Flames Buy Ads In Local Newspapers To Take Issue With Calgary's Arena Proposal
The Flames on Thursday "disclosed what they think they should pay for a new arena" via a press release and newspaper ads in a "rebuttal" to the city of Calgary revealing its financials last week, according to Donna Spencer of the CP. Calgary Sports & Entertainment said that it was "willing to contribute" $275M (all figures C) of its own money before it "ended negotiations with the city." CS&E "thinks the city can raise" $225M via a community revitalization levy (CRL), which is "tax collected from new development that springs up around a new arena." CS&E in a statement said, "In a ‘small market’ city, even one with an NHL team, a privately funded arena is not economically viable. The city’s proposal is just not workable (or even for that matter ‘fair’) based on other arena deals in comparable cities." CS&E "repeated their position stated a week ago they will no longer talk with the city about building a new arena, but will continue to make the 34-year-old Saddledome work for their teams for now." The statement also said, "After two years of discussions, the Flames see absolutely no basis upon which a new agreement can be achieved with the city and have concluded that there is no point to continue the pursuit of a new arena in Calgary." The city "proposed a three-way split" on the cost of a $555M arena, with the city and the Flames each paying $185M and the "remaining third raised from a surcharge on tickets sold to events in the new building." Flames President & CEO Ken King "contended the city’s plan amounted to the team paying the entire cost, or more," because CS&E considers a ticket surcharge paid by users "revenue that belongs to the team" (CP, 9/21). Below is one of the newspaper ads the Flames ran:
BURNING QUESTIONS: In Calgary, Bill Kaufmann notes the city "issued an analysis of the Flames offer" and said that the CRL option is "dead in the water." The city "forecasted" its value at only $150M -- $75M "short of the club’s demand." The city said the projected CRL revenue is "not sufficient to fund a new arena" (CALGARY HERALD, 9/22). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Ken Campbell wrote when a deal gets done with the Flames for a new arena, Calgary residents will be able to thank Mayor Naheed Nenshi for "keeping his wits about him and watching out for the interests of his constituents." Campbell also writes what the city is offering -- $185M -- is "more than generous." Campbell: "You have to wonder if the Flames realize how silly they look here. Perhaps they don’t care." The Flames "aren’t going anywhere," and "neither is Nenshi." He is "expected to win the Oct. 16 municipal election in a landslide, which will give him major amounts of currency and a ton of leverage when he and the Flames get around to getting back to the negotiating table" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 9/21). In Calgary, Eric Francis writes the city "will get a new downtown arena." The question is "whether city hall will ask taxpayers to pay for a reasonable part of it now, or pay much more for it" once the Flames leave. That is the "bottom line on what is at stake here" (CALGARY SUN, 9/22).