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 . . ."


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.

  • DieHard

    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.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    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.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    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.

    • The Soup Fascist

      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

        • The Soup Fascist

          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.

          • The Soup Fascist

            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?

          • Quicksilver ballet

            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.

          • The Soup Fascist

            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.

  • The Soup Fascist

    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.

    • DieHard

      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

      • The Soup Fascist

        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.

        • DieHard

          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

  • 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.

  • M22

    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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Gerald R. Ford

      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.

      • DSF

        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.

        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.

        • 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.

          • DSF

            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.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    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

  • Quicksilver ballet

    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.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    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!!

  • 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.

    • The Soup Fascist

      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.

  • The Soup Fascist

    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.

    • DSF

      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.

          • Because Calgary already has one. And they continue to build the snot out of it. Funny how a pro business environment and a willingness to spend some money somewhere besides the burbs seems to get things done.

          • Magnus

            That’s not entirely true. They have already chosen a site on the stampede grounds where the new arena would be built. Though not surrounded by skyscrapers, the stampede grounds are walking distance from the heart of downtown. There’s really no open area downtown that could fit a stadium that would be any closer to downtown than the one already proposed.

          • Hair bag

            Yes it will, as an Oiler fan who lives in Calgary, I frequent the area often and the Stampede Group has made no secret that part of buying up all the land around the Saddledome is so that a new building can be built right next door and then the Saddledome demolished afterwards…

  • DSF

    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?

  • The Soup Fascist

    I disagree with Pouzar99. The sight lines are not good at all. The announcer has to ask the attendees to sit back in their seats. Some do but many do not. I can’t see the corner to my right without having to look up at the jumbotron.

    The modern rinks have really steep stadium seating that offer a great view even in the nose bleeds.

    The Ottawa arena seems sort of bargain basement but at least it is a good venue for watching a hockey game.

    I think that the province and Edmonton made a mistake in supporting the RAM. We need a new arena but the new museum was only a nice to have. I would like to see Edmonton build a new arena with the Oilers as a tenant. They should get a good deal on rent but not benefit from non hockey revenue except if the building operates at a profit.

  • Katz can take all the private jet trips he wants between Seattle, Quebec, Kansas & whatever other city that’s dying for a NHL franchise, but it’s just a publicity stunt to get negotiations moving, aka: leverage

    Main point: There’s no way in hell that the NHL board of governors will approve of the largest revenue ticket per capita in the entire league moving ANYWHERE but, across town.

    Book it!!

  • Reg Dunlop


    Just to clarify, the Saddledome was built in 1983, the Coliseum in 1974 so Calgary’s rink is more like 10 years newer. No argument with you otherwise.

    For any art aficionados, sewering the arena deal would free up ALL SORTS of $$$$ to purchase many new works of art to display at the always empty gallery. Just think of all the wooden sticks with scratches on them, all the brightly painted cardboard boxes, all the chunks of metal welded together, and all the paint-splatters that pass for art!

    I don’t pretend to know anything about economics so maybe someone can help:
    How come I can’t get my street cleared of snow once per winter in the richest province in the country yet family back in London,Ont., a city 1/4 our size, sees residential streets cleared within 24 hours of EVERY snowfall? Where does our tax$$ disappear to? Is it going to prop up Northlands? An agricultural organization over 130 years old? I sure hope so otherwise how would I ever know about new innovations in tractors and growing barley. And without the rodeo how would I ever see farm animals brutalized by drunks in cowboy hats? I guess I could just go to the Tofield rodeo.

  • The Soup Fascist

    We all thought this was fear mongerimg and leverage. But the fact is, the feasibility of business ventures worldwide come all come down to one simple thing, ROI, return on investment, if the number isnt bigger than inflation, the deal gets nixed, that’s why katz needs at least 2 or 3# ROI or the deal does and he sells the team, and puts his 300Mill into GICs

  • Thanks to David S and DSF for their posts–you’ve added excellent info to this discussion.

    Just to clarify, is the 1.6 to 2 billion in “revenue” the projected tax revenue for the city?

    If so, where’s the argument against building?

    • Yep. That figure is the projected tax revenue over the life of the project (35 years).

      That money would go to improving infrastructure (sewers, roads, transit, etc) within the boundary of the CRL district. Calgary used the same method to revitalize their downtown’s east end. It worked really well. I lived down there when they were just getting going. On my last trip I drove through what was formerly crackhead central. The transformation has been nothing less than amazing.

  • So, Question for you all!

    I am under this assumption, while I’m told different; I don’t think I’m wrong here.

    The city of Edmonton is talking about TAX generated revenue as apposed to raising the citizen’s tax’s or a immediate charge in order to pay for the arena, The city is taking it’s loans out on the assumption that this arena and area will generate X amount of tax revenue to pay the loans off?

    Once the arena is built and the area revitalized then property tax’s will be re-evaluated in the area, if the property values does increase in the area, and you own a home or business in that area, then your place also increased in value, so it offsets the property taxes that you would incur anyways?

    So if you have no involvement with the Oilers, no association with the Oilers, don’t shop downtown nor live in the downtown core or have a business downtown, then this arena should not affect you as a citizen of Edmonton?

    As far as the missing $100 million dollars, the provincial government allocates X amount of dollars to cities for there budget, an additional grant maybe used for necessary infrastructure that the city feels is required to help maintain or improve that’s cities infrastructure.

    I know this is a basic version it becomes more complicated but is this not the brass tax of it?

  • – 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. – DAVID S

    Hey, David

    After reading that, I wonder if I understand English, can you elaborate on your quote above, I don’t know what the heck you saying LOL

    As for a ticket tax, keep in mind it is not Dollar for dollar, meaning $1 dollar more for ticket tax DOES not meant Katz can’t charge a dollar more for a ticket

    In reality the ticket tax may mean, when it’s $25 dollars a ticket , Katz can’t charge any more for a ticket

    So essentially the ticket tax is 20% out of Katz pocket when it reaches that level, that’s 25 mill then, not 125, we the public are paying the remaining 100 mill, SO DSF I’d say Katz contribution is 100 mill less than you suggest

    As for paying 200 mill for hockey team, that’s an asset he can sell for a profit, not sure why we keep referring to that as an investment, it’s not. But should he expect a reasonable ROI sure he should, VOR on lowetide under the article Grace figures that will be 28 mill in a good year or a loss of 10 mill in a bad year on current deal


    thanks for PDF link of CRL, I will read

    • – The “closed system” reference speaks to the idea that micro (in-city) economies (in this case) have limited resources and people. Arena opponents say that any “perceived” economic lift will be the result of simply shifting people and resources from one part of the economic ecosystem to another, thus their claim that there will be zero net increase.

      Problem is, modern cities are NOT closed economic ecosystems. In Edmonton’s case, we have an underutilized section of our downtown that (if properly developed) should help attract businesses and residents from OUTSIDE Edmonton. FYI – that’s been an ongoing problem for the city – that being how to attract said business and tax paying residents. In effect, we are in a competitive state with other cities for business and population. This is relevant even more-so now than say twenty years or so ago when people did not have the same flexibility to move to another region to improve their ways of life.

      – With respect to the ticket tax, it is a USER PAY revenue generator. It doesn’t burden the public in general. So to say that “the public are paying $100 Mill” is just not correct.

      Every cent of that tax is revenue Katz could otherwise have taken for himself. It is foregone revenue. As long as he gives it up, no amount of adjustment he does on the price will matter. There’s a limit to how much he can charge for a ticket. There’s no sliding/25% scale. If he goes above that amount, he won’t sell said ticket.

      The consumer looks at the TOTAL price of the ticket, similar to what you experience when you buy any consumer good like a car. It won’t matter if the car itself is priced at say $40,000 if the taxes make the REAL price $45,000 if $40,000 is all you can pay.

      [NOTE] I never pay attention to those things but don’t we have a ticket tax right now?

  • And just because I know it’s coming…

    Opponents are correct. Studies have shown that arenas have little or no net economic effect on their surroundings.

    But we’re talking about an ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT composed of stores, restaurants, office towers, condos, bars, casino AND AN ARENA linked with the greater downtown. The Downtown Business Association has estimated a total of as much as $5 BILLION in new development may be possible in no small part due to the arena district being a catalyst for all that development.

    The thing is, our situation is somewhat unique. Our downtown has been egregiously underdeveloped at the expense of our suburbs. Many cities don’t have the underlying potential as Edmonton, being located in one of the few economically uptrending parts of North America. This project might not work in many other places, but it has a very good chance of succeeding here.

    • DSF

      If it is done right….it will succeed.

      Here’s is some information on what actually happened in Columbus:

      “Clearly this is one of the premier, if not THE best setup in the NHL. Cities looking to build a sports venue and companion private development to create vibrant urban synergies need look no farther than Columbus to see how it should be done.”

      Academics are also positive about the district. Brad Humphries, a University of Alberta sports economist, and his colleague Xia Feng report that in 2000 alone — the year the arena opened and little else had been built in the district — property values within a mile (1.6 kilometres) of the arena went up by more than $200 million, an early signal of the enthusiasm locals had for the new downtown.

      Ohio State’s John Glenn School of Public Affairs reported that from 1998 to 2008, assessed property values in the Arena District went up by 267 per cent, more than 12 times the average 22-per-cent increase for downtown Columbus.

      In his recent report to the Edmonton arena committee — which had the task of deciding whether Edmonton needed a new arena and where it should be built — sports economist Mark Rosentraub of the University of Michigan held up facilities in Columbus, Los Angeles, San Diego and Indianapolis as the best examples of North American arena development.

    • mikezanier

      The city isn’t building an entertainment district. It’s building an arena.

      Where in the plans is the funding for the entertainment district?

      With a CRL funding model in place, any sort of private investing will be stifled because the city will need to continually raise the assessment of all property within the CRL zone to use those property taxes to pay off the loans they took out. The CRL is based on increasing property taxes for everyone in CRL zone to direct those tax dollars towards the arena.

      What kind of business is excited to build in an area where their property taxes are guaranteed to drastically increase year after year?

      Staples uses Columbus as an example of great growth around new arena. Guess what. Columbus essentially cut all the property taxes to zero to spur development. Edmonton is proposing to do the exact opposite. In trying to trick taxpayers into thinking that CRL isn’t tax dollars, this CRL scheme is guaranteeing property taxes increase.

      And all the services the new development needs like water mains, police, ambulance service, LRT stations, that their property tax dollars would be paying for if they weren’t be directly funneled into paying off city loans, will need to be recouped and paid for by everyone else in the city.

      • 11. If I own a business in the area proposed to be included in a CRL zone and it is approved will my taxes increase?

        Not as a result of a CRL. But when your property value increases, the increased taxes arising from that increased value are dedicated towards the costs of infrastructure. Increases in taxes as a result of any new development within the CRL zone are used to pay for the CRL. The example in the following question helps to explain how a CRL will impact taxes in the area.

        The CRL is based on re-allocating increased tax revenues resulting from an increase in property value per annual assessment. I’ve personally seen an example in Calgary. The resulting development was 100% private and would not have located within the affected area unless the city decided to use the CRL to revamp the surrounding infrastructure.

        You guys really need to stop inventing fictitious scenarios and presenting them as facts.

        • mikezanier

          And remind me who sets the property taxes within the CRL? City will be increasing these taxes to ensure they meet their CRL estimates. If the CRL area doesn’t increase property taxes for all the residents/businesses, the city will have to increase everyone’s property taxes to cover the $100s of millions in loan payments taken out. CRL succeeds = massive tax increases for CRL residents to pay off loans. CRL fail = increase in property taxes to pay off loans… It’s coming from taxpayers either way.

          Is this not true?

          • – The city has estimated (very conservative by necessity I’m sure) that the benefit of the CRL is in the neighborhood of $2 BILLION. Do you really think that the designated portion of that money for the arena (currently pegged at a paltry $45M direct and $125M in total) won’t be achieved?

            – The CRL only affects those within the CRL’s defined borders, so this idea of “everyone” is just plain misleading. If the property value of those developments within the CRL boundaries increase, well that’s the point, isn’t it?

            – The mayor has categorically stated on several occasions that taxes will NOT increase for the average resident to pay for this project. I have to believe him over the cadre of people throwing out ridiculous and unfounded counter assertions, most of whom have no real accreditation to make those sorts of statements.

            If these ideas are your own I would suggest reading some of the background material cited and linked in this thread. Some of your assumptions are a bit off base.

            If you’re repurposing statements made by the vocal minority than I have to caution most of these claims are incorrect or based on misinformation/lack of understanding of the methodologies involved. They are using simplistic and uninformed analysis to support their position. Most of what they say is conjecture and fear-mongering to the highest degree.

            Look. I get it. Diligence needs to be exercised. And it’s not my intent to be mean to people here. But the amount of misinformation and simply ridiculous claims based on nothing more than fear is getting out of hand.

            At the end of the day a new arena needs to be built. There is no argument that can support any other outcome. The city will be paying for one of a revamped arena at Northlands (estimated at $250M 2007 dollars) or an arena downtown which will be the centrepiece of a major urban redevelopment. There are no other options.

            No doubt either option will cost. The economics are highly in favor of spending that money downtown due to the multiplier effect.

            If anybody has another solution, then by all means bring it to the table and we’ll all have a look. Otherwise, I don’t see how this project cannot go through.

      • mikezanier

        You’re right when you say that the CRL is taxpayers money… But you’re being way too presumptuous to assume that city council will raise property taxes to pay for the loans it would take on to fund the arena. Although one may argue differently, I would assume the city has forecasted their finances in regards to debt repayment, impact on property taxes, future revenues into city coffers, etc.

        Using Columbus as a comparison to Edmonton is a poor argument as well.. Simply put, Columbus is not a rabid hockey market like Edmonton… They’re a couple steps away from Phoenix’s situation and haven’t sold out a game in ages…

        In Edmonton – after every game whether it be for the Oilers and the Oil Kings to a lesser extent – you’ll see a minimum of 10,000 people wanting to have dinner, a beer – whatever before or after a game… I can see a lot of businesses lining up to rent space…

        Finally, did you ever consider the economic impact of what happens should the Oilers leave town?? No offense – but the Oilers bring more people and their money to Edmonton than all parks, museums and art galleries (funded by the taxpayers) put together.

        • mikezanier

          Why is Columbus a poor example? Staples used it as a successful example multiple times.

          Do these 10,000 people not eat or drink now? i’m not arguing that the arena won’t concentrate some bars/restaurants into a smaller area. But don’t kidd yourself that all of a sudden this is going to be new money. Rather than stopping at a restaurant on the way to the game, they might eat in the “Entertainment District.”

          It’s just shifting spending, not creating new spending.

          • The Soup Fascist

            Not sure that your assumption that there will not be new money coming in rings true.

            a) There will be 2500 – 3000 more seats in the new rink. Certainly a percentage of those people will be inclined to eat / drink before and / or after the game – how is this not growth?. Many will be from outside the metropolitan area. I am going by memory a bit here, but I believe 15% of season ticket holders are outside of Edmonton, so expect more hotel room utilization as well.

            b) If you work downtown are you going to be more likely to drive home after work and back for the game / concert or just stay downtown and go for a bean and and wobbly pop?

            c) People will want to make it an evening outing downtown that simply do not do that now, due to lack of quality and quantity venues. At Rexall what am I going to do if I want to make it an outing? Go for a hoagie at the Husky station across the road, jam into the only reasonable restaurant within 10 blocks for a slice of pizza with 150 other people in a restaurant that holds 100, book a nice night with the wife at the “beautiful” Coliseum Inn? None of these are real great options. A nice steak at Ruths Chris and a night at the Hotel Mac is a little more attractive. Guarantee myself and many others will be more apt to spend downtown as there are many more viable options. There is a lot of disposable income in this town and throughout Northern Alberta. The key is to make it easy for people to spend it. If you build it they will come.

  • KHR

    Let me start by saying that I’m not going to read over 100 posts so I don’t know if anything that I add will be a rehashing of old statements or not.

    First the ticket tax is not a contribution by Katz or the Oilers to the building of the arena. It does act as a brake on Katz’s ability to raise ticket prices to fund his own operations and I believe he tries to use this fact as a justification that he is making a contribution to the project in that amount. I don’t buy that argument unless he is willing to say that he will pay the $125M (or whatever the amount is supposed to be) out of his revenue and that anything over that amount he can keep in exchange for dropping the ticket tax idea (pretty sure he came out against the idea of ticket tax in the past).

    My biggest problem with how Katz/Oilers are trying to spin the whole arena deal. Katz is trying to secure the best possible leasing conditions he can and good for him. Now it is true that in some big buildings an anchor tenant can secure space for lease and get the landlord to push the op costs out onto other tenants. Happens in places like WEM all the time. Sears or the Bay don’t pay nearly as much per sq ft as the little shoe store does because they rent more space and the cost of having that big anchor tenant is pushing the operating costs onto the landlord which then passes them on to the other smaller tenants who don’t have the same leverage. Only problem here is that there is only one tenant of the arena so who are you supposed to push the costs on to? Katz seems to be wanting to look upon the deal as saying the “Arena District” is akin to the mall and that we should push the costs out to that group through the added tax $$ money coming in $1.2 to $2B depending on who you listen to.

    Problem here is that the “District” is really too small to do that too. 3 freaking blocks is hardly a district. If you want to make a truly iconic change to downtown you are going to need to do an area about 5 times the size currently contemplated. Additionally, the City is going to basically be financing this whole deal with Katz making payments towards the project totaling $192M (I am assuming that others have done the math here correctly it is Sunday and I’m too damn lazy to do it myself). As I’m sure he is not willing putting in more than $100M plus interest that means that $92M of that is interest over 35 years which means that the City’s potential interest is likely over $300M as their initial contribution is $350M+. So the City is on the hook for $650M plus a whole host of costs in infrastructure and other things that will creep in. So using the conservative estimates the City can expect say $600M of tax profit over the course of the project or about $17M a year, of which it seems Katz now wants a third of to cover his costs.

    My issue then becomes if he expects the City as Landlord to eat the op costs and push them out to other businesses in the district can we justify that based on what he willing to paying in leasing charges . . . So just how much is Katz paying to lease the arena for the year and run as he sees fit and to keep the profits from? I would suggest to you that in nice new sparkly building like that in a brand new wonderful district that a minimum of $35/sq ft would be very reasonable but I’m willing to give him a break on the deal and half it to $18/sq ft. He isn’t paying that, and in fact this whole deal seems to be predicated on the fact that he will pay no rent but rather just cover a portion of the operating and maintenance costs of the building of which now he wants the City to reimburse him some of those costs too.

    At the end of the day I believe this ask is entirely related to the fact that Northlands wants to keep running Rexall Place. Katz wants to be the only game in town so he can maximize his profits at little to no risk. I think if the City could find a way to make Northlands get rid of Rexall this might go away.

    In the spirit of disclosure, I am a season ticket holder so I have definite stake in this with my pocket book. I have huge concerns about what might happen to ticket prices if and when a new arena is built. My uncle worked for the Oilers for 35 years through all of the glory years starting right back in the WHA days and was good friends with Dr. Allard and Zane Feldman the original owners of the team. The players even honored him in 2000 when he passed away by wearing BB on their helmets. I don’t want this team to leave probably more than most on this board, however, I think that the City is doing a lot for Katz and he needs to start accepting the risks associated with operating an arena.

    • DSF

      1) ” First the ticket tax is not a contribution by Katz or the Oilers to the building of the arena. It does act as a brake on Katz’s ability to raise ticket prices to fund his own operations and I believe he tries to use this fact as a justification that he is making a contribution to the project in that amount. I don’t buy that argument unless he is willing to say that he will pay the $125M (or whatever the amount is supposed to be) out of his revenue and that anything over that amount he can keep in exchange for dropping the ticket tax idea (pretty sure he came out against the idea of ticket tax in the past).”

      Suggesting a ticket tax is not a contribution by Katz or the Oilers is nonsense. The revenue stream DOES NOT EXIST without the Oilers.
      It is derived from the actual market value of what Katz can charge for tickets which exactly why Katz was reluctant to agree to it.
      Since it is”user pay” I can’t think of any reason any intelligent taxpayer would oppose it.

      2) Since the city insisted from the outset that it own the arena…the city became the landlord.

      If you rent a house and the roof and furnace need replacing, should the tenant be responsible for those costs?

      Operating costs were always part of the original framework with the city agreeing to find another source of funding for this. The city has not done so.

      3) The Arena District is anticipated to be much larger than the “3 blocks” you mentioned. 3 blocks is only the arena itself and the Winter Garden.

      4) Your math is very weak. Katz has committed $280M toward this project (I provided a breakdown above) and that does NOT included his purchase of the team.

      5) The city has refused to shutter Rexall Place and, when Katz requested a non-competition clause, the city refused and instead agreed to pay Katz $2million/year in advertising for 10 years to compensate.

      • KHR

        Disagree with you.

        1) This argument is circular.

        Tax doesn’t happen if the Oilers don’t exist, but the need for a new arena exists because of the Oilers. Weeeeee, what a fun merry-go-round that is.

        As I understand the tax it will be a flat fee imposed on each ticket to each event so it has nothing to do with the market value of what Katz can charge (if I’m wrong please point out a source) so why the heck would Katz care about the tax aside from the fact that the City would be taking money that he wants for himself. You are right that it is user pay and so someone who doesn’t go to games shouldn’t have a care about the use of this money, but your comment seems to imply that I do care and that somehow I’m not intelligent. I never said one word about opposing the ticket tax. I pay a ticket tax right now that goes to pay the Oilers rent on Rexall as a Season Ticket holder so I’m already both feet in on this idea. I have no idea if you are a season ticket holder or not, are you? Or are you someone who only goes when a person gives you tickets for free? If you don’t kick into this pool right now your opinions on this are of very little interest to me.

        My comments on the ticket tax is that I am unwilling to allow Katz to claim that it is his contribution to the arena, the same way I am unwilling to allow Katz to claim that he pays rent to the City now. Why didn’t he say to the City stop collecting the ticket tax right now and I will just write you a check for $5M a year for rent on Rexall? Sorry but he can not claim the contribution if he doesn’t claim the expense and the risk. Nothing you say will change my opinion on that.

        2) You are right the City does want to retain ownership of the building but Katz doesn’t want to own it either so it is a moot point. The reason Katz doesn’t want to own it is so he can put the operational cost on to the City, but commercial leases (which are drastically different from residential leases so please don’t use the analogy of a home rental anymore) are net leases. So you pay me to use the space and then you pay me the costs of operating the space, the taxes on the space, the repairs on the space and the administration of the space. Cost of doing business. I pay it everyday with my business, what the heck is Katz’s problem?

        3) The word “anticipated” is the biggest problem with this whole mess. When will this anticipated development get done? 3 years from now? 5 years from now? 10 years from now? All the projected tax money the City is supposed to get is going to come from this development so how long before we get to start making that money?

        Again the City is the one taking the risk not the Oilers, and it is out of the magical imaginary money (which is what it is until the time that the other development takes place) that we are supposed to come up with Operational rebate to the Oilers. And there isn’t even a shovel in the ground yet so who cares if the City hasn’t found its other source yet? If things are built and the City still hasn’t lived up to its agreement then Katz can come back to the City and sue them.

        4) My math isn’t weak at all I just don’t agree with your breakdown. I already said the $125M is not a contribution on his part so I don’t give him credit for that. The $30M he is supposed to put into other development I don’t care about either. That is for things NOT included in the arena and that is what we talking about. Using this kind of logic we should include the $10M or whatever the heck he spent on building his house too. Only arena $$ counts, and it certainly doesn’t include the purchase of the Oilers either. And I find it telling that he claims to have paid out $70M to these other outside developments already but wants to pay his share of the $100M over 35 years. Where you put your $$ is where you put your priorities and I am pretty sure I know where he thinks he is going to make his money on this deal.

        5)And as far as Northlands goes I believe that they have a lease with the City to use the arena for years to come so unless the City pays Northlands how many tens upon tens of millions of dollars to buy back that lease there is nothing that they can really do about it. That buy out would certainly be counted as a contribution by the City to the building of a new arena in order to give Katz his ultimate exclusivity that he wants. Northlands would shutter and dismantle the current arena if they were included in the new arena and their current streams of revenue were protected. That makes them no bigger a jerk in this whole affair than Katz and the Oilers. Both are bloated and both want the taxpayer to foot their bills.

        Let me also be very clear. I do want a new arena to be built, and I’m fully willing to support the current deal the City has with Katz, but I find it cheap as all get out to have him plead that he can’t be sure of the revenue streams for the operation of the building so the City should some how guarantee him $6M or whatever the amount is to ensure he can make a profit. Well the City has no guarantee on the taxes that will be created and yet they are willing to go into partnership with him on this deal and pay the lion’s share of the expense. I want him to step up and be the big successful business man that he is and put his wallet on the line a little bit. That is the only way I am sure that he will be giving a damn about the success of this project, this team and this City.

  • At the end of the day I believe this ask is entirely related to the fact that Northlands wants to keep running Rexall Place. Katz wants to be the only game in town so he can maximize his profits at little to no risk. I think if the City could find a way to make Northlands get rid of Rexall this might go away.

    IMO this is the thing holding up everything else. Northlands and Katz have a very acrimonious relationship. If I were Katz I’d have to assume Northlands would do everything in their power to make things as difficult for him as they could. That would include massively undercutting every event proposal that comes to the city for every hosted event or concert.

    It’s a conservative projection of course, but one that has to be taken into account with the investment at stake. This city cannot sustain two arenas. It’s as simple as that.

    I’m of the belief that if Northlands wasn’t in the picture, shovels would already be in the ground.