The last 24 hours have been interesting times for the city of Edmonton. Fans found out a good portion of the ownership group and their icon collection were apparently shopping for a new city.
As with all things, context and understanding are vitally important. I’m no expert when it comes to the arena deal, but it looks like there are several pressure points on both sides:
- Costs are going up
- The negotiation has been going on for a generation and the two sides appear to have a wider gap than they did at the beginning.
- The "deal" that had been agreed to–at least that was the fan’s understanding–is now not good enough.
- "Casino" money–part of the initial deal–may not be available.
- The city has recently rejected the Katz group request for a subsidy.
- Mr. Katz gave a long and meandering interview ("the White Album") in which he expressed frustration over the long and drawn out process.
- Mayor Mandel suggested he was also frustrated and went public with the idea Katz talk to council with camera’s on.
- Katz and his entourage made their most public appearance in a new town, in a clear and perhaps desperate attempt to put pressure on the city.
QUIT HORSING AROUND!
A statement released by the Oilers yesterday confirmed the visit and generally acknowledged that this was a pressure drop without actually saying the words. The statement did discuss the fanbase:
“We are extremely grateful to Oilers’ fans for their patience and loyalty as we work through this process towards what we sincerely hope will be a long and successful future for the Oilers in Edmonton. We have no further comment on the status of our discussions with other markets at this time.”