7 thoughts on “Sports Is Not a Normal Business”

  1. Two questions for you then Jeff…Do you think the Oilers make money right now? And if not and this is just a psychic benefit for Katz, are you ok with him selling it to some other ego-driven schmuck who would move the team?
    And, sorry, there will be three, three questions for you Jeff. What Gladwell doesn’t speak about is the psychic benefits of the fans…should that play a part in sports business discussions with government?

  2. Two questions only!

    1. I think the Oilers make money. Maybe not a lot when things are said and done each year end, but I think they do. And if they don’t make money then it really is all about psychic benefits to own a team.

    2. Sell it. The importance of sports teams at the cost of other government funded projects is way overstated. (Note: I am a Habs and NFL fan, so don’t have as much attachment to the hometown team.) I also don’t think there are many better NHL markets than Edmonton. They have sold out 5 straight losing seasons.

    3. Good point on the psychic benefits of fans, which is truly why losing teams sell out games but crappy service at a restaurant or other type of business is not continually funded. I think it’s something that would see ticket taxes and fees, and more expensive food, drink, and other items for sale at games and concerts fund the building of a new arena. If the Oilers left Edmonton there would be some negative psychic benefits for about a year, then most people would get over it. So, I don’t think the feelings of fans really needs to play into how government spends money. It’s only a small percentage of how people are going to feel about their city.

    p.s. Welcome to the social media webs, Donnelly (saw you on Twitter today)!

  3. Personally, I’d prefer the psychic benefits of having streets with no potholes, libraries that can afford new publications, and a transit system that operates with a reasonable frequency to the psychic benefits of having a small group of dudes swishing around on ice a few nights a year, hitting things with sticks, but that’s just me…

  4. The interesting thing is that you’re right Edmonton is one of the best hockey markets, yet Katz can’t make money off it (or if you’re correct very little money). I think the reaction of Winnipeg in getting a team back is a sign that psychic benefits of fans shouldn’t be ignored. I support the arena proposal not because of the Oilers (they only use it 45 nights out of the nearly 300 nights Rexall is used). It goes to the renovation of downtown. I think the main arguments in this deal that I’ve repeatedly heard is Katz is getting too sweet a deal. I think it’s great that he is putting in money towards this, and if he makes some money from operating the thing (gov’t should never be in the business of operations) then it’s win-win. I have no problem with business people making money it just might attract more business people to want to make money in my city too.

    As for the either/or argument of potholes vs hockey team…is just fallacious…where is the outrage then on the RAM or AGA tax dollars. Your potholes weren’t getting fixed before hand and that won’t change with or without an arena.

    I know there is no guarantee that this will work but I applaud council for having the guts to make the decision rather than putting it off and risking the potential investment that is on the table.

    It’ll be an interesting debate for the next several years anyway.

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