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Design & Development

Flames committed to 35-year stay under proposed arena deal

Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Canada

Featured image credit: Daven Froberg on Unsplash

The Calgary Flames will be committed to staying in the Canadian city under the terms of a 35-year lease deal for the NHL ice hockey franchise’s proposed new arena, it has emerged.

The Flames are due to get a new arena to replace the ageing Scotiabank Saddledome under a deal that was announced in late April between the team’s ownership and city and provincial governments.

Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp (CSEC) – which owns the Saddledome and the Flames – and the City of Calgary, Alberta government and Calgary Stampede heritage society announced the deal, which is due to be officially signed off in the summer.

Following April’s initial announcement, a meeting of Calgary City Council’s Event Centre Committee has now provided further details behind the proposal. Under the C$1.22bn (£731.9m/€851.4m/$911.2m) project, the headline terms aren’t expected to change, according to the Calgary Herald, with the City responsible for C$537.3m of the bill, CSEC covering C$356m and the province contributing C$330m.

However, the newspaper said the latest meeting has shed light on some parts of April’s deal, including that Calgary will be responsible for the majority of upfront costs needed to build the arena and surrounding facilities.

The arena comes with a basic price tag of C$800m, which rises to C$924.4m with the addition of elements such as a parkade, community ice rink, and indoor and outside plazas. CSEC will pay C$40m upfront, adding C$17m to the city annually, plus a compounded one per cent over a 35-year lease that will tie the team to Calgary. The province will fund C$55.1m for the community rink and plaza space.

This will leave the city’s upfront costs at C$831.3m, which in part will be financed through funding earmarked for a previous failed arena deal. This ultimately collapsed after CSEC exited the project in December 2021, citing growing concern over the rising costs of its side of the venture.

It has also emerged that Calgary won’t receive revenue from a naming rights deal for the new arena, or from a ticket surcharge. City officials are instead said to believe that the Flames’ C$17m annual payment consolidates those revenue streams into consistent cash for the city.

Councillor Sonya Sharp said: “The city isn’t in the business of making a profit on any city-owned building. You can look at that within the Green Line, the LRT, libraries. This is a public building. It is owned by the city and we have private investment supporting it.”