SBD/Issue 16/Facilities & Venues

Edmonton Investors Group Planning On New Arena For Oilers

Oilers Owners Planning For
New Arena In Near Future
The Edmonton Investors Group (EIG), which owns the Oilers, is planning for a “new state-of-the-art arena to replace aging Rexall Place,” according to David Staples of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. Oilers Chair Cal Nichols noted that “only the [Penguins] and the [Islanders] play in older buildings.” Nichols said that “the economics of the Oilers and the NHL have to justify private individuals and the community investing money in a new building.” Nichols: “The thing can only be dealt with if you’re viable and profitable as far as the eye can see, because if it isn’t, you can’t think new building.” EIG attorney Mike Crozier said Nichols “doesn’t have the attitude that somebody should provide [a new arena] for nothing.” However, Staples noted that EIG still must pay the remaining C$30M on the ’98 bank loan used to purchase the team before a new arena can be built. The investors have yet to make money on their initial C$60M investment, and in ’02, they had to “put in an additional [C$14M] to cover costs” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 10/2).

LOCKOUT COSTLY: In Edmonton, Joanne Ireland wrote that the Oilers expect the “lost season will have cost” EIG C$9M. Corporate sales are down 40% — an additional C$2M shortfall — “largely because the lockout ended after the fall media buy.” While the team added 1,000 new season-ticket holders, as many as 400 former season-ticket holders elected not to renew their packages. Oilers President & CEO Patrick LaForge said, “We’ll recover eventually our commercial shortcomings, but the lockout has a hangover that goes with it. And in my mind, it’s got to be six months. At least” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 10/2).

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