Calgary Flames

Flames Sunday Census: Getting your thoughts on the new arena deal

Could the Calgary Flames finally be getting a new arena? After the news this past week it certainly looks like one is finally set to be built in the coming years. The Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), the City of Calgary, and the Province of Alberta have agreed to a deal for a new arena and district to go with it.

On the surface, a new arena is of course exciting news, however as is always the case with professional sports stadiums there’s the big question of where the money is coming from to build it. In today’s day and age, brand new arena’s are more expensive to build than ever before. The CSEC, city and province released their agreed upon breakdown of costs and it was met with plenty of questions.

The project will cost a whopping $1.22 billion, with the new arena taking up around $800 million of that. The remaining money will go towards a new community rink, attached parking structure, and public plaza. There will also be major infrastructure improvements and various other road improvements in the area.

We did a comprehensive breakdown of the funding behind the arena earlier this week, but the short story is the city will be funding a huge chunk of the project. Understandably, this caused an uproar from plenty of fans who were less than pleased with this news. We asked your thoughts on the new arena deal, here’s how you voted.

The Win Column - Sunday Census Featured Image - Graphical design showing a Calgary Flames branded laptop with poll results.

Want to take part in Sunday Census polls? We send them out every week on our Twitter at @wincolumnCGY. Follow along or send in ideas for the next poll!

Getting your honest thoughts on the new arena

Love it

The majority of fans love the new arena deal, regardless of the funding breakdown. Overall it’s not surprising that this was the most common answer, as the idea of a new arena is super exciting news. We’ve seen the Flames’ rival to the north get their fancy new arena recently and it’s certainly easy to feel jealous of the shiny new digs up north.

Considering the Saddledome is currently the oldest arena in the NHL, there’s no team in the entire NHL that needs a new arena more than Calgary. When your own players are coming out and saying the team needs a new arena like MacKenzie Weegar did, it’s clear to see why plenty of fans would be happy with a new arena regardless of the details.

Small price to pay. Ice district has completely changed the vibe of downtown Edmonton. Spend your money building great things.

Originally tweeted by dingyging (@dingyging) on April 28, 2023.

Necessary evil

The second highest percentage of fans consider the deal a necessary evil. This group seemingly understands that the funding breakdown is less than ideal for taxpayers, but a sacrifice that is necessary in order to finally get the Flames out of the Saddledome and into a new arena. In other words an acceptance that they’re not pleased with this cost breakdown but at least we’ll get a new arena out of it.

Honesty I just want it be done with so we don’t need to worry about this arena situation anymore

Originally tweeted by x – Braedon (@BraedonJohal) on April 29, 2023.

It makes sense to feel this way, as a new arena has been a talking point in Calgary for what feels like forever. The Saddledome has been the target of jokes across the NHL and some fans are tired of it.

We’ve seen time and time again that pretty much the only way to get a new arena is to have the city and public foot a large portion of the bill. Should it be that way? Absolutely not, but at the end of the day it’s the reality of the world we live in and at least the city and fans will be getting a new arena they can enjoy that is desperately needed and we can all stop talking about how old the Saddledome is.

And the city of Nashville just ponied up 1.1 billion for a new Titans stadium.

Originally tweeted by Richard Junkar (@RichardJunkar) on April 29, 2023.

And hey, the amount being paid by the city isn’t ideal but at least we’re not the city of Nashville.

Mixed emotions

Coming in a close third with 21.4% of the vote are fans who have mixed emotions and understandably so. On one hand as we’ve mentioned the Flames and the city desperately need a new arena, but on the other hand using a tonne of taxpayer money to fund that arena while the billionaire owner pays a smaller amount isn’t exactly great news.

It makes complete sense to be excited about a brand new facility and arena district in Calgary while also being less than pleased with what the cost breakdown means for taxpayers in the city. At the end of the day it’s hard to be fully excited about the new arena considering where the money will be coming from.

Mixed emotions. Can't wait to have it but never felt like the public should have to pay a dollar for it

Originally tweeted by TommyFresh (@TommyFreshMusic) on April 28, 2023.

I’m indifferent at the moment. Until I see a groundbreaking ceremony then I will not act excited about that latest deal. We’ve been screwed twice in the last decade (CalgaryNext and Events Centre), and we cannot suffer a third heartbreak.

Originally tweeted by Antonio Cee (@TheRealPepman) on April 28, 2023.

Spoken like a true Flames fan, Antonio. Heartbreak is in the fan base’s DNA. Until the puck is dropped in the new arena, it’s fair to question if this deal will actually translate to a new arena.

Hate it

Coming in last by a wide margin, only 9.7% of fans hate the new deal. As we’ve explained before, a new arena is exciting on the surface to most people. To this group having a fancy new arena and district doesn’t make up for the questionable cost breakdown.

Horrific waste of taxpayer dollars

Originally tweeted by The Sword of Allah / ☭ / ACAB (@raptors_enjoyer) on April 29, 2023.

I mean you can’t blame people for feeling this way. At the end of the day hockey is just a sport and nothing more. We won’t get into it here but there’s obviously much more important things that this amount of money can be spent on. Asking the city to foot such a massive bill for a sports stadium is rightfully frustrating for some people.

I’m all for public funds being used to build public facilities, but private businesses can pay for their own land and buildings. It blows my mind that tax payers are subsidizing an already profitable business.

Originally tweeted by Art Vandalay (@VandalayCEO) on April 28, 2023.

A mixed response

Overall it’s clear that it’s pretty divided fan base when it comes to the new arena deal. At one end you’ve got fans who love the new deal, on the other end you’ve got fans who hate it. In the middle you’ve got another group who see both the pros and cons.

It’s bound to be a very interesting next year for the Flames off the ice as we learn more about the new arena deal and see if ground is actually broken after two failed deals have come and gone in recent years.

Back to top button