Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Please Beg In Person

The big story today out of the NHL is that there is a new proposal put forth by Gary Bettman and the suits. It's an interesting offer, but I'm not prepared to pick through the scraps offered until the NHLPA accepts it. Why, you ask? It's a proposal. There will still be changes, and there may not be an agreement after all this. However, I would like to talk about a guy who needs the public's support in Daryl Katz as he attempts to squeeze more money from the city of Edmonton to build his arena.

If you had caught The Hockey Show on UMFM on September 27, we had talked at length about the poor math skills that Daryl Katz has. The original plan was for a $450 million, state-of-the-art facility that his team would manage (and make a ton of money from). The problem was that after the three levels of government kicked in their cash, Daryl was willing to throw $100 million to bring the total to $325 million... for a $450 million facility.

Do contractors and construction companies offer discounts on building massive sports facilities? No? Didn't think so.

Instead, Daryl Katz told the city of Edmonton to make up the difference. Why should the man whose NHL team will occupy the rink for approximately 100-150 nights per year, and the man whose management team will be booking the dates, and the man whose sales team will be selling advertising and naming rights be responsible for any more money on an arena?

Instead, he crafted a well-worded letter that basically told the mayor of Edmonton to man-up and cough up the cash. Pretty bold for a guy who will make millions off booking a brand-new arena and selling all the advertising space and parking and concessions, right?

"We have gone backwards," said Katz in his letter to city council and the media. "We and the city can't even agree on basic assumptions relating to the financial aspects of operating a new arena. Perhaps with more time and political leadership this deal can still be saved. But as it stands we remain far apart both on substance and process.

"Mayor Mandel, this is an opportunity for Edmonton to be bold and forward-looking, and it warrants your support and leadership."

So not only has he told the city that he's not throwing in any extra money on the deal for the new arena he wants his NHL team to play in that he'll own and run, he also tacked on a special gift for the people of Edmonton to stomach - Katz needs an extra $6 million a year from taxpayers to offset the cost of running the building.


The man is worth $2 billion. If he tossed in the extra $125 million, that's 1/16th his total value, and he'd have his arena done. Is that a large amount of money? Sure. But Katz is the man who is demanding the new arena!

Furthermore, he's not showing up for the vote tomorrow to try and sway the Edmonton city council into giving him more money. Is this guy for real? He expects someone else to pay for his arena so he can reap the benefits. You know what I call that?


Look at the deal that Katz already has in place:
  • the Oilers would keep all profits from NHL games, trade shows, concerts and other events for 11 months out of the year.
  • the team would also keep naming rights for the building (worth up to $3 million a year).
  • the team would make $2 million a year from the city for a decade for advertising.
  • concessions alone are estimated to be worth approximately $20 million annually.
  • in exchange for these perks, the Oilers would pay the city $5.5 million a year for 35 years and pay to operate and run the arena, pegged at $10 million a year.
Again, if we use those math skills we highlighted earlier, the concessions alone would pay for what the city is asking for over the course of the agreement. Even if the concessions were half of what they are estimated to be, the Oilers still aren't losing a dime in this equation.

When the motion to give Daryl Katz more money is defeated tomorrow in Edmonton city council, no one should be surprised. Personally, I have more respect for homeless people who ask for money because at least they ask for a couple of bucks at best and are gone after that. They don't buy a gourmet meal at a fancy restaurant and then stand around waiting for you to pay it while they have a fistful of dollars.

If you need more money, Daryl, go ask for it in person. Show up and accept the fact that you're robbing the same fans that you expect to support your team when they vote your request down. But the least you could do is show some leadership by throwing some of your fortune at getting an arena you want built for your team so you can make more money.

In other words, try being a responsible adult rather than coming off as an arrogant, entitled, spoiled brat.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

UPDATE as of Oct 18th. Edmonton City Council voted Katz's proposal down. Will be interesting to see what will happen now, as we know Katz has shopped the Oilers to other cities. I don't see the NHL Board of Governors approving a move of the Oilers, so perhaps spolied-brat Katz will have to cough up the dough himself, or continue to play in Northlands/Rexdale, which in reality, ain't a bad arena......he just likely wants more box revenue that a new rink would offer.