Edmonton Oilers: What Will Happen Now That the Arena Deal Is Dead?

Adam Bowen@truknorrisContributor IIIOctober 18, 2012

It has been four years of torturous negotiations and bitter lobbying on both sides and now the proposed downtown arena and entertainment sector in Edmonton is dead.

Everything seemed to be moving along after the Oilers reached an agreement with Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel last October in New York City during a meeting mediated by Gary Bettman himself.

The original agreement would have seen the Edmonton taxpayers and ticket holders pay to build the arena and surrounding infrastructure to support the project with an estimated cost at around $700 million.

In this original deal the Oilers would have kept all profits from NHL games, and other events for 11 months out of the year as well as retaining the naming rights for the arena along with other funding from the city to go towards advertising. 

Then the Oilers' owner Daryl Katz decided that he needed another $6 million in subsidies from the city, and the project was put on life support.

A trip to Seattle and a thinly veiled threat followed this request, but a subsequent apology was issued by the owner.

Now it seems as if the proverbial plug has been pulled, and the arena deal is dead

Mandel had set a deadline of Oct. 17 for Katz and the Oilers to open their books and prove why exactly the extra funding was necessary, but Katz decided he wouldn't oblige and declined to even show up at the council meeting.

After such a promising start it appears that there is some serious hostility between the two sides, so the question remains as to what the future holds for a new arena and for the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers play in the second oldest arena in the NHL so a new arena is definitely necessary, but does the City now decide to move ahead on this project by itself and exclude the team as a partner?

It's clear that Katz wants the arena and all of the profits associated with it, but it is also becoming perfectly clear that the owner doesn't want to pay his fair share to get the deal done.

It's unfortunate that fans of the team now have to worry about the team's future in Edmonton because of the way these negotiations have panned out.

Only time will tell what the future holds for the Oilers and for a new downtown arena.  

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