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Volume 24 No. 117
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Calgary Says It Would Pay For One Third Of Flames Arena; Team Calls Offer Misleading

The City of Calgary is "offering to pay for one-third of the cost of a new NHL arena" for the Flames, according to Donna Spencer of the CP. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi "revealed details Friday of what the city proposes to pay" for an arena expected to cost $555M (all figures C) in response to the Flames "breaking off talks for a new rink" last week. The Flames "haven’t made their counter-proposal public, but have indicated they want the city to pay closer to half the cost." Nenshi said, "We have to put the emotions aside and we have to determine what is the right thing for Calgary, what is the right thing for the citizens, what is the right thing for the taxpayer." Spencer noted the city proposed paying $185M up front, with the Flames "contributing the same amount and the other third coming from a surcharge on tickets to events in the new building." Calgary Sports & Entertainment would "own the new arena and receive all revenues from it, but the city asks that they pay property tax." Nenshi added that the city would bear approximately $200M in indirect costs, which are "infrastructure and public transit expansion to the area on the downtown east side" (CP, 9/15). However, Flames President & CEO Ken King said that the city’s offer is "misleading because whatever the city commits would eventually be paid back by the club." King in a press conference on Friday responding to the city's offer said that CS&E will "unveil details of its proposal sometime next week." He added that he "doesn’t know what it’ll take to get both sides talking again." King: "Their message is loud and clear: they’re not interested in our deal and we’re not interested in theirs" (CALGARY HERALD, 9/16).

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: In Calgary, Rick Bell wrote the two sides are "not close" on an agreement. King said that the city’s offer is "worse than what" the Flames have now at the aging Scotiabank Saddledome. Some at city hall and on city council "feel Nenshi should not be the one speaking on the city’s arena proposal." If anyone should "speak it is the city brass who did the negotiating" (CALGARY SUN, 9/16). Also in Calgary, Eric Francis wrote as the Flames and city's "acidic exchange suggests, a possible deal anywhere in town is now further away from becoming a reality than it ever was, especially since Nenshi is expected to win next month’s election" (CALGARY HERALD, 9/16). The CALGARY HERALD's Don Braid wondered if the Flames are "trying to run" Nenshi "out of City Hall in the Oct. 16 election." Baird: "It sure looks that way, after a week in which the Flames backed out of arena talks and blamed the mayor for the breakdown." Nenshi said, "King very clearly said this has nothing to do with the election, it has nothing to do with the Seattle deal, just purely a coincidental thing. I’m a trustworthy guy, I guess I’ll have to take him at his word on that." He added, "It is a bit strange ... I find it very odd." Asked about King’s role, Nenshi said, “I don’t know the man very well. I know him to say hello. I see him from time to time. I don’t know that it’s just him ... I think the owners group has a point of view on how they’re going to get the best possible deal" (CALGARY HERALD, 9/16).