I don’t write much in the summer, hockey usually takes the backseat to patio beers and sunshine. However while I was out enjoying both of those things the Flames announced CalgaryNEXT.
I’ve long said that the Saddledome seems fine to me, but since I’ve never owned a stadium before maybe there is something I’m missing that determines the need to build a new facility. Perhaps it’s about to fall over, or costs more to operate than a new one would be. But then I saw the funding model, and the idea that the Calgary Flames would expect the public to fund over half the infrastructure costs, well that does not seem fine to me.
That doesn’t even get into the idea of facility ownership, property tax revenue, environmental cleanup of the area, etc. I’m going to steal sentiment from Kent Wilson (@Kent_Wilson) here, because I could not have said it any better than this…
I have been a Flames fan since I could walk. I have written thousands of articles about the team over the last decade. I am a die hard fan. Like most fans, I’d really like to see the club in a new, state-of-the-art arena, because that would be awesome.
But I won’t let the club use my love of the team nor my excitement about a new rink to manipulate me into accepting bad deals or corporate welfare. If the team wants to approach me as a fan, they only need to put together a solid entertainment product. If they want to approach me as a taxpayer and investor, then they need to propose a solid deal.
I encourage you all to read Kent’s blog post about it: How to think critically about CalgaryNEXT.