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Oilers ownership and City of Edmonton agree on new arena deal

May 19, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT

Daryl Katz, Gary Bettman AP

While some teams are struggling over whether or not they’ll be able to call their current home cities as their own, the Edmonton Oilers are securing their future in the Albertan oil town.

Oilers owner Daryl Katz and Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel have been working together for some time now to trying to get a deal cut to build a new arena to replace Rexall Place in Edmonton. The Oilers have called Rexall Place home since they joined the old WHA back in 1974 and is the second oldest arena in the NHL, only Nassau Coliseum in Long Island is older.

Last night, Mandel and Katz announced that they’ve reached an agreement on a deal to finally build the new facility Katz and his ownership group have been hoping for. The details are juicy ones for other teams hoping to construct new buildings in the future.

The deal, approved by an 8-5 council vote following an hours-long meeting behind closed doors, closely follows a 17-part motion passed in April that laid out what the city wants to see happen.

The maximum construction cost will be $450 million. That will be covered by $100 million cash from Oilers owner Daryl Katz, $125 million from a ticket fee and $125 million from tax on surrounding development and other city funds.

The two sides will jointly work on a design.

The provincial and federal governments will be asked to put in the remaining $100 million.

Everyone’s chipping in with a piece here but it appears that fans and citizens will be helping to foot the bill in one form or another through ticket fees and taxes. While it’s a great deal for Katz and his owners and likely for downtown Edmonton development as the building will be located downtown, it always feels awkward to have so much money for deals like this come out of the citizens pockets.

At the very least, the City of Edmonton will own the facility while Katz and his people will run it and the deal worked out to build the arena locks the team into staying there for the next 35 years. Here’s to hoping things with the Canadian dollar don’t get screwy again or else this deal could turn sour.

Still, it’s a good thing for the Oilers to get themselves into a nice, new building worthy of their legacy through the 1980s and 1990s. Let’s just hope this doesn’t turn into something the fans and people of Edmonton turn around and regret in a major way in the future.

  1. govtminion - May 19, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    Congrats to the Oilers, their fans, and the city of Edmonton. Nice to see a city and team just put heads together and get a deal worked out without a ton of complaining and threatening attached. Combine this news with the youth movement they’re creating there thanks to their repeated high draft picks, and Edmonton might really be something to see in a couple of years- glad they’ll still be there for a long time to come.

    Thrashers, are you paying attention to all of this?

  2. cshearing - May 19, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    The fact that the city will own the building should head off most complaints about public money. If the building was owned by Katz, I could see the gripes.

  3. neuron90 - May 20, 2011 at 1:36 AM

    So the city will own the building, and the government will pay to build most of it, but who makes the profits, if there are any? Probably not the taxpayers. But hey, if that’s what they want to do with their money up there.

    We’ve embraced the same idea here in America in the last few years. It’s called Public Risk, Private Profits. It worked really well for Citi, AIG, Goldman Sachs, GM and even bailed-out homeowners. Taxpayers cover all the risks when things fail (cuz they’re too big to fail) but the ‘capitalists’ reap all the profits when the Fed pumps up the market. What a racket.

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