Exactly how bad is the new Calgary Flames arena deal? writes in the Field of Schemes website:
(July 26) – With all of four days of public comment period (expiring today at noon, July 26) allowed before the Calgary city council votes next week on its Flames arena plan, the media have been commenting like crazy on how it’s either terrific or godawful. Among the takes:
- Toronto Star columnist it’s “a pleasant surprise that somebody had actually decided to do something in this gloomy town,” and that despite the fact that the city will get little in the way of ticket taxes and naming-rights money, and Flames owner Murray Edwards could get a huge gift in the form of development rights to public land, it’s a good “compromise” because Calgary “badly needed a win on something, anything, after the debacle that was the bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.” says(Ed. note: The “debacle” was that the Olympics bid didn’t happen because Calgary voters didn’t like it.)
- Edmonton Journal columnist David Staples says the new deal “appears to be far more favourable to the Flames owners than the arena proposal that broke down in 2017 and also more favourable than the deal Oilers owner Daryl Katz got in Edmonton”: He says Edmonton paid 47% of the Oilers’ arena cost, Calgary would pay 50% of the Flames’, up from 33% in the proposal from two years ago. But he admits that the “details are murky,” and ends up noting that even pro-arena Edmonton officials say it ended up being good to have a lengthy public debate on that city’s plan, though of course their side still won in the end, so they would say that.
- Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid says that the new arena is good because Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney will be more likely to play there.
- Macleans writer Jason Markusoff writes that the Flames owners “sweetened the pot” by agreeing to pay a ticket tax, but mostly city officials wanted something they could “claim victory” on: “Nenshi and the council want to remember what victory tastes like and get the public excited about something, even at the risk of getting the public furious anew. After Monday’s presentation, Nenshi gathered King and other principal players in the talks for a handshake photo op, until an aide rushed over and reminded the mayor of the optics of shaking hands on a deal that was just opened to public feedback. Oopsie.“
- Small business owners are mostly mad because the local economy sucks and they’d rather see their own business taxes reduced.
- Global News contributed a not-very-helpful listicle of costs of recent NHL arenas that didn’t include any details of how much the public paid for each, because that shit is too complicated for a listicle, man, do you know how many posts we have to write today?
So who’s right? (more)
On October 7, the Edmonton Oilers hockey team checked in at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Boston, a Marriott hotel. As they got off the bus, the team was greeted by a group of hotel workers on strike, members of Local 26 of the Hospital and Food Servers Union. 7,700 Marriott workers are out in six cities across the USA: San Diego, Detroit, San Francisco, San Jose, and Boston. They are demanding the richest hotel company in the world recognize them. Continue reading
By NEIL deMAUSE, fieldofschemes.com
GIVE Edmonton elected officials credit: They’re not giving up on finding ways to shovel more arena money at Oilers owner Daryl Katz just because the province of Alberta won’t give them any and because it’s a pretty terrible idea. The latest plan: Get the neighbouring communities on the Capital Region Board to ask the province to kick in $25 million from its Regional Collaboration Program, which is supposed to be used for capacity-building programs for local governments, but hey, potato, potahto, right? Continue reading
EDMONTON Oilers owner Daryl Katz first upped his subsidy demands, then flew to Seattle to play footsie with city officials over a new arena, and has now taken out a full-page ad in last Friday’s Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun apologizing for “[taking] for granted your support and your love of the Oilers. That was wrong, and I apologize.” Katz had been rightly denounced in Edmonton. The published apology for Katz’s brazen manipulation of the people and government was so sincere that he went on to make a veiled threat to move the professional hockey franchise to the USA if he doesn’t get his way, saying, “I’m fighting for a deal that will enable the team to stay in Edmonton – and not because I want them to be anywhere else.” Like, say, Seattle. Oops, did I say that out loud? “I’m fighting for a deal that will enable…” is code for a predatory demand to loot the public purse for as much as this monopolist can get.
In any event, Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel is insisting that Katz needs to present his new arena demands to City Hall, in public, by October 17. Or else … okay, he didn’t say or else what. But being that “Deliver your ransom note by two weeks from Wednesday” isn’t exactly hardball negotiating, you have to figure that Mandel’s deadline is more a public relations cover than a principled stand – and one that Katz would have to be crazy to ignore.
Postscript: In a little noticed maneouvre, Katz’s entourage in Seattle included former NHL owner Wayne Gretzky, who followed up his shifty move with a prognosis well-orchestrated by the sports media that the NHL lockout will be over by Christmas. Like, whose side is Gretzky on and who gives a damn about what the hell he thinks in the first place? Nor did the media bother to mention that Gretzky is still owed some $7 million by the NHL over the travesty in the desert named Phoenix Coyotes. In Journalism 101, that’s a conflict of interest.
With a file from fieldofschemes.com
By NEIL deMAUSE*
THE Seattle city council, as expected, voted last night (September 24) to approve Chris Hansen’s $490 million arena plan (6-2, with Richard Conlin and Nick Licata voting no, and Tom Rasmussen not present) – and that still managed not to be the big news of the day, thanks to:
Representatives of the Edmonton Oilers, including owner Daryl Katz, were reportedly in Seattle on Monday, taking a tour of Key Arena. The news was originally reported by Ian Furness of KJR AM radio in Seattle. Continue reading