Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Arena Issues

Two teams, two sports, two small markets, two arena issues.

That is what we have in Edmonton and Sacramento as the Oilers and Kings continue to fight for new buildings for their teams. Though, in the case of the Kings, they are just waiting on the city of Sacramento to pass an arena bill or they are gone.

The Kings are helped by the fact that the Mayor of Sacramento is former NBA player Kevin Johnson, and he seems desperate to keep the Kings in Sac-Town. And the current lockout isn't deterring him in the slightest. Now, the issue in Sacramento seems to be a personal political battle between Johnson and councilwoman Sandy Sheedys, as this column by Marcos Breton of the Sacramento Bee suggests. However, this issue still has about four months left to figure out in order to keep the team in town.

Up in Edmonton, their issue still seems more like a partnership between team and city and Daryl Katz wants his team out of Rexall Place and in a new barn in downtown Edmonton. And also, today is a big day in the fight for the new building as the Edmonton City Council will vote on it. If you care at all about the Oilers (whether as a fan, rival or someone who appreciates all that franchise has done for hockey), then you should be following the Edmonton Journal's David Staples Twitter page or his live blog of the city council vote. He laid out of history of the Oilers and the arena issues they've had yesterday and thinks it's a good deal for Edmontonians if they passed the current offer now.

What happens if Edmonton doesn't pass a deal? Then I think the Oilers are gone, and 5-10 years later, Edmonton will build a new arena anyway and bring in another team, just like Winnipeg. The difference; cities like Winnipeg and Quebec City lost their teams when the Canadian dollar was failing and the economy was down and a new building just wasn't feasible then. This isn't the case in Edmonton. They have more favorable conditions and there continues to be a sense that the downtown area needs to be revitalized. Why wait until the Oilers are gone and make a deal, do so today. Let's hope a deal is passed and the Oilers stay in Edmonton.Link

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