Flames corporate mouthpiece Ken King walked back his comments about the Flames bolting the city this weekend, saying that the team won’t ever threaten to leave Calgary as a ploy to get a better building deal.
But that’s just what he did.
Last Wednesday after the Mayor had pronounced CalgaryNEXT arena deal dead, King told a Toronto radio interviewer the team wouldn’t do a Darryl Katz and start waving around the idea the team could move if they don’t get what they want.
It would just leave.
Simply saying the words, putting the idea out there, is the next step in many of these private/public money negotiations. The beloved entity begins to point out it’s benefit to the city and why it should get benefits for exisiting in your hometown. And dad gum it, moving would be just the absolutely last thing they’d want to do, but did I mention we might have to take our benefits somewhere they would be appreciated.
And on the dance goes.
One wonders if the city agreed to build a new hockey/entertainment centre but took the Flames just as tenants- not their current deal of operating for all events in the Saddledome–what their response would be?
Oh, what am I thinking, I know what the response would be! Pro sports ownership is about generating revenue from that building all year round, and being a tenant would be looked upon by ownership as untenable.
Just as absurd is the notion any city politician would allow their name to be associated with the Flames leaving the city. When push comes to shove, Mayors cave and team owners get a deal like their buddies in other cities got.
So let’s decide how much value an entertainment centre has outside of hockey and make a decision on whether that’s worth it to Calgarians, without factoring in the emotion Calgary’s biggest team brings to the equation. For as Mr. King has put voice to, there’s no guarantee the Flames will be here forever.