After years of heated debate and bickering through the media it finally looks like the city of Calgary and the Calgary Flames may be getting close to putting together a deal for a brand new arena.
According to a report from the Globe and Mail on Sunday it now appears that a tentative agreement has been negotiated between the Flames and the city, and furthermore that details of that agreement will be presented to councilors at a meeting on Monday. This is a landmark step in the negotiations between the two sides and marks a huge leap in progress for a deal that at times seemed dead in the water due to the tensions between the Flames and Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.
The deal would see an 18,000 seat facility built in downtown Calgary on land that currently serves as a parking lot for the Stampede. The cost of the project would be massive as one would expect and are expected to be somewhere in the ballpark of $500 million - $600 million dollars. Needless to say this is a massive undertaking and there are no doubt many details that will still need to be worked out, not to mention the fact that this deal still has to be approved.
That being said the Flames ownership group has been vocal for years now that they simply can not compete in the modern NHL with their current arena, the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Saddledome is the third oldest arena in the entire National Hockey League with only the Nassau Coliseum and Madison Square Garden being older. The state of Nassau has caused issues for the team that plays there, the New York Islanders, so it is not hard to imagine that the Flames are suffering from similar problems.
The Flames believe that with a state of the art facility they would be a much more competitive organization financially speaking, and would hopefully once again become one of the big revenue generators for the league. It almost certainly does not hurt that the Flames can point to the success the Edmonton Oilers and the city of Edmonton have had with their new arena within the very same province.