Tuesday, October 4, 2005

New Arena?

Months removed from saying the Oilers weren't making any money and might have to move, Oilers ownership is already talking up a new arena for their team.

From the Edmonton Journal:

Part of the EIG's plan includes a new state-of-the-art arena to replace aging Rexall Place. Only the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders play in older buildings, says EIG board chairman Cal Nichols.

"One day we will have the oldest building in the league, and eventually you have to do something about it."

Adds EIG partner Bruce Saville: "I'm not sure anybody wants to hear it, and I don't know what number to pick out of the air, but let's say 10 years from now we're going to have to be in a new arena."

Forgive me for being suspicious, but I haven't taken anything the Edmonton Investors Group says at face value ever since they threatened to move the team unless they got their way with a new CBA (at this rate I'm thinking we should have cake and balloons for the "Tenth-Time-The Oilers-Have-Threatened-To-Move" milestone party). Naturally, I read the quotes in this article with a wary eye. Tom Benjamin, always quick to pick up on post-CBA whining, has already pounced on the EIG, lumping this piece with other articles about teams already complaining about not making enough money. I don't think the Oilers have gone quite as far, as they're choosing their words carefully.

For instance, EIG's lawyer claims that Cal Nichols and the Oilers aren't looking for handouts: "He doesn't have the attitude that somebody should provide it for nothing." Seems innocuous enough, but why am I sensing another shoe is about to drop?

I'm all for a new arena if the Oilers can make more money, just as long as taxpayers don't foot the bill. But being smart business men, they're going to try their best to get the best deal for the EIG possible; the big question is whether they can resist the "needing a new arena to stay viable" line like Lemieux already has and the Oilers have already done many times.

Nevermind that in the Oilers' case it's bullshit, and warmed over bullshit at that. In fact if the Oilers fire up the debate about whether "Edmonton can support an NHL team" again, I may have to light myself on fire in front of their Kingsway offices for good measure. Will they dare bring up "small market team" again? Almost thirty years in the league, with a new league-designed CBA, with a city twice its original WHA size, with budgeted salary in the top third of the league? Maybe not in so many words, but I'll be waiting...and when they do, PFOOMF!


Matt said...

Nice pic - weather looks nice. I thought it didn't get to -20 up there until at least mid-October.

mike w said...

Snow is the grass of Edmonton.

Randy said...

The EIG is pretty shrewd and they want a a free building.
A) They probably haven't made any money in the last 5 years, and they're at the break even point this year. The same money is coming in and going out.
B) On ice success (made possible by the new CBA) is different than financial success. Profit will increase with raising the number of playoff games from zero.
HOWEVER, a bigger rink means 2,000 seats (at the top of the building) meaning $20 each times 41 home games = an extra $1.6 million per season, not including concessions, etc., of which the Oilers get a large portion, so say $2 million.
The luxery box market is likely tapped out.
Are you going to spend $200 million to make an extra $2 million each year. The rink pays for itself in 100 years.
Sorry, but your town sucks.

Anonymous said...

Your arena has been sliding for years. From a once mighty 'colosseum', to a 'center', to just a 'place'. What's next in that sequence? 'Putrid hole'?

Better get those tax dollars flowing. Nobody builds a venue like that without public funding.

mike w said...

Maybe we can somehow crack that ultimate Fabergé nest egg, the Heritage Fund. What is that thing, 2 billion?

>From a once mighty 'colosseum', to a 'center', to just a 'place'. What's next in that sequence? 'Putrid hole'?

The "Rexall Area"?

Randy said...

Nichols isn't exactly correct when he says the Rexall Cul-de-Sac is the third oldest building.
He mentions Mellon and Nassau Country, but also MSG (current version built in 1968, though re-fitted several times).

If it makes you feel any better a steel worker fell to his death at the centre ice dot while building the Saddledome in 1983.


Chris! said...

>Maybe we can somehow crack that ultimate Fabergé nest egg, the Heritage Fund. What is that thing, 2 billion?

Ha! try $12 billion, pallio. Why? Because we don't care about public services. Take note, every other province—nothing says 'high quality of life' like an overstuffed, dusty vault full of unrealized dreams!

Austin said...

You guys are brutal. Looking up the possibility of the Oilers getting a new arena has led me to this squabbling match over whose city is better? Please. Heres your soothers...have a good night kids.

Brad said...

I believe that Edmonton does need a new rink, more people are being attracted to hockey in this city, and rexall is tiny. this rink is much to small for this thriving city. but i gurantee you, being and edmontonian, the rnk will not have to pay for itself, the people of edmonton will gladly fund it. Gladly.