SAVILLE: ANOTHER KATZ MOUTHPIECE?

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.

  • Call me crazy, but is what’s holding the deal up a gaming license and the rights and revenue from a casino? No?

    Also, I had already assumed Katz would be the ones under cutting and outbidding Northlands until they folded after a year or so.

    I do agree that there a pain in the ass.

  • DSF

    We the public are just now learning about what has been going on for some time in the negotiations between the City administration and the Katz Group.

    The brief meeting in New York a year ago likely left some things unclear, which is pretty much the case universally with brief meetings about such complex deals. The different parties probably did not interpret all discussions and agreements (I doubt there were formal resolutions) in exactly the same way.  His Worship The Mayor and presumably Gary Bettman were desperate to get a deal in place and may have placed less weight on some things that Darryl Katz felt needed further work.

    The agreement that was put in place after the meeting does acknowledge that some ‘details’ still needed to be tied down.

    I expect the negotiating teams have continued to struggle on these ‘details’ for some time and both the report from the City’s team and the Katz Goup letter are reflecting these struggles.

    This is not a sudden further moneygrab ambush by the Katz Group.

    This is the City reporting back to Council that they have not been able to get the Katz Group to give up their positions on some of the ‘details’ they were charged with resolving. And this is Katz getting tired of the City Team saying ‘We can’t formally accept something so far from the original framework’

    I am confident a deal will be reached before much longer and the arena will be built downtown.  There is too much benefit at stake for both parties: the hockey team gets a new arena with improved revenue from more sources; the City gets the iconic downtown catalyst and the reassurance of stability; both get to share in the use of $100 million coming from somewhere not yet stated publicly (but I expect known).

    It is hard to make a case that Katz is only in it for the money – what i like to call the ‘Zappa Accusation”.  There are buildings and institutes all over the City that benefitted from his philanthropy.  But he can hardly be expected want to proceed further with an arrangement where he is required to operate the team for 35 years in Edmonton without trying to get some protection from the risk of protracted losses.  In 35 years the Canadian Dollar – US Dollar excange rate will almost certainly change substantially and we could see the Oilers in financial trouble despite full attendance at high Canadian Dollar Prices.

    Everyone goes on about how Darryl Katz is hugely rich – worth two billion dollars or more.  But the City of Edmonton is vastly more rich, with infrastructure in place and the ability to collect taxes.  Katz’s entire worth is spent by the City each year.  Of course, The Coty of Edmonton has a great many and varied responsibilities.  I think the Katz Group is sincerely trying to do what he can financially, without taking on too much risk of long term liability, to kickstart a downtown revitalization, to keep the team he loves in the City he definitely holds a soft spot for, and to leave a legacy or monument as a community builder.

    He is rich enough that he is unlikely to motivated by the desire to ‘ripoff’ Edmontonians to make more.  Mr Burns is a cartoon character!

    I hope the two sides of the negotiating team go back to finding a create way to toe up the remaining details.  Perhaps the City has to agree they may have to subsidize hockey operation if it becomes an unreasonable committment for the Katz Group to operate for many years at big financial loss whereas the Katz Group has to pay an additional tax if there are substantial operating profits.  This will require the City receive audited financial records for the Oilers and strict definitions of things hockey related revenues and hockey related costs.  They do not need to be public – just available to the City Clerk.  Sure Katz is not going to
    like that sort of sharing of his financials – but I think it could be s very fair exectation if the City is going to aggre to emergency sinsidies in some potential scenarios.

    Anyway – The Oilers are an important part of the cultural fabric of Edmonton.  The proposed site for the arena is currently a wasteland and the downtown could use the help.  It would only be good asset management for both groups to hammer out a good deal.  And quickly, because costs continue to increase..

    The brief meeting in New York a year ago likely left some things unclear, which is pretty much the case universally with briefeeting about such complex deals. The different parties probably did not interpret all discussions and agreements (I doubt there were formal resolutions) in exactly the same way.  The Mayor and presumably Gary Bettman were desperate to get a deal in place and may have placed less weight on some things that Darryl Katz felt needed further work.

    The agreement that was put in place after the meeting does acknowledge that some ‘details’ still needed to be tied down.

    I expect the negotiating teams have continued to struggle on these ‘details’ for some time and the report from the City’s team and the Katz Goup letter appearing this week are reflecting these struggles.

    This is not a sudden further moneygrab ambush by the Katz Group.

    This is the City negotiating team reporting back to Council that they have not been able to get the Katz Group to give up their positions on some of the ‘details’ they were charged with resolving.  The subsequent leaks to the
    media – Oil leaks, if uou will – and the Katz press release probably did a lot to distort the image of the course of events and probably were not helpful to the efforts to work out a deal.

    I am still very confident a deal will be reached before much longer and the arena will be built downtown.  There is too much benefit at stake for both parties: the hockey team gets a new arena with improved revenue from more sources; the City get the iconic downtown catalyst and the reassurance of stability; both get to share in the use of $100 million coming from somewhere not yet stated publicly (but I expect known).

    It is hard to make a case that Katz is only in it for the money – what i like to call the ‘Zappa Accusation”.  There are buildings and institutes all over the City that have benefitted from his philanthropy.  But he can hardly be expected want to proceed further with an arrangement where he is required to operate the team for 35 years in Edmonton without trying to get the risk of protracted losses.  In 35 years the Canadian Dollar – US Dollar excange rate will almost certainly change substantially and we could see the Oilers in financial trouble despite full attendance at high Canadian Dollar Prices as was the case just a few years ago.

    Everyone goes on about how Darryl Katz is hugely rich – worth two billion dollars or more.  But the City of Edmonton is vastly more rich than that with all the infrastructure in place and the ability to collect taxes.  Katz’s entire worth is spent by the City each year.  Of course, The City has a great many and varied responsibilities.  I think the Katz Group is sincerely trying to do what he can financially, without taking on too much risk of long term liability, to kickstart a downtown revitalization, to keep the team he loves in the City he definitely holds a soft spot for, and to leave a legacy or monument as a community builder.

    He is rich enough that he is unlikely to be motivated by the desire to ‘ripoff’ Edmontonians to make more.  Mr Burns is a cartoon character!

    I hope the two sides of the negotiating team go back to finding a create way to toe up the remaining details.  Perhaps the City has to agree they may have to subsidize hockey operations to some extent if external conditions mean it becomes an unreasonable committment for the Katz Group to operate for many years at big financial loss; whereas the Katz Group has to pay an additional tax if there are substantial operating profits.  This will require the City receive audited financial records for the Oilers and strict definitions of things like hockey related revenues and hockey related costs.  They do not need to be public – just available to the City Clerk.  Sure Katz is not going to
    like that sort of sharing of his financials – but I think it would be a very fair and reasonable exectation if Katz expects the City to agree to emergency sinsidies in some potential scenarios.

    Anyway – The Oilers are an important part of the cultural fabric of Edmonton.  The proposed site for the arena is currently a wasteland and the downtown is in dire need of help. Anyone who opposes the idea of the arena needs to take a drive around the area today – do it in the light – definitely not in the dark, and stay in your car. It would only be good asset management for both groups to hammer out a good deal.  And quickly, because costs continue to increase..

  • KHR

    We the public are just now learning about what has been going on for some time in the negotiations between the City administration and the Katz Group.

    The brief meeting in New York a year ago likely left some things unclear, which is pretty much the case universally with brief meetings about such complex deals. The different parties probably did not interpret all discussions and agreements (I doubt there were formal resolutions) in exactly the same way.  His Worship The Mayor and presumably Gary Bettman were desperate to get a deal in place and may have placed less weight on some things that Darryl Katz felt needed further work.

    The agreement that was put in place after the meeting does acknowledge that some ‘details’ still needed to be tied down.

    I expect the negotiating teams have continued to struggle on these ‘details’ for some time and both the report from the City’s team and the Katz Goup letter are reflecting these struggles.

    This is not a sudden further moneygrab ambush by the Katz Group.

    This is the City reporting back to Council that they have not been able to get the Katz Group to give up their positions on some of the ‘details’ they were charged with resolving. And this is Katz getting tired of the City Team saying ‘We can’t formally accept something so far from the original framework’

    I am confident a deal will be reached before much longer and the arena will be built downtown.  There is too much benefit at stake for both parties: the hockey team gets a new arena with improved revenue from more sources; the City gets the iconic downtown catalyst and the reassurance of stability; both get to share in the use of $100 million coming from somewhere not yet stated publicly (but I expect known).

    It is hard to make a case that Katz is only in it for the money – what i like to call the ‘Zappa Accusation”.  There are buildings and institutes all over the City that benefitted from his philanthropy.  But he can hardly be expected want to proceed further with an arrangement where he is required to operate the team for 35 years in Edmonton without trying to get some protection from the risk of protracted losses.  In 35 years the Canadian Dollar – US Dollar excange rate will almost certainly change substantially and we could see the Oilers in financial trouble despite full attendance at high Canadian Dollar Prices.

    Everyone goes on about how Darryl Katz is hugely rich – worth two billion dollars or more.  But the City of Edmonton is vastly more rich, with infrastructure in place and the ability to collect taxes.  Katz’s entire worth is spent by the City each year.  Of course, The Coty of Edmonton has a great many and varied responsibilities.  I think the Katz Group is sincerely trying to do what he can financially, without taking on too much risk of long term liability, to kickstart a downtown revitalization, to keep the team he loves in the City he definitely holds a soft spot for, and to leave a legacy or monument as a community builder.

    He is rich enough that he is unlikely to motivated by the desire to ‘ripoff’ Edmontonians to make more.  Mr Burns is a cartoon character!

    I hope the two sides of the negotiating team go back to finding a create way to toe up the remaining details.  Perhaps the City has to agree they may have to subsidize hockey operation if it becomes an unreasonable committment for the Katz Group to operate for many years at big financial loss whereas the Katz Group has to pay an additional tax if there are substantial operating profits.  This will require the City receive audited financial records for the Oilers and strict definitions of things hockey related revenues and hockey related costs.  They do not need to be public – just available to the City Clerk.  Sure Katz is not going to
    like that sort of sharing of his financials – but I think it could be s very fair exectation if the City is going to aggre to emergency sinsidies in some potential scenarios.

    Anyway – The Oilers are an important part of the cultural fabric of Edmonton.  The proposed site for the arena is currently a wasteland and the downtown could use the help.  It would only be good asset management for both groups to hammer out a good deal.  And quickly, because costs continue to increase..

    The brief meeting in New York a year ago likely left some things unclear, which is pretty much the case universally with briefeeting about such complex deals. The different parties probably did not interpret all discussions and agreements (I doubt there were formal resolutions) in exactly the same way.  The Mayor and presumably Gary Bettman were desperate to get a deal in place and may have placed less weight on some things that Darryl Katz felt needed further work.

    The agreement that was put in place after the meeting does acknowledge that some ‘details’ still needed to be tied down.

    I expect the negotiating teams have continued to struggle on these ‘details’ for some time and the report from the City’s team and the Katz Goup letter appearing this week are reflecting these struggles.

    This is not a sudden further moneygrab ambush by the Katz Group.

    This is the City negotiating team reporting back to Council that they have not been able to get the Katz Group to give up their positions on some of the ‘details’ they were charged with resolving.  The subsequent leaks to the
    media – Oil leaks, if uou will – and the Katz press release probably did a lot to distort the image of the course of events and probably were not helpful to the efforts to work out a deal.

    I am still very confident a deal will be reached before much longer and the arena will be built downtown.  There is too much benefit at stake for both parties: the hockey team gets a new arena with improved revenue from more sources; the City get the iconic downtown catalyst and the reassurance of stability; both get to share in the use of $100 million coming from somewhere not yet stated publicly (but I expect known).

    It is hard to make a case that Katz is only in it for the money – what i like to call the ‘Zappa Accusation”.  There are buildings and institutes all over the City that have benefitted from his philanthropy.  But he can hardly be expected want to proceed further with an arrangement where he is required to operate the team for 35 years in Edmonton without trying to get the risk of protracted losses.  In 35 years the Canadian Dollar – US Dollar excange rate will almost certainly change substantially and we could see the Oilers in financial trouble despite full attendance at high Canadian Dollar Prices as was the case just a few years ago.

    Everyone goes on about how Darryl Katz is hugely rich – worth two billion dollars or more.  But the City of Edmonton is vastly more rich than that with all the infrastructure in place and the ability to collect taxes.  Katz’s entire worth is spent by the City each year.  Of course, The City has a great many and varied responsibilities.  I think the Katz Group is sincerely trying to do what he can financially, without taking on too much risk of long term liability, to kickstart a downtown revitalization, to keep the team he loves in the City he definitely holds a soft spot for, and to leave a legacy or monument as a community builder.

    He is rich enough that he is unlikely to be motivated by the desire to ‘ripoff’ Edmontonians to make more.  Mr Burns is a cartoon character!

    I hope the two sides of the negotiating team go back to finding a create way to toe up the remaining details.  Perhaps the City has to agree they may have to subsidize hockey operations to some extent if external conditions mean it becomes an unreasonable committment for the Katz Group to operate for many years at big financial loss; whereas the Katz Group has to pay an additional tax if there are substantial operating profits.  This will require the City receive audited financial records for the Oilers and strict definitions of things like hockey related revenues and hockey related costs.  They do not need to be public – just available to the City Clerk.  Sure Katz is not going to
    like that sort of sharing of his financials – but I think it would be a very fair and reasonable exectation if Katz expects the City to agree to emergency sinsidies in some potential scenarios.

    Anyway – The Oilers are an important part of the cultural fabric of Edmonton.  The proposed site for the arena is currently a wasteland and the downtown is in dire need of help. Anyone who opposes the idea of the arena needs to take a drive around the area today – do it in the light – definitely not in the dark, and stay in your car. It would only be good asset management for both groups to hammer out a good deal.  And quickly, because costs continue to increase..

  • @KHR

    A ticket tax of any kind is revenue foregone by the ticket seller. This is not up for debate.

    Simply washing away $125 Million that Katz gives up (in effect contributes) just because you either don’t get the concept or choose not to accept it doesn’t change that reality.

    • KHR

      Okay this is the last thing I intend to say on this thread and about this topic.

      I disagree with you about what is open for debate, and just because you don’t agree with me doesn’t allow you or anyone else to kill that debate.

      Let me see if I can explain my position in another way. In the operations of my business I collect GST on behalf of the Government of Canada. That money is not mine, never was and never will be. I get to submit input tax credits and all that jazz but as long as I am collecting more than I claim I HAVE to send that money on to the Government because it doesn’t belong to me. It is the Government’s money because it is a tax, I am only collecting it on the Government’s behalf. I haven’t forgone 1 penny of revenue. This is exactly the same thing as the ticket tax. The money collected in a ticket tax DOESN’T BELONG TO KATZ so he can’t claim the hardship of paying it to the City as it has ALWAYS been the City’s money. “(Just) because you either don’t get the concept or choose not to accept it doesn’t change that reality”. (Does that sound as snarky to you as it did to me when you said it? Just checking.)

      In my first post I said that we could get rid of the tax as long as Katz was willing to put in the $125M on his own. Re-write the deal to kibosh the tax and make the Oilers pay $125M in rent over the 35 years and I will give him full marks for putting the money in. But as long as it is a tax he has no claim to the money and has no right to claim the hardship of paying money that never was his.

      Good night all.

      • The Soup Fascist

        While the GST argument is reasonable in terms of the mechanics of collection and payment of the tax, there is a major difference between your business and the relationship between the Oilers and the City.

        If you sell widgets, you must charge GST. But so must every widget store in the country. There is no widget business that has an advantage.

        The proposed arena ticket tax is specific to the venue and event. If the Katz Group is competing with Northlands or the Stampede Board for a band, he has to essentially eat the ticket tax to be on a level playing field. There is a finite amount people will pay for a ticket (including taxes). Whoever is paying that tax has to account for that in the pricing.

          • Which doesn’t preclude Northlands from undercutting RX2. They have far less costs because their arena is paid (by taxpayers mind you) in full so they can charge a lower selling price and still cover costs. Not related, but they can charge event operators far less too, which I’m sure is at the root of the primary sticking point in these negotiations. Katz originally wanted a non-compete, which the city wouldn’t grant.

    • mikezanier

      Except Katz doesn’t own or set the prices for any of the non-hockey events taking place at the arena.

      The arena operator charges a flat fee for usage of the facility and the entertainer sets their own prices for tickets.

      Does Northlands set Paul McCartney, Cirq du Soleil or Bieber ticket prices? Of course not.

      • The ticket price vendor has to set his prices to account for the TAX-IN price because this is the price people will pay. If the price is too high, they won’t pay. The difference between the price of the ticket and the tax is foregone revenue, or revenue that could otherwise have been taken by the vendor if that tax didn’t exist because the customer had agreed to pay that price.

        When GST first came in many people would separate the tax from the asking price when in fact for all intents the tax-in price is what you pay. Similar to where people used to tip on the before-tax price on a restaurant receipt. I don’t know anybody these days who doesn’t just look at the all-in price and calculate their 20% based on that figure.

        Again – Tax is part of the price you agree to pay. If there were no tax, the vendor could charge up to the tax portion because (in effect) you already agreed to the value of the tax-in price.

        • mikezanier

          But the vendor is the actual non-hockey entertainer, not Katz. He is the vendor w/ the oilers. So the tax is putting a ceiling on whether Paul McCartney charges $200 or $210 for each ticket.

          Not sure your “many people” argument with GST is very statistically sound…

  • My 2 cents is simply this. Edmonton does need a new downtown, and should have been sold as that over a new home for the Oilers.

    However, here we are:

    1) Stauffer and Milhouse doing their propaganda minister jobs are HURTING the cause. It’s so blatant and so obvious, it diserves an immediate defensive response IMO?

    2) Teams moving back to Winnipeg REALLY got us scared to lose our team? Just stop it. Get real. Get on with things. 10 owners in the US would buy the team in a heart beat just for the market. It makes you look like a little wimp taking his ball and going home Darryl. Grow up.

    3) Between the propaganda ministers over at 630, and the absolute idiotic way going about asking for public funds by the Katz group, the fence sitters in the public at this point in time are not in favour of the project. Honey and flies Katz! Wake up!!

  • The Soup Fascist

    this is fun to watch,a multi million dollar chess match,the board is set,who pays what,and who gets the revenue? the city says no,ok bring in the pawns(us),anyone want to go to Seattle and check out the new arena? the pawns start to get worked up ,some fighting between them selves,council starts to swet.never let them see you swet……to be continued.