SBD/March 2, 2011/Facilities

Quebecor Buys Management, Naming Rights To Proposed Quebec City Arena

Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume yesterday announced a partnership with Quebecor to "invest in the city's proposed" C$400M NHL-ready arena, according to Marianne White of the MONTREAL GAZETTE. The deal gives the media company "management and naming rights to the city's future arena for a 25-year period." Quebecor will invest between C$110-200M in the project, "depending on whether the city lands an NHL franchise." In the "absence of a professional team, the company will contribute" C$33M million for the naming rights, while the amount will rise to C$63.5M "if an NHL franchise signs on." Quebecor also will pay the city between C$3.15-5M annually for the "right to manage the building." The company will give the city 10 or 15% of profits from the facility, "depending again on the NHL scenario." Labeaume last month announced that the city and the province of Quebec "will split the cost of building" the 18,000-seat arena by '15. He reiterated yesterday that he "wants the federal government to get on board and said he will send detailed information to Ottawa now that the city has a private partner." The current Colisée "was built in 1949 and was home to the Quebec Nordiques before the team left for Denver in 1995." Quebecor Media President & CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau yesterday said that his "goal remains to bring back an NHL team to Quebec City." Labeaume spoke to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman ahead of the announcement, but both he and Péladeau insisted that the NHL "has offered no guarantee" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 3/2). 

PRIVATE PARTNER: Labeaume said that he will be "sending the business plan documents" for the new arena to Josée Verner, the federal minister responsible for Quebec City. In Toronto, Andrew Chung notes the Conservative government in Ottawa "has been asking for such a plan that includes the private sector before committing financing to the project." Labeaume emphasized that the private money from Quebecor "would reimburse the city’s construction costs," currently planned at C$187M. The province also has committed C$200M and a group of citizens C$13M "for seats in the future arena." However, Verner yesterday said that the plan "doesn’t include enough private cash since Quebecor isn’t participating in the arena’s construction" (TORONTO STAR, 3/2).  

DIFFERENT APPROACHES: The GLOBE & MAIL's Seguin & Gordon write under the header, "Quebec City, Regina Take Different Paths On Sports Facilities." The City of Regina is "pulling the plug" on its plan to build a C$430M domed stadium for the CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders if the federal government "fails to deliver." Without federal cash, the project is "certain to die." Meanwhile, Quebec is "telling Ottawa that if it wants to drag its feet on the construction of a multipurpose arena then it can sit on the sidelines while the project moves forward." More than a "half dozen federal seats in the Quebec City region may be at stake for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives if they fail to deliver any money for the arena" (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/2).
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