they’re any less relevant. Next time you’re in Calgary I suggest you take a trip just outside west of the city limits in Bankside. There’s Katz-level mansions as far as the eye can see. Being wealthy isn’t a crime. In fact, you’d be surprised to know many Edmontonians aspire aspire to it.

      • Chaz

        I actually do understand the world ‘they’ live in because I grew up in the same neighborhood. Not everyone with money feels the need to flaunt it like he does, and I don’t think the average Edmontonian feels the need to break the bank in constructing this arena. I aspire to be wealthy too, but I prefer my wealthy guys modest and down to earth a la Warren Buffet vs garish and tacky like Donald Trump. He lives in our World, and if he wants his arena built in that World with our money maybe a reality check is in order in terms of the design. If you can’t build something great with half a billion dollars, somthing ain’t right.

        • I always found it interesting that a guy who’s borderline paranoid about public attention built that house. Just down the street from where I grew up. The whole neighborhood was inconvenienced for at least two years with the construction. Pissed everybody off to no end.

  • Fatbob24

    That video was awesome! it made up for the fact i had to read another article about an arena,instead of an article about how excited Wanye is about Jordan’s new hair style at pre-season practice.

  • OilClog

    Give me 3 popsicle sticks, a Eberle rookie card, 6 stitches from Hall’s head (you know he keeps them in a jar for show and tell, and daily reminders he owes Potter one) and I will build the most state of the art arena one has seen! EVAAAAAA!

  • book¡e

    I don’t understand this at all.

    Why don’t they just send Ralph Krueger in to talk to City Council and just get this thing done.

    As soon as he is done there, put him on a plane to New York to talk to Gary and the NHLPA and get that done too.

    Why isn’t anyone making use of Krueger on these issues – stop pissing around with lawyers and press agents when you have the man?

  • I’d also add that the interest rate difference between private (banks/VC houses) and public (municipal/govt) financing on deals of this magnitude can easily be the difference between an unacceptable profit margin/no go and a favorable venture.

    Of course this is all secondary since David Staples just released the real reason why things went so bad yesterday. Katz Group says that they need an annual subsidy of $6 million to make it work. Seems to me that could be made up with additional ticket taxes or some sort of annual lottery, but hey, what do I know?

  • David,

    It brings me no end of amusement that you feel that somehow your journalism degree gives you some special insight into the field of economics. Every major paper published in the field of economics finds that arenas are a shell game. You move some money from the suburbs into the downtown as people go to the game buy a steak and some beer while they’re there. That and they buy hockey tickets rather than tickets to the latest Tom Cruise movie at the Cineplex.

    The question is why should the taxpayers of Edmonton give a damn if people are spending their money in Hawkstone, Terwilliger, Belle Rive, Castledowns or downtown? I personally could not care less where people spend their money it has no real impact upon me personally so why should my tax dollars be devoted towards desperately trying to channel it in the direction of the down town area?

    The idea that we need to redevelop the downtown area seems to assume that this is necessary. Why? If the market dictates that condos should be built south along the Hendey in Windermere or up in Schonesee great, let people live where they want and people will build where its profitable. If there was this great demand for downtown condos the land would be bought and they’d be built. Some have been over the last half a dozen years and amazingly it all happened while the hockey team played off in a gulley in Highlands.

    Every independent study shows that arenas have essentially no economic impact. They do not create anything new. New people and businesses do not come to Edmonton on the basis of how nice one’s arena is. Things like economic growth, educational and employment opporunities are what draw in new people and businesses. Shiny new arenas do not do this.

    Estimates of revenues provided by the City don’t factor in the fact growth would occur on its own whether its downtown or elsewhere in the city. And when you’ve your heart set setting a half a billion dollars on fire from an economic perspective you can draft any manner of optomistic estimates about how everything is going to be sunshine, lolly pops, mom and apple pie. It doesn’t make anything said valid, independent or realistic.

    The arena is essentially opperating in a closed system. That system is the entertainment market in the greater Edmonton metropolitan area. Outside of that area it is irrelevant. People are not going to flock to Edmonton’s downtown from Outer Mongolia, the furtherest depths of the Congo or the sunny beaches of Australia just because we built a half a billion dollar gleaming zinc monstrosity in the middle of our city. You get the same people from Edmonton, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, Leduc etc that would come in to an Oilers game now, coming to an Oilers game in a new stadium but you have two or three thousand more seats. That’s it.

    I’d say its irrational to spend half a billion to ensure a couple thousand more people can get Oilers tickets but gosh I only have degrees in economics and law not journalism so what would I know?

    • Taxpayers should have a very real interest in if money is being spent in downtown vs the burbs.

      A sprawling city like Edmonton has become is the most inefficient city to operate. If you an funnel people back into the existing core instead of letting them to continue expanding outward then the city can better focus it’s spending more efficiently.

      An arena district is not a magic bullet it doing that but it can be a big piece of the puzzle. Both from an infill perspective and an attraction for people to gravitate to.

      Further, all the economic reports that talk about a simple shifting of where the money is being spent tend to ignore that a portion of that money can be shifted right out of the city. It is not the boom it sometimes gets presented as but it is a luxury that can benefit a city and area if done right.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Just as Daryl Katz is not actually Batman – David S is not actually David Staples …. Or is it David Staples is not really David S?

    No matter.

    ….. However David S COULD be Batman.

  • Czar

    I wish more Oilers fans would just admit, “I want a new rink because it’s frickin’ cool!”


    The old barn sure isn’t so YES,I would like the coolest rink in the league to go with the coolest team and the coolest fans. Can they get the beer a little cooler too?

    Wanye, the video was cool too! Now I know why the kids are all over it and dudes been everywhere on the tube lately.

  • Chris, your perspective is limited to residential only. I also care less where residential growth tale place. The FAR GREATER impact is in corporate growth which Edmonton was leading the nation for growth circa 1980, and has fallen every year since.

    Every other city has invested in its business sector core, Edmonton has not.

    By ANY worthy economics study the result is simply millions “saved” through neglect has cost 100’s of millions if not a billion dollars in growth.