Alberta to Oilers: What part of “no money” didn’t you understand?

Alberta premier Alison Redford has followed up her report of two weeks ago that there’s no money in the provincial budget for $100 million toward an Edmonton Oilers arena by saying that no, seriously, there no money, you’re not going to be getting any money, you got that yet?

“On the issue of tax dollars for the pro sports arena in Edmonton, my answer is no,” Redford told a crowd of municipal politicians in Edmonton. “When every one in this room from every municipality are facing the same difficult budget decisions that we are, I can’t think of a worse time to have this discussion.”

So, um, why are we having this discussion? Apparently “sources” told  iNews880 radio that the province was about to allow the city to borrow against a new revenue stream of some kind to get arena money. So of course iNews880 had to ask Redford if it was true. And surely those sources couldn’t have been just starting a rumor in order to get the media to pester the premier, in hopes that she’ll get sick of it and relent, right?


21 comments on “Alberta to Oilers: What part of “no money” didn’t you understand?

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Oilers’ owner make a visit to Seattle within the last year to explore a possible move (I realize it was probably just a ruse to scare Canadian politicians into giving the team the arena money the team needs)? But now that Chris Hansen is so close to securing a state-of-the-art basketball/hockey arena in Seattle, it will be interesting to see how serious the Oilers may be about relocating. Seattle hockey fans would glady welcome them or the Phoenix Coyotes!

  2. You are not wrong. Discussed at some length here:

    http://www.fieldofschemes.com/2012/09/25/3833/seattle-arena-approved-and-oh-my-god-the-oilers-are-in-town/

    I can’t really see being second tenant in Seattle being preferable to running the show in Edmonton, though. The Coyotes, sure, but it’s been clear for a while that an arena at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean could be more lucrative than Glendale.

  3. So what do you think the chances are, given Redford’s comments about declining to give the Oilers money for an arena, that serious relocation talks to Seattle will gain momentum?

  4. I trust your analysis, Neil, but on exactly what are you basing that “nil” estimate? The Oilers’ lease will expire soon and if the government isn’t willing to contribute any money to build a new arena…what then?

  5. Then they sign a lease extension. It’s what every team does when they want a new arena and the lease expires before they can get one built.

    If there’s still no arena ten years from now? Then maybe relocation is a possibility, but even then I don’t think being the Sonics’ tenant would be more lucrative than playing in the old arena in Edmonton. Or than just sucking it up and paying the extra $100m themselves and staying in Edmonton in a new arena. The number of teams in history that have relocated because they couldn’t fill a $100m funding gap is, I’m pretty sure, zero. Or maybe nil.

  6. Ok, makes sense. I’m sure you’ve discussed this before, but what do you think of the possibilities are of the Coyotes eventually relocating to play in Hansen’s new building?

  7. Pretty good, assuming Gary Bettman eventually lets himself admit that hockey in Arizona wasn’t the best idea. And even then, Seattle may have to fight Quebec for the Coyotes, and keep in mind they could control the whole arena there.

  8. It would be nice if the next step in the process is “let’s explore what our building options are with $100M less than we were planning on working with…”

    And we say zero. It’s only in soccer or “European football” do they use the term nil.

    I can’t think of the last Canadian who’s dropped “nil” around me recently.

  9. They broke ground last year, supposed to open by 2015. Though weirdly, the webcam now shows what looks to be an outdoor hockey rink:

    http://www.ville.quebec.qc.ca/webcameras/index.aspx

  10. So they’re building an arena and don’t even have a team secured yet? Who’s going to play there until, if ever, an NHL team is relocated?

  11. Bieber?

    Building arenas on spec is generally a terrible idea, but a bunch of cities have done it: Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Louisville… who am I leaving out?

  12. Seattle and Hansen were already going to have a tough time turning a profit in Seattle. The poop will hit the fan even faster if the NHL finds better deals in Canada (and it’s not hard, Hansen would probably want a cut from arena revenues on NHL days and the ability to cook the books for NBA revenue sharing gets trickier with the NHL as a co-tennant).

  13. “Building arenas on spec is generally a terrible idea, but a bunch of cities have done it: Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Louisville… who am I leaving out?”
    Hamilton.

  14. The reality is that Katz would lose tens of millions of dollars relocating from Edmonton to any other available market… including Toronto (when you factor in what the Leafs would have to be paid).

    That’s not to say he won’t begin making noises if the $100m doesn’t come from someone else’s pocket (like the presently promised $300m or so is coming from Edmonton taxpayers). Let’s face it, this schmuck started making noises about “needing” a $6m operating subsidy from the city because he was too stupid to buy the casino license as well as the land the casino sits on as part of his land grab… the best thing about which was that he “assembled” options to purchase, then demanded that the city buy the land that he had options on.

    I don’t remember anyone electing him Mayor, but hey, maybe I just thought it was Mandel running again last time…

    While I think the NHL in Seattle is a decent bet at some point, I don’t think there will be a gold rush-like scene full of owners trying to move there. Hansen has made it clear he doesn’t want to be the NHL owner, which suggests an attractive NHL lease will likely not be forthcoming (he can fill the building on non-NBA nights with events that actually make him some money instead). Some owner may be desperate enough in his existing hockey market to take a bad deal in Seattle, but I wouldn’t put a deposit down on season tix just yet…

  15. ““Building arenas on spec is generally a terrible idea, but a bunch of cities have done it: Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Louisville… who am I leaving out?”
    Hamilton.”
    St. Petersburg, FL

  16. There’s always the chance that after the 2.0 Sonics move in the Seattle sports market could be over-saturated; unproven NHL market.

  17. That’s true, mp34. In addition to all the pro (and near pro) teams, there’s also significant college sports support.

    Having said that, I do think Seattle could work as an NHL market (and would be better than a half dozen existing US markets for hockey). But they will face major competition for the entertainment dollar, and a disadvantageous lease in all likelihood.

  18. Seattle should support its baseball team first. That city’s inhabitants tend to like themselves a lot. It’s really not even THAT big of a market. Denver has five teams, supports three of them (Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets), and Seattle is already in my opinion over-saturated with the return of the Supersonics. Put the team in Houston, they’ll sell-out opening night, before the people catch on that it’s not THE Houston Oilers.

  19. This talk of the Oilers moving to Seattle . Would the Vancouver Canucks then be able to send Katz a bill for being in Vancouvers catchment area similar to the Maple Leafs do for the Buffalo Sabres or the NY Rangers probably do for the Islanders or NJ Devils ?

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