New Calgary Stadium

Perhaps the opening salvo in the hopes of a new stadium for Calgary.

Ken King in studio with Boomer & Rhett
Sportsnet Staff September 23, 2014,
The President and CEO of the Calgary Flames joins the morning show in studio for a full hour; King talks players, offseason changes in and around the team, the continuing climb towards a new arena and much more.

[i]"It (Calgary ownership group) will soon include an extraordinarily ambitious building project that extends far beyond an arena. The first drawings I have in my office are from 2007...Edmonton is in the ground (new arena), this is not a "me too" thing.

When we come forward and it will be soon, I believe the following will happen: the financial structure for it,...lots of equity from the ownership group, lots of creative approaches, the location is..., wouldn't it be cool if there was a serious fieldhouse... the best before date for McMahon Stadium might be closing in, and clearly the Scotiabank Saddledome needs to be replaced so if you could imagine what could take place.

We're seeing some local groups, talking to them about the project, we want to garner general support, we want to have the answers to all the questions people will ask before they ask them and that's really the work we're doing now.

I think there are some cities that have multiple facilities together, I'm not sure if any of them will be as dramatic as this in terms of the collective efficiency of what we're trying to do, if we can do it.

Architects have been working on this for a long time but if we can pull it off I think it will be one of the most transformational projects in this city for the next 50 years."[/i]

Well, this could be it. Rumours of a Calgary entertainment complex (including a new stadium) look to be revealed soon. Hope this isn't a false alarm for a stadium announcement and that it is only a new arena (if that wasn't enough)

Flames to debut arena plans soon, won't 'steal money' from city: King
Jason Markusoff, Calgary Herald March 5, 2015

By month’s end, Calgarians should know where the Calgary Flames want to build their next arena and how they hope to pay for it — a proposal CEO Ken King has been devising since at least 2007.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s office has confirmed King will give him a sneak preview within the next two weeks, before he finally unveils to the public the team’s vision for a new downtown complex to replace the Saddledome.

Depending on what sort of government financial assistance Flames owners are seeking, this announcement stands to thrust Calgary into years of public debate, if Edmonton’s arena saga is any guide.

“I think people will love what they see and they’ll like the funding mechanism, so they’ll like the whole package, I really believe that,? King told KISS 95.9 radio station Thursday. He also said he’ll release plans in a “couple of weeks.?

The team owners’ frontman declined an interview to clarify what sort of shape his funding plan will take. He did, however, rule out one potential method.

“Before any of your listeners have conniptions, when you see our project, people are just going to love it. And we’re not going to sneak in here and steal money from the city,? King told the radio hosts.

City councillors have pre-emptively narrowed his options further.

The 15 members are almost uniformly opposed to redirecting scarce infrastructure dollars at a professional sports facility, though other options may be on the table.

“The best option perhaps is just going to be making land available, but no dollars. Because there are no dollars,? said Coun. Ward Sutherland, vice-chair of council’s priorities and finance committee.

Even free land is a tough sell for several council members. Nenshi is wary of a land giveaway, especially in high-value areas like West Village, the city-owned lands around the Greyhound station where it’s widely perceived the Flames want to develop.

“I’ve always said that I’m open to having a conversation on anything, but wherever there is public contribution there has to be very significant public benefit,? Nenshi said in a brief interview Thursday. “I’m not interested in public money subsidizing solely private profit.?

He refused to elaborate on what he deems public benefit. King has said he’ll pitch an “extremely ambitious? project and has hinted it will offer more than an arena, to give it wider appeal. The rumour mill has brimmed with ideas such as an amateur sports field house and a new Stampeders football stadium.

According to documents the Herald reported on in November, King and the mayor’s office have previously discussed locating the complex in West Village, the expanse of car dealerships and the Greyhound station west of downtown. It’s earmarked for eventual redevelopment on par with East Village, though the land is easily big enough to fit a hockey barn, within walking distance of the Sunalta LRT.

The Flames have been seriously planning a replacement for the Saddledome since at least 2007, and in earlier days looked at staying within Stampede Park. Back then, King had predicted his team would be skating in a new home by 2014.

But as Oilers owner Daryl Katz navigated through a years-long civic funding struggle and began construction on Rogers Place in the meantime, the Flames organization has been mired in site selection wrangling and study.

The Saddledome, completed in 1983, will be the oldest arena in the National Hockey League once new venues are completed in Detroit and Edmonton, and the New York Islanders move to new digs in Brooklyn. Flames brass bemoan that its lower bowl is too small, and it lacks the luxury box space that newer venues boast.

The saddle-shaped roof has also become a huge headache for large concert organizers. Touring acts like Maroon 5, Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift have booked Edmonton’s Rexall Place and skipped Calgary. In fact, that’s the issue that prompted King to take to the airwaves Thursday, on a pop music station that’s running a ticket giveaway Friday for tickets to see Madonna in Edmonton.

On funding, King cannot count on the provincial or federal governments for assistance if Calgary stymies him, as they didn’t contribute to the arena in Edmonton.

City councillors there agreed to cough up nearly three-quarters of the costs for the Oilers’ $480-million downtown complex, though not through direct grants. Most of it will come from a city-levied ticket tax, parking revenue and a community revitalization levy which is paid for through property taxes on future downtown Edmonton developments and reassessed buildings.

The Flames haven’t found as willing a partner in the mayor’s office as Oilers owner Daryl Katz had with Stephen Mandel, the capital’s former mayor. In 2011, Nenshi rejected King’s request to strike an independent committee to study the need of a new arena.

“The mayor said, ‘Well, show me a presentation,’ and as he is aware we’ve had a lot of conversations with him,? King said Thursday. “I think in fairness to him, he’s the first person that should see the fully fleshed plan.?

Nenshi’s office, which boasts about publishing his meeting list every few months, would not disclose the schedule date for his sit-down with Flames officials.

Sounds interesting.

Would be nice to see on both fronts.

Wonder if this will be tied to a future Winter Games bid (2026?)

It sounds like due to all the problems in Alberta, that an announcement is being delayed until after the provincial elections in April now.

I personally think that despite Ken King saying they wont ask for public funds, or something to that effect, they will be asking for land or tax breaks, etc. I think he realizes that is a no go now, and they need to figure something else out.

If it comes down to it, I could see them cutting out the football stadium and keeping the hockey arena.

Alberta is in huge trouble from putting all their eggs in one basket so to speak. They just had to take 4 BILLION from there 6.5 billion contingency fund to try and help the budget. They are cutting services, raising fees and income taxes, and not building required hospitals, yet curiously not raising corporate tax rates. I don't see how a sports company is going to get anything, even if they are going to spin it as not being money they are asking for.

Bad timing, should have tried to build it 4 years ago.

Things can change fast. Look what happened in Quebec, they spent $300 million with no private sector contribution on a hockey rink that will never see an NHL team. They have an election and the new government realizing their debt and deficit is out of control has to do some serious spending cuts.
Makes you wonder why Ontario with one of the largest debts and deficits in North America continues to spend and fund huge projects with no sign of any cut back anywhere.
At least Alberta is doing something about the problem now before it spirals out of control. Forget funding stadiums, arenas etc with public money.

An Ottawa OSEG type project is the only way to go, funded jointly with OSEG and the City of Ottawa no provincial or federal funding.

I have a big hunch this pitch involves an Olympic games bid announcement, which is why they are sensitive to the Alberta provincial election.

If there is as little competition for the 2026 Winter Olympics as there is for the 2022 games, Calgary could have a good shot. I wonder if an Olympic bid would interfere with Canada bidding for the 2026 FIFA World Cup?

A world Cup bid is big $$$ brought to the cities and areas that will be hosting matches. Toronto and Ontario would want to have the finals semis etc for sure. Right now they do not have a stadium that could host such a match(es).
They would have to do something like what is being done in york for Track and field only on a larger scale. Leaving a possible stadium for the Argo's outside of downtown Toronto where there is no room.
Montreal may be getting semi matches fro WWC at Olympic by 2026 that venue as is won't cut it.
Leves Edmonton as the main venue to be able to host and that is just not enough venues of that size.
Would Calgary, Halifax, Nova Scotia want to be left out. The Moncton stadium is of barley minimum size for WWC but not close for mens. Quebec City also looking to be left out without having a stadium that can be at least expandable to 40K min.

This is fantastic news. Calgary still isn't a bad place to watch a game, but they'll soon be left in the dust with all the renovations and new facilities out West. It says a lot of things about the growth of the CFL that this could be a reality.

How can Canada possibly host a World Cup when it doesn't have a single natural grass stadium big enough? The women complained loudly about their WC being playing played on the carpet, wouldn't those complaints be magnified ten fold for the men?

[url=] ... orts-house[/url]

The Calgary Flames’ vision for its new arena project is a blockbuster that would take up several blocks’ worth of prime land west of downtown — bringing together a new hockey arena plus a football stadium and an amateur sports fieldhouse, the Herald has learned.

It’s a megaproject that could easily cost more than half a billion dollars, and features a component more likely to draw in civic funding support than if it were merely new stand-alone homes for the Flames and Stampeders.

By bundling in a fieldhouse designed for track meets, indoor soccer and other amateur sports, Flames CEO Ken King is proposing to build something on the top of the city’s own project wish list, and potentially gives the proposal the sort of public benefit that Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said is essential if city hall is to become a project partner.

The indoor multi-sport complex could make the Flames project more “palatable? to the city, said Jason Zaran, incoming chairman of the Calgary Multisport Fieldhouse Society.

“A multi-sport facility is needed in this town, and I think if they can be the ones to bring it to the table and get it done, it looks good on them as well,? Zaran said.

His group has been working with the city’s recreation department on a $202-million, publicly-funded development at Foothills Athletic Park, just north of McMahon Stadium. In February, city staff ranked it at the top of the city’s unfunded infrastructure projects.

King has offered the fieldhouse society a tantalizing Plan B — constructing the facility as part of the stadium for the Canadian Football League team, which the Flames own. According to one source familiar with the plans, the football complex and fieldhouse would be part of the same convertible building.

King shared his plans with Nenshi in mid-March, then the mayor relayed it to council in a closed-door session Monday evening, multiple sources have confirmed. But there’s still no formal proposal submitted to council, and it’s unclear when King will finally reveal the ambitious concept to the public, though he did say a month ago the release was a “couple of weeks? away.

This three-in-one idea spawns numerous questions pertaining to Stampede Park’s Scotiabank Saddledome, the University of Calgary’s McMahon lands, and, of course, the City of Calgary, whose West Village lands the Flames are said to covet.

Combining an arena with a stadium/fieldhouse takes up a much larger swath of the property around the Greyhound Station.

The city has been acquiring those lands for several years, and recently purchased the four-hectare GSL car dealership site for $36.9 million. But it’s never been for sports facilities. The land would become part of the West Village blueprint for a future community of condo highrises and office buildings, akin to what’s under development in East Village.

Several councillors have said they’d be open to giving the Flames free land for a new arena, though the Herald could not confirm whether that’s what Ken King is asking for. Nenshi and council unanimously oppose direct taxpayer subsidies for professional sports buildings, and King tried to head off talk of a massive funding request in a radio station interview last month.

“Before any of your listeners have conniptions, when you see our project, people are just going to love it. And we’re not going to sneak in here and steal money from the city,? he told KISS 95.9.

In a voicemail Wednesday, King said he’s not yet prepared to discuss the proposal, which he’s been working on since at least 2007.

“I’m still in the quiet zone,? he said.

The Flames organization now owns the Stampeders, Flames, Calgary Hitmen (minor-league hockey) and Calgary Roughnecks (lacrosse) — but they’re playing in some of their respective leagues’ oldest facilities, the 1960 McMahon Stadium and the 1983 Saddledome.

In Edmonton, the Oilers’ $480-million new arena will be complete by fall 2016. That city’s tax-backed loan, ticket tax and parking revenue will cover much of its cost.

Nenshi has been skeptical about the need for a new arena or for any city cost-sharing. In 2011, the mayor’s office refused to help set up an independent committee to study the project.

The mayor’s tone appears to have shifted slightly last month, after his meeting with King. When asked about the arena at a Rotary Club speech, Nenshi reiterated that it must have some public benefit if it’s to garner public funding, and he praised the Flames’ six owners as “deeply committed? to Calgary and thoughtful about their process.

“Whatever solution we end up with is a solution we’ll get with great respect for one another and figuring out together what’s best for the community,? Nenshi said.

It looks like a great project but It'll cost a lot more than "easily 500 million dollars" that the writer quoted in the story. It's probably closer to a billion (or more). After publishing the story, the writer soon back tracked about the cost (on twitter) saying something like "that's why I said 'easily""

Anyways, rumour has it the football stadium will have a retractable roof. Fingers crossed. :thup:


Very cool, and perhaps not a bad idea to build all the facilities at the same time. Could make for significant economies of scale. Bet you they include an NASL franchise to be a co-tenant of the stadium.

As long as it’s funded by the owners and the City of Calgary, it might get the go ahead. The provincial government will not get involved with the downturn in the economy and the austerity measures by the province.

Because they would plan ahead and the CFL would play in turf stadiums for a year or two before reinstalling artificial turf. Sheesh, it isn't rocket science. Frankly, as a fan of the CWNT, the WWC (as big as it is) just wasn't big enough to do the above. And besides, nobody else wanted to host (Zimbabwe dropped out), so FIFA had to take it or leave it (Canada bid)

IIRC, many of the stadiums in the US bid for the WC had artificial turf, rip it out for a month or two then replace with the artificial.

The stadium combining with the fieldhouse I hope doesn’t end up with a combined track and football stadium. Technology exists to overcome that (moving stands) but I hope that isn’t where this is going.

I am mixed on this.

As a fan, I do not need or want a new stadium. They just need to revamp some seating.
Here in Calgary there is a lot of stadium envy because of all the new ones popping up.

Yet, I also understand the Flames / Stamps owners do not want to continue upgrading property they do not own.

You probably do not need a stadium because you are a fan (of football). But to encourage a new generation of fans, people who may be more interested in the event and spectacle over the football itself, stadiums need to have amenities to entice them. That means wider seats for people who actually watch the game so they can sit in comfort and large concourse areas where people can gather and share social experiences while possibly not even watching the game at all.

This was mentioned by Commish Cohon at his outgoing state of the league address. Stadiums have to compete with other forms of entertainment including HD TV and the comforts of watching at home. So they need big HD scoreboards and box seats and wifi and varied food concessions. You need all of that and more these days to get the consumers dollar. Football may become secondary to the experience for an increasingly larger number of people,

I wonder if a World Cup bid would include stadiums for Halifax and/or Quebec City? Most countries use more than the minimum 8 stadiums mentioned in the article. I also wonder if a Calgary bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics would interfere with that city being able to participate in a 2026 World Cup bid? I only mention this because of Toronto and Hamilton not being able to participate in the Women's World Cup because of the Pan Am Games.