The ongoing saga of the Calgary arena negotiations.
They are back at the negotiating table. Calgary, Alberta elected officials and negotiators from the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation are talking about building an arena for the National Hockey League’s Calgary Flames franchise. When we last left the city and the hockey team ownership at the end of 2021, the two sides broke off the engagement that would have seen the construction of an arena. Flames ownership did not want to pay for cost overruns of the construction, after all Flames ownership agreed to pay half of the estimated $608.5 million Canadian cost. The arena project was dead but arena projects never die. This arena project is going to cost more money because of global inflation and higher interest rates than earlier arena proposals. Calgary politicians used a “deal structure advisor” to help them in restating the talks. They could have saved some consulting fees and just restarted the talks. That is how arena game is played.
Flames’ ownership has been pushing Calgary city elected officials to fund a building for years. Flames’ ownership wanted a revenue generating arena but needed to get some public loonies from the city to subsidize the building’s cost. In 2017, the Flames’ ownership threw in the towel and decided to end talks with Calgary elected officials and said they were going back to the old arena. The owners would move the franchise but cooler heads prevailed and the two sides spoke again. In 2019, the two sides reached an agreement to build an arena. In 2021, the two sides hit a speed bump delaying construction. In July 2021, it was full speed ahead for a new Calgary Flames building. Then the project died. The Flames ownership is still using the city owned arena for its NHL, minor and junior leagues businesses. Flames ownership will eventually get the new building.
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