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Could arena dispute drive Flames out of Calgary?

The Calgary Flames need a new arena. The Flames and the City of Calgary are miles apart in negotiations. Those negotiations, which have gone extremely public as of late, have been “spectacularly unproductive.”  After seeing the success of Rogers Place in Edmonton and how the City of Edmonton helped in that process, the attention turns to Calgary. The Scotiabank Saddledome is currently the second-oldest arena in the NHL. The only arena older is Madison Square Garden, which underwent $1 Billion renovations in 2013. Calgary Sports and Entertainment (CSEC) and the city have gone public in regards to what they would pay and what they think the other side should pay. This has created a few questions that people have no answers to. Here’s one: Why are the Flames having such a hard time negotiating with the City of Calgary?

The Looming Civic Election – Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.

With the civic election coming up on October 16th, this topic has created a lot of heat. Even though the Flames say they’re done talking, is it just a gimmick? Could very well be. In this public back and forth, there has been a lot said. The city knows how badly the Flames need this arena. Just by taking a look at what Edmonton has done, has to give you hope. You know the saying “You have to spend money, to make money?” Well, wake up Calgary. Obviously, we’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars, so this process won’t be quick and easy. But as it looks right now, the city is not doing a very good job in negotiations.

CSEC declared via a press release and newspaper ads on Thursday they’d put $275 million of owners’ money into a $500-million building and the city should raise the remaining $225 million. So let’s put that into retrospect for a second, if you look at the comparison between the Flames proposed deal and the Oilers deal, you’ll notice something interesting. The Oilers only contributed $20 Million upfront. The Flames have offered up $275 million. A beyond generous offer from the owners of the Flames. It just shows the difference in support between the City of Edmonton and Calgary. Edmonton was quite smart with the way they put their deal together. The Flames and the city should really dig deep into that and figure out the financials in a mutually beneficial manner.

The Comparison Between Edmonton’s New Arena (Rogers Place) and Calgary’s Proposal

Calgary needs the Flames

Ultimately when you look at the City of Calgary, you see the Calgary Flames. After living there for nine years, the fans are dedicated. The fans are real. They cheer on their team and want to see a winning, championship franchise on the ice. And they sure will pay to see it. Again, bringing up the fact that Edmonton’s arena deal brought with it a bunch of success, on and off the ice. So only time will tell, but if the Flames feel like their needs aren’t met, don’t be surprised if something does happen where relocation comes up. The Saddledome will only be feasible for so long before a new arena is needed. Calgary is a city for hockey, and they need to realize that making this investment is something that will benefit them for a long time to come.

Photos via

Coleton MacDonald
The Founder of
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