SBD/23/Franchises

CITY COUNCIL TO VOTE ON NHL OILERS $1-A-YEAR RENT DEAL

          The fate of the NHL Oilers now rests with Edmonton's
     City Council "after Edmonton Northlands approved a deal last
     night to give the team rent" for $1, according to Johnson &
     Findlay of the EDMONTON SUN.  The Northlands board passed a
     motion to let the Oilers play in the Coliseum for $1 a year,
     "provided city council agrees to hand over C$2.4M a year to
     help cover an expected C$4.8M deficit."  The motion was
     seconded by Mayor Bill Smith, and goes to a Council vote
     tomorrow.  Under the current deal, the Oilers paid C$2.8M
     for rent, using money collected by the city through a ticket
     tax.  Local investors who've bid to keep the team want to
     rent the facility for $1 a year, "yet still keep most of the
     ticket tax and game concession" revenues.  In return, the
     local group would give Coliseum management to Northlands for
     all non-Oilers events. Northlands says the deal would result
     in a C$4.8M a year operating deficit, of which "it is
     willing to pay half" if the city pays the rest.  Smith said
     that the council vote "should be a no-brainer," but Johnson
     & Findlay write that the council must "consider the flood of
     calls that have come into City Hall" recently, the "majority
     of which have been opposed" to the city using taxpayer money
     to help the team (EDMONTON SUN, 4/23).  Team and Northlands
     officials say the assistance "isn't for the team but for
     Northlands," a non-profit organization which oversees the
     Coliseum.  Councilmember Brian Mason, however, called such
     aid "money straight for the team" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 4/23). 
     In Edmonton, Donna Marie Artuso writes under the header,
     "Miffed Council Will Back Oilers Deal" (SUN, 4/23).  Also in
     Edmonton, Scott Haskins writes, "I want to know who votes
     no. I want to know who should receive a standing boo the
     next time they set foot in the Coliseum" (EDM. SUN, 4/23).

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Edmonton Oilers, Franchises, NHL

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