5 Things: Don't give in

Ryan Lambert
August 20 2015 09:00AM

1) You want how much?

So CalgaryNEXT (or whatever they're going to end up calling it) was unveiled yesterday with a handy pie chart of the costs and how the tab would be picked up.

In the end, the Flames seem to commit $200 million to the project, which conveniently includes a new rink and stadium for their various sports properties, out of a total $890 million cost. That's less than 22.5 percent of the bill, and it's a bilious initial proposal. A lot of transparent talk immediately followed from media cronies — Calgary's answer to David Staples and his laughable 18-month campaign to get the city of Edmonton to pass the cost of Darryl Katz's new rink onto the taxpayers — who said things like "this is about More Than Just The Flames" and "what is the city of Calgary without an NHL team?

(The latter included a revolting "You wouldn't rob a little boy with cancer of the team he loves, WOULD YOU?" plea. On Day 1 of what is likely to be a long ordeal. That's overplaying your hand as much as it is cloying and morally reprehensible.)

The immediate reaction outside the pages of the local papers, though, was thankfully one of incredulity and anger. How could a team ask for $690 million from a city with an economy based on a commodity that, well, isn't doing so hot these days, with the Canadian dollar at its weakest point in years? These are reasonable questions to ask, and to its credit the mayor's office seemed more than happy to be among those asking them.

2) A convenient omission

This is especially concerning, though, because the initial CalgaryNEXT — so named because, you see, this is the future of the city!!!! — presentation those numbers are only the cost of putting up the requisite buildings in the proposed area. Not of cleaning up the creosote contamination or altering and/or building more infrastructure to get more people to the new arena district. Those costs could add another 50 percent or so to the total bill, if my understanding is correct. 

Who's putting their credit card down with that check? It's obviously not clear, but given the initial ask from the franchise, it's a good guess that the party holding the bag there will have a name that rhymes with "waxlayers." It seems to me that $500 million or more is a lot of money to leave out of an estimate, but if this is the dressed-up, palatable version of the first offer on the table, then holy hell this could end up being bad for the city.

3) Here's a good rule of thumb

Now, it's important to note here that not all of that cost is going to come from taxpayers by and large. What I mean by that is a pretty big chunk is going to come in the form of a tax tacked onto the price of every ticket at the new rink. As "ways to pay for stadiums in this day and age" go, that is, I think, the least objectionable way to do things.

That's because you're only being taxed for using the facilities as much as you actually do so. And usually, the additional cost is pretty low; most I've seen are in the neighborhood of $2. So even if you're a season ticket holder for the Flames, Stampeders, and Hitmen, you're only paying $172 per year on top of the already-considerable cost of your investment. Assuming $50 for a Flames game, $30 for the Stamps, and $20 for the Hitmen ($3,040 not counting playoffs, preseason, etc.) that ticket tax would add about 5.7 percent to the total. If you can spend that much on tickets, the extra $172 isn't going to make or break your decision. This is also true of people spending $50 per game; the $2 increase ain't a big deal.

But again, this all assumes that there isn't something gross about the average person paying for something that makes billionaires money. Murray Edwards, apart from being a key driver behind two NHL lockouts in the last decade, is worth billions of dollars, and if this was such a great investment, why aren't he and his business partners digging between the couch cushions to scrape together the $1.something billion this proposed project (MORE THAN A BILLION DOLLARS!) themselves so they don't have to cut the City of Calgary in on any of the revenues?

Oh yeah, it's because most of these types of deals don't cut their cities in on them, so why should Calgary be any different? Right right right. If you hear the details of the Edmonton arena deal — they don't even get revenues from things like naming rights, non-hockey events, etc. — it seems like there's shockingly little return on investment for the city. Which doesn't (and to some extent shouldn't) be of any concern at all to the billionaire plutocrats behind these schemes.

4) You're not going to die

The reason cities are so anxious to bend over backwards to give money they don't have to pro sports franchise owners — as with recently bankrupt Detroit giving hundreds of millions to billionaire Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch — is that, as the Sun's goons were so quick to remind Calgarians this week, cities have a lot of civic pride wrapped up in their sports teams. And that's their prerogative, of course. It only makes sense that they would. But owners know this, and aim to exploit it by any means necessary to save as much money as possible on building these sometimes-billion-dollar monuments to excess.

They will threaten to move teams, for instance, saying, "Hey look what happened with Atlanta and Winnipeg," as though that's any sort of reasonable comparison. Katz showing up in Seattle like, "Oh, hmm what's going on down here?" was a ploy so transparent as to be non-existent; there was never any threat of the Oilers going anywhere. But if it milked $25 million more out of Edmonton's city council, then the cost of the plane ticket and hotel room was very worth it. Likewise, in the coming months I would urge Flames fans to keep in mind that there is no market more attractive to Flames ownership than Calgary. Seattle isn't going to build your team an arena, and neither is any other boogeyman relocation city. Kansas City? Portland? Yeah right.

And another thing owners often do, as we saw in Edmonton, is try to tie these arena demands into "revitalization projects" that ostensibly benefit the whole entire city and the economy does great wow aren't you so lucky we came up with this idea?!?!?! That's because, despite numerous independent studies that show the positive economic impact of "stadium districts" are negligible or non-existent, people continue to buy team-funded lies on the subject. Okay, a bunch of new restaurants and bars within walking distance of the rink? Great, but what about the ones near the old one? Again, if it's such a great idea, why wouldn't the Flames' parent company invest in all this itself?

The lesson here, and one that must be repeated over and over and over until the speaker's throat is hoarse and the listener's ears are bleeding, is a simple one: "Don't give billionaires money."

5) Reasonable models

I should say here that I don't have a dog in this fight. I live in Boston, on the opposite side of the continent and in a whole different country. But the thing about Massachusetts is that it does indeed offer a few decent models for how you can build stadiums without breaking the goddamn bank for them.

Massachusetts is, of course, famously ultra-liberal and pretty good at telling corporations to go stick it. Residents of Boston, for instance, recently bullied a hard-charging mayor's office into dropping the Olympic bid for the 2024 games because, hey, the U.S. Olympic Committee wanted taxpayers to pick up the tab on a bunch of stuff. This is, of course, the Olympic business model, and that also extends to North American pro sports franchises, because it works.

Anyway, because of that whole moral objection to taxpayers paying for billionaires' business centers, the state of Massachusetts and various cities around the state have occasionally run into upset sports owners multiple times in the last two decades.

It wasn't so long ago that Red Sox owners wanted to build a new park somewhere in the city, and the city of Boston wouldn't Play Ball (haha that's a good one). No help on getting land, no help on stadium costs. So they privately paid for a bunch of improvements to the existing Fenway — which opened the day the Titanic sank! — and while the park still has its problems, it's not a bad place to watch a ballgame. (One phase of the Red Sox ownership group's plan involved building a "Sports Megaplex" that would have also housed the New England Patriots, and seems awful similar to CalgaryNEXT.) Until the Sox started to really suck the last few years, the park was sold out every night, and the team has made money hand over fist despite the restraints of an ancient facility.

Speaking of the Pats, owner Robert Kraft was likewise looking for a new stadium in the late '90s and early 2000s, and at one point even threatened to move the team to Hartford, Connecticut, where he hoped to get a city-funded stadium built. Everyone balked, and Kraft ended up paying for Gillette Stadium privately, then eventually building a little shopping district of his own on adjacent land he already owned. It has worked out pretty damn well for Kraft.

And in the mid-90s, the old Boston Garden was in sorry shape. Here too, Jeremy Jacobs — the NHL's Charles Montgomery Burns to Murray Edwards' Aristotle Amadopolis — ran into plenty of municipal and state government-related problems, until Delaware North (Jacobs' company) was able to secure loans to pay for the building himself. Jacobs is likewise doing just fine with how everything went.

Another example: I am from a city called Lowell, Massachusetts, where a municipal renaissance occurred in the mid-1990s that included the construction of two municipally funded sports venues: Tsongas Center, nee-Arena, a 6,500-seat hockey venue that housed an AHL franchise and the local college hockey team (UMass Lowell), and LeLacheur Park, a 5,000-seat baseball stadium that's home to a short-season Single-A Red Sox affiliate and UMass Lowell's baseball team as well.

These obviously do not carry the cost of a CalgaryNEXT, but they are instructive in a way. The city and University paid a combined $35 million or so (in 1998 dollars, so more like $52.5 million today) for the two buildings. But the city and school owned the buildings, not the teams that inhabit them. You can bet that wouldn't happen with CalgaryNEXT, which, yes is a project that's going to be at least 20 times larger, but bear with me.

Even then, with the pro teams not owning the facilities, things didn't always work out. The AHL team's lease was, shall was say, extremely favorable to it. They got a huge amount of revenues from every event held there, to the point where the city was losing a lot of money every year. And then the AHL team (originally affiliated with/owned by the Islanders, then the Islanders and Kings, then the Carolina Hurricanes, then both the Hurricanes and Flames, then both the Hurricanes and Avalanche, then the Devils; it was a weird 12 years) basically started making a bunch of noise about how if they didn't get a better deal they'd leave. So the city said, "Good riddance, we're losing a ton of money anyway," sold the entire arena to the university for $1 (in addition to a land swap), and washed its hands of the whole affair. UMass Lowell likewise couldn't strike a lease deal with the AHL team — which then moved to Albany, New York — and has since turned the arena into a money-maker.

Again, all these deals are in many ways different from CalgaryNEXT, due to their size, the eras in which they happened, and so on. But they do show that, if things are done correctly between city and franchise (essentially a private business in which locals feel invested for reasons that do not on their surface make sense or, as it concerns costs, matter), everyone does well at the end of the day.

Calgary doesn't need to pay $790 million-plus to reap the benefits of CalgaryNEXT. The Flames' ownership would like the city to pay that much anyway, but that's only because they feel like they can push taxpayers around by threatening to leave, and pointing to Edmonton's ridiculous arena deal, and saying, "Well they got this!" a lot. (The province also set a bad precedent for the people of Calgary here.)

This initial gambit by the team is garbage, and most people seem to recognize that even in saying that they need a new football stadium and rink. These two ideas are not necessarily connected in such a way that they are inseparable, no matter how much you'll be told they are.

I will once again advocate: Don't give billionaires a penny of your money. But given that this is unrealistic in the current climate, please understand you have more bargaining power than you're going be told you do. Wield it with every ounce of strength you can muster. You can have a new arena for your beloved team without paying for almost all of it. Don't listen to the people who stand to profit from your loyalty.

686dfac3780611cb7acad6ce5166c6c1
Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#51 Jake the Snail
August 20 2015, 02:15PM
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Ryan Lambert wrote:

No one's saying the city shouldn't pick up that bill, but the additional cost to the city should also be factored into what the Flames are asking for, and it is not.

The cost of cleaning up the contamination made by a company no longer in existence is the responsibility of the Province. Contaminated parcels of land have to be cleaned up whether or not the Flames build there; therefore, it should not be factored in the cost.

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#52 Colin.S
August 20 2015, 02:24PM
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@Denscafon

I'm against the city taking ticket revenue. That revenue stream belongs to the Flames, people pay those tickets prices to see the Flames. Instead the city could recoup money by way of LRT levy/parking/concessions/concerts/signage/naming/etc. those revenues all belong to the building(s) and if the city owns the building they should get those revenues.

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#53 Denscafon
August 20 2015, 02:34PM
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@Colin.S

I'm fine with that but if you've seen the John Oliver video, most billionaires don't give any of those up to the city.

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#54 RedMan
August 20 2015, 02:46PM
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arena drops to 18,000 seats and there are 1,500 parking spots.

all money/funding issues aside, the parking thing looks real bad to me. If i want to attend a game, am I supposed to get on the train a few miles away and ride in? the idea of fighting through pushing lines, riding packed smelly lrt's, along with a bunch of drunk people, is a game breaker for me.

and to drop a couple thousand seats... why?

I can get a plane tickets, two lower bowl seats, a hotel and rental car, plus a few days in the sun in Phoenix for a few dollars more then just the seats in Calgary. now, add in a disturbing train ride?

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#55 Nik
August 20 2015, 02:49PM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

Actually, I was thinking on the east side. Just off of Stoney somewhere between 16th & Glenmore would more than solve the accessibility issue. I have a hard time buying that the ONLY place we can put a new center is on a Hobbit-sized piece of Calgary swampland that is accessed most easily by boat.

You just lost $200M. This location qualifies for the revitalization benefit similar to East Village. Your Glenmore location does not. Expand your horizons even more...how many executive suites will you expect to sell when located a far distance from the downtown core....

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#56 Colin.S
August 20 2015, 02:56PM
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Denscafon wrote:

I'm fine with that but if you've seen the John Oliver video, most billionaires don't give any of those up to the city.

Just look up North, not only is the Oilers getting 100% of all revenue for the arena, the city of Edmonton even pays them 2 million a year to have "a marketing/branding partnership with the Edmonton Oilers to promote the City of Edmonton with the Oilers nationally and internationally at a cost of $2-million annually for 10 years.

If you read the rest of what I have wrote, I'm pretty well against the project (100% against it in it's current form). But if it has to happen (spoiler, it doesn't) then the City needs to get a fair deal, but at the same time work with the groups using the building, which is why I don't agree with taking ticket revenue.

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#57 Parallex
August 20 2015, 03:15PM
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Jake the Snail wrote:

The cost of cleaning up the contamination made by a company no longer in existence is the responsibility of the Province. Contaminated parcels of land have to be cleaned up whether or not the Flames build there; therefore, it should not be factored in the cost.

It's a cost involved with the implimentation of the project... it's true that it isn't the responsibilty of the Flames to clean it up but it's part of the cost of the project and should be included in any project estimates regardless of whose side of the ledger it shows on. If the Flames choose almost any other site in the city that cost is not there. When you get down to it I have no objection to the use of public funds... on the condition that those public funds are in due course directly returned to the city. Meaning that the city ought to get a significant percentage of the event revenue until such time that the taxpayer is made whole on his/her investment.

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#58 coachedpotatoe
August 20 2015, 03:31PM
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Does anyone know the number of acres in the proposed area vs the Stadium area vs the old firestone area? All on or near ctrain lines.

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#59 Denscafon
August 20 2015, 03:39PM
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@Colin.S

I am pretty sure everyone on this forum does not want a deal that Edmonton agreed upon, and that includes oilers fans. I am also against the current proposal as it has major flaws and Ken King has deliberately avoided questions about revenue sharing of any kind at this point. If King does agree to 100% of parking/concessions/concerts/ and whatever else that are not owned by CSMC then at least we can start talking. But at this point they aren't saying anything.

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#60 Colin.S
August 20 2015, 03:45PM
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Denscafon wrote:

I am pretty sure everyone on this forum does not want a deal that Edmonton agreed upon, and that includes oilers fans. I am also against the current proposal as it has major flaws and Ken King has deliberately avoided questions about revenue sharing of any kind at this point. If King does agree to 100% of parking/concessions/concerts/ and whatever else that are not owned by CSMC then at least we can start talking. But at this point they aren't saying anything.

They aren't talking because they want the Oiler deal. This was just testing the waters to see how the public/politicians react to the announcement, the details will come later.

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#61 Nik
August 20 2015, 03:50PM
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The GREAT Walter White wrote:

Agreed. Location is not ideal (and too small). But even if we build a new arena there; Do we really need to spend that much money on a new football stadium ?

For the 9 home games we play there every year? Maybe host a grey cup once in a while ....

WW

My simple man....take Coachedpotatoe and Rockmorton count your collective pennies and come up with the $200M that you just lost from the revitalization plan because you think this location is not suitable. Perhaps consider Crossfield where you can have your acres and acres of parking and the downtown executives will flock towards the Crossfield executive suites with their wallets and clients in hand.

Smarter men than you and I have measured the site and they say it has ample space. I'll take their word over your Bow Trail drive by...enjoy the ride on the C-train perhaps you may be sitting next too Jeff from Lethbridge who can't stand the reek of beer and nausea on C-trains.....give him a word of encouragement....ah we make life so complicated

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#62 nikkomsgb
August 20 2015, 04:13PM
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For a person with "no dog in this fight" I think you have a decidedly subjective way of portraying yourself as an objective outside voice.

You complain about the Sun and other media outlets and their hyperbole, yet look at your article. You seem to want to pour gas on a fire, by misstating facts and continuing with the tired narrative of billionaires getting richer off taxpayers.

Your numbers also don't make sense. You wrongly assume that the ticket tax will be fronted by the city, when Ken King said it may be or it may come from conventional financing. You neglect that the CRL is a municipal tool designed precisely for just such a cause (cleaning up the west end) and is paid back in full via higher segregated property tax.

The $200 million for the fieldhouse is fair game and the merits of spending it are absolutely up for all the debate one wants.

On the contamination, as Ryan Lambert mentions, the cleanup is the responsibility of the province. They made a bad deal and foolishly indemnified The Canada Creosote Company, so one way or another they are going to have to deal with it.

The team has never threatened to leave, nor have they even implied that they would go that route. This is a team with much deeper community roots than Katz in Edmonton. Everything about this team is Calgary to it's core.

Finally, maybe you aren't familiar with the Saddledome. It's a dump. As a flames season ticket holder I feel as though I can speak on it's awfulness with authority.

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#63 Reidja
August 20 2015, 04:56PM
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Right on Lambert! Occupy!

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#64 The GREAT Walter White
August 20 2015, 06:27PM
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Nik wrote:

My simple man....take Coachedpotatoe and Rockmorton count your collective pennies and come up with the $200M that you just lost from the revitalization plan because you think this location is not suitable. Perhaps consider Crossfield where you can have your acres and acres of parking and the downtown executives will flock towards the Crossfield executive suites with their wallets and clients in hand.

Smarter men than you and I have measured the site and they say it has ample space. I'll take their word over your Bow Trail drive by...enjoy the ride on the C-train perhaps you may be sitting next too Jeff from Lethbridge who can't stand the reek of beer and nausea on C-trains.....give him a word of encouragement....ah we make life so complicated

"Smarter men than you and I" also thought it would be a good idea to build an arena in the shape of a saddle with a low roof......or build it next to the river......

How's that working out?

Don't be so gullible; question the establishment, have courage.

You will find that it serves you well.....

If Jeff doesn't like "the reek of beer" he is not going to like sitting next to me.....

WW

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#65 Forsby
August 20 2015, 07:30PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

Does anyone know the number of acres in the proposed area vs the Stadium area vs the old firestone area? All on or near ctrain lines.

All or near train lines BUT far far away from your corporate clients and sponsors who primarily work downtown...you know this so called corporate clients that pay ridiculous dollars for those extravagant executive suites.....like it or not the primary success factor is the hockey rink that entertains NHL fans...the ones that pay the big $$$$$$ !!! Think business thats what will make this project work!

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#66 slapshot444
August 20 2015, 08:48PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

Does anyone know the number of acres in the proposed area vs the Stadium area vs the old firestone area? All on or near ctrain lines.

I've often thought the firestone area would be perfect. However there is soil contamination there as well, how much I'm not sure. I was with a company that looked at building on that land several years ago and the re mediation costs made it a non starter If the feds or province could cover that charge, the Firestone area has LRT , parking space and roads, two big mother roads already built( deerfoot and memorial), to your question... 14 acres I've to take.

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#67 Train#97
August 20 2015, 09:38PM
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Is this the right time to build? The economy is in the tank . The dollar is in the tank . How will people accept all the taxpayer dollars going to millionaire owners, when so many people have lost jobs and are having a tough time right now.

Calgary needs the buildings though. They have a 60 year old football stadium which is the oldest in the league After next year The Saddledome is the oldest building in the NHL. It is also the only major city in Canada without a field house. So do they build, and at what cost?

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#68 Derzie
August 20 2015, 09:54PM
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Harder to get to, less available seats, much more expensive. What's not to like?

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#69 Train#97
August 21 2015, 05:35AM
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The GREAT Walter White wrote:

"Smarter men than you and I" also thought it would be a good idea to build an arena in the shape of a saddle with a low roof......or build it next to the river......

How's that working out?

Don't be so gullible; question the establishment, have courage.

You will find that it serves you well.....

If Jeff doesn't like "the reek of beer" he is not going to like sitting next to me.....

WW

was gonna badmouth WW but had a change of heart. We don't miss you on Oilersnation WW

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#70 backburner
August 21 2015, 09:24AM
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Train#97 wrote:

Is this the right time to build? The economy is in the tank . The dollar is in the tank . How will people accept all the taxpayer dollars going to millionaire owners, when so many people have lost jobs and are having a tough time right now.

Calgary needs the buildings though. They have a 60 year old football stadium which is the oldest in the league After next year The Saddledome is the oldest building in the NHL. It is also the only major city in Canada without a field house. So do they build, and at what cost?

They have to, and by the time it's completed the Saddledome and McMahon will be too old.

As long as the Flames pony up the money and take the risk, and revenue is shared, it's a done deal.

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#71 coachedpotatoe
August 21 2015, 10:15AM
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Just read this: When asked about public financing for private sports arenas an overwhelming majority of economists, who rarely see eye-to-eye on much, agree it's a bad deal for a city.

"Virtually nothing is even remotely close to the kind of uniformity of agreement that economists have with respect to stadium subsidies," said Dennis Coates, a sports economist at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. "If what you're expecting is income creation, job creation, tax revenue growth, then you're not going to be successful. It's not a good use of public money."

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#72 piscera.infada
August 21 2015, 10:36AM
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@coachedpotatoe

If you're looking for a good resource, I would definitely recommend "Field of Schemes". Phenomenal read.

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#73 Train#97
August 21 2015, 10:43AM
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backburner wrote:

They have to, and by the time it's completed the Saddledome and McMahon will be too old.

As long as the Flames pony up the money and take the risk, and revenue is shared, it's a done deal.

The Flames will not pony up the money. This will be paid for by the people. Not saying it's good or bad but the taxpayers will pay.

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#74 Train#97
August 21 2015, 10:46AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

If you're looking for a good resource, I would definitely recommend "Field of Schemes". Phenomenal read.

Cool

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#75 nikkomsgb
August 21 2015, 11:52AM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

Just read this: When asked about public financing for private sports arenas an overwhelming majority of economists, who rarely see eye-to-eye on much, agree it's a bad deal for a city.

"Virtually nothing is even remotely close to the kind of uniformity of agreement that economists have with respect to stadium subsidies," said Dennis Coates, a sports economist at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. "If what you're expecting is income creation, job creation, tax revenue growth, then you're not going to be successful. It's not a good use of public money."

The problem with opinions like this is that they are geared towards a similar, but still fairly different issue.

When a sports owner says build me a new arena or I am leaving and there isn't much else attached, it is definitely a raw deal. Even Edmonton's deal that involved revitalizing a crap downtown is unlikely to benefit the city as much as the team.

The difference here is that the land is heavily contaminated and uninhabitable, even for more industry. So as long as remediation is a priority, and it seems to be with city council and the general population, you are going to need a catalyst to make this all happen. The city has said as much.

I'm fiscally conservative to the core, but the reality is that a project like this is the only way to unlock CRL funds. Furthermore the only way to make the CRL use a success is to stimulate a lot of development, and it would take an anchor project like this to do it.

Yeah the flames would make out well, and the city won't make a fortune. However it would at least, from the perspective of a Calgarian, force the province to cough up money to fix a mess it owns and stimulate jobs at a time when they are needed (albeit at a cost).

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#76 Subversive
August 21 2015, 12:36PM
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Spot on Lambert. I agree 100% with everything you said here. Please keep banging this drum.

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#77 Primo
August 21 2015, 12:57PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

Just read this: When asked about public financing for private sports arenas an overwhelming majority of economists, who rarely see eye-to-eye on much, agree it's a bad deal for a city.

"Virtually nothing is even remotely close to the kind of uniformity of agreement that economists have with respect to stadium subsidies," said Dennis Coates, a sports economist at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. "If what you're expecting is income creation, job creation, tax revenue growth, then you're not going to be successful. It's not a good use of public money."

I suppose if you follow quotes from individuals like this who are not even remotely associated with the Calgary community then you may as well shut down progress in your own back yard. Providing examples of American economists who have never visited my own city is a non-starter for me! Enjoy the archaic Saddledome and McMahon stadium to your everlasting delight.

I would rather use common business sense that is closely related to the culture of this community. As a sports fan and born Calgarian I recognize the need for this. I also hear private owners reaching out and asking for support to get his thing off the ground. That includes a fair evaluation of cost sharing that includes public funding for public use i.e. field house and environmental remediation.

I also recognize the opportunities created pre and post construction. That includes "filled" facilities that can sustain profitability for both the private and public portions of this project. A downtown project that addresses serious environmentalists, satisfy's a revitalization requirement for funding, a shared cost approach for construction and a fair revenue sharing approach during the operation of the facilities is what I will support.

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#78 kittensandcookies
August 21 2015, 01:05PM
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@nikkomsgb

"Unlock CRL funds"? What crap is this? Did Inglewood need an arena to put in a CRL? Do you even know that Inglewood also had massive, massive, incredibly expensive soil remediation done as well?

Derp.

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#79 Macindoc
August 21 2015, 02:06PM
Trash it!
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Train#97 wrote:

Is this the right time to build? The economy is in the tank . The dollar is in the tank . How will people accept all the taxpayer dollars going to millionaire owners, when so many people have lost jobs and are having a tough time right now.

Calgary needs the buildings though. They have a 60 year old football stadium which is the oldest in the league After next year The Saddledome is the oldest building in the NHL. It is also the only major city in Canada without a field house. So do they build, and at what cost?

Poor economic times are the best time to build due to the boost it gives to the economy and the lower costs of building at these times, particularly in a market that gets as hot as Calgary does. In good times, this project could easily cost twice as much.

With respect to the original article, the CalgaryNEXT group were quite clear that the facilities WOULD be owned by the city. And, as others have stated, nobody has threatened to leave. McMahon stadium is on land owned by the University of Calgary, which has ongoing needs for expansion and has stated that it intends to use this valuable land for other purposes, forcing the Stamps, the U of C Dinos, and others that use McMahon (a stadium thrown together in under 3 months 60 years ago, so not a very user-friendly venue) to find a new venue regardless of what happens with the CalgaryNEXT proposal. The included field house is one of the city's top unfunded infrastructure needs, and the city has already been looking at committing $200 million to its construction, albeit at a different site. The contribution of the ticket tax should not be included in taxpayers' liability for the project, because it is paid by people who choose to enjoy the use of the facilities. I suppose you think owners should pay to build these facilities and should have no way to recoup the costs of building them. Finally, the cost of the site clean-up will be much less now than if the contamination is simply left to spread even further from the original creosote pits, and it's time we stopped ignoring this pile of toxic waste in the middle of the city, right next to the river, and if CalgaryNEXT provides the impetus for us to do what we should have done years ago, so be it! Next time, finish your research before posting, Ryan!

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