Gary Bettman reeeeeeally wants a new arena for the Calgary Flames that is paid for by somebody other than the Flames owners, yet despite having declared the money-making team can’t be “viable” without one and insisted that “academicians” are wrong about arenas not revitalizing cities just because their “numbers” show that they don’t, he still hasn’t convinced Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi to cough up the dough. So now he’s taken to a time-honored sports tradition: whining.
“The whole problem is, no matter how the city dresses it up, the fact of the matter is they’re looking for the Flames to pay for the whole thing,” Bettman said Sunday.
This is just reiterating last fall’s Flames talking point that because the team would be paying property taxes like any normal property owner, all that money should be counted as a “contribution” to the arena costs, and not just, you know, paying your taxes, because of the Casino Night Principle. That didn’t go over too well the last time Bettman said it, and honestly “You just want us to pay for our own arena that we’ll get all the money from!” doesn’t sound like that much of a complaint, but I guess when you have one arrow in your quiver, you keep going back to it.
Though that’s not really fair, because Bettman has at least one other trick up his sleeve, which is threats — in this case, that Calgary will never get the 2026 winter Olympics without a new arena:
“It may be that an Olympic bid fails cause there’s not going to be a new arena, and clearly if there’s going to be an Olympics in Calgary, which would be great again, they need a new arena,” Bettman said.
Not that hosting the Olympics is necessarily a prize you want to win, but still, that’s an interesting point if tru—
Last Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee assured the city, after examining the facilities, that the Saddledome would be an acceptable venue for both hockey and figure skating at the Olympics.