SBD/August 20, 2012/Facilities

Arena Developer Roustan Says Markham Facility Could Be Profitable Without NHL Team

All of the C$325M construction cost for the proposed GTA Centre would be borrowed
Bauer Performance Sports Chair Graeme Roustan, the head of the GTA Sports & Entertainment group backing the new arena planned for Markham, Ont., “is convinced" the proposed arena can be "profitable without an NHL team as a major tenant,” according to David Shoalts of the GLOBE & MAIL. Doubtful of the plan “are NHL executives, and those familiar with the operations of the Air Canada Centre.” But a source said that even if Roustan “can book close to the 50 concerts a year that the ACC averages, they do not bring in enough money to support a large arena.” Since all of the C$325M construction cost for the proposed Markham arena “will be borrowed, the debt service alone will be in excess of [C]$10-million a year.” There also will be “several million dollars in operating costs, which will be paid by GTA Sports and Entertainment Ltd.” Shoalts notes the company “is also on the hook for any operating losses.” Roustan said, “I’m a businessman who makes investments in companies where I surround myself with really smart people who’ve done this stuff before.” He added, “I make my decision based on what I know. I’m told by the experts a second (arena) would be very profitable.” Roustan, who is “well connected in international hockey, says he plans to chase every International Ice Hockey Federation event from the junior tournament to the men’s and women’s world championships.” Live Nation is already a partner with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment in promoting concerts "at the ACC and other venues in Ontario.” The source said that MLSE “will object, if it has not already, to Live Nation doing business with Roustan” (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/20).
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