The Coronavirus pandemic has claimed another victim. The long-awaited construction of a new arena for the Calgary Flames will no longer begin this year. Instead, the deal is dead. CBC reports that the agreement between the city of Calgary and owners of the Flames on a new arena has officially been terminated. A project that began gaining steam back in 2017, was finalized in 2019, was set to begin construction in 2022, and set to open in 2024 is now completely erased and the Flames are back to square one.
The $600MM project has hit some funding roadblocks along the way as both the city and ownership group have suffered losses during the pandemic. This past summer, with inevitable construction delays on the way, the initial agreement was amended, groundbreaking was pushed to 2022, and the Flames took on an additional $12.5MM in costs. Yet, it seemed like the plan was still on track. However, Calgary mayor Jyodi Gondek stated last month that the team had informed the city that they could not proceed with the agreement as currently constituted. Today, the city announced that the termination of the agreement had been made official due to “unresolved issues”.
Meanwhile, it is estimated that the two sides already contributed $20-25MM into the project, which is now all for not. The city is set to discuss the situation further in the near future, while there has been no word from the Flames side. Today’s announcement did imply that there was no possibility of reformation of any part of the deal, but with financial commitments already made and a concrete plan hammered out, hopefully some semblance of an alternative path forward can be reached.
Otherwise, where the Flames go from here will become a pressing issue in Calgary. The team will continue to play at the Saddledome in the interim, but the old arena is severely outdated and in need of renovations – or replacement, as the team had hoped. Back in 2017, Flames CEO Ken King even publicly threatened relocation of the franchise if the city of Calgary would not help to fund the arena. It then took several years of often heated negotiations for the two sides to reach an agreement. If they have to start from scratch now, the future of the team in Calgary could be cast back into doubt.
The Quebec Nordiques we hope
fund your own arenas billionaires
@DarkSide830 – #NoTaxpayerStadiums (Sounds good to me – how ’bout you guys?)
@Mac it’s just common sense brother.
dave frost nhlpa
Always been amazed that the owners don’t profit share amongst themselves and build their own arenas.
When those cities/states/provinces see how much the owners make just after one building,it will change their tune. Privately owned arenas get All Star games,the draft,Canada Cup. (It will always be that to me and actually we called it the Eagleson Cup,lol).
@Dave – Are you thinking something along the lines of a CO-OP, but with the league as overall coordinator? I would think that most teams would like to be onboard with something like that, where they could have even more control of incoming revenue from non-hockey events.
Would be sad to have them leave Calgary
I’ve heard that Atlanta has a vacancy.
I’d be nervous if I were a Flames fan. Pulling out of this deal makes NO sense from the Flames’ standpoint…
UNLESS the owners saw what Mario got for the Pens and want to sell to the guy in Houston while trying to make the mayor into the bad guy. THEN it would make sense.
Council in Calgary has zero motivation to make this work and could care less if the team left town.
That would mean there would be no buyer in Calgary or buyer who would keep the team in Calgary. I highly doubt that and there is no chance the league would allow a sale only to have them move.
These owners could easily do a partnership with a private company to build these arenas but they choose not to. So weird.
Just read some more comments from the Flames…
They are walking away from almost $300 million in free money because they couldn’t get $10 million more?
They just know they can get a certain number of people to say “The city has asked for a bunch of changes since July! It’s all that mayor elected in Octobers’ fault! Grrrr” while they try to get even more of their tax money for their billion dollar arena OR as cover while they ship the team out of town.
I can’t say I understand the nuts and bolts of all of this, but this is my take.
Whatever percentage is paid for, by whatever party, is the percentage of usage they get.
So if the city of Calgary put in 50% of the cost, then it is 50% their venue, and they can put in whatever events they want 50% of the year, and take the profits from those events.
Seems simple and symmetrical.