It remains to be seen if the Edmonton Oilers will be a playoff contender by the time they move into Rogers Place in 2016-17. It looks like Oilers season ticket holders will be paying as if they’re a high-end team either way.
The good news for Edmonton Oilers fans is that the “Connor McDavid tax” won’t be that costly for next season. Season tickets in their new arena fall in the cost range of “arm and a leg,” though.
The Oilers released a “season seat relocation guide” for the opening of Rogers Place in 2016-17, and the options are both more expensive and a little more complicated than what fans will experience at Rexall Place. It’s a little tough to compare and contrast when ticket pricing options just from eight different structures to 38, as Global Edmonton points out.
Copper & Blue’s Ryan Batty probably summarizes the more modest jump in prices – relatively speaking – between 2014-15 and next season versus the leap between 2015-16 and the new building’s opening campaign in 2016-17.
Yikes. To little surprise, Oilers fans seem a little stunned by the spike in prices, especially since Batty points out that the team is asking for some cash early:
Here are some choice reactions from fans and media members on Twitter:
Well, they better improve by the time they move then, right?
The Oilers are continuing their bold stand to show the city of Edmonton they’re serious about moving the franchise if the city council doesn’t give them more money for a new downtown arena.
Bob Black, the Executive Vice President, Edmonton Arena Corporation, Katz Group issued a statement confirming the group’s meeting with people in Seattle tonight to “evaluate the market.” They also made it clear Seattle isn’t the only city taking an interest in the franchise.
“Nonetheless, and as the City of Edmonton is aware, the Katz Group has been listening to proposals from a number of potential NHL markets for some time. After more than four years of trying to secure an arena deal and with less than 24 months remaining on the Oilers’ lease at Rexall Place, this is only prudent and should come as no surprise.”
Let’s sum things up quick:
— Edmonton City Council pledges $200 million to help pay for a new downtown arena
— Katz tells the council he wants more money from them for the project and they refuse to give in
— Katz says the future of the franchise in Edmonton is in jeopardy without more money and refuses to meet again with the council
The actions from Katz are hostile, at best, and seemingly foolish given that the league is currently locking out its players. Katz might be wise to reevaluate how this whole situation looks.
Here are a couple of stories about NHL teams fighting with city/regional governments for money related to their new or previous arena deals.
- First, news that’s good for an NHL team: the Montreal Canadiens won a tax-related battle with the city of Montreal regarding the Bell Centre. The Habs will receive a $5.8 million rebate after this legal victory. The Canadiens’ annual tax bill will also drop from $10 million to $8.5 million. The combined rebate and first year of savings (about $7.3 million) would almost cover Scott Gomez’s $7.5 million salary in 2011-12. No word regarding whether or not the Canadiens’ brass began an “Ole” chant after hearing the good news.
- The Edmonton Oilers are desperate to leave the 37-year-old Rexall Place once their lease expires in 2014. To do so, the Oilers reportedly need a big boost from either Alberta or the federal government.
Unfortunately for the Oilers, both sides seem reluctant (at best) to give them a $100-$125 million boost to build a $425 million arena project.
“There won’t be any direct dollars flowing to the arena. It’s a private sector business,” said Premier Ed Stelmach at an event in Calgary Wednesday.
“We’ve always said if they are improvements that can be made to the infrastructure around the proposed arena — LRT, water, sewer all of those that are joint responsibility of the city and the province. But we are continuing to meet.”
The federal government has been equally reluctant.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made it clear earlier this year that his government is not in the pro-hockey business and will not spend taxpayers’ money on a professional sports arena or stadium.
This Oilers arena issue has been brewing for a few years now, but still seems like an under the radar problem. We’ll keep an eye on it as it develops, though, because it could get quite a bit thornier if the word “relocation” is thrown around even more than it already has been.