Calgary Flames CEO Ken King seems to be somewhat unhappy with local elected officials and their decision to refuse to help fund the Calgary Next project, which among other things would have seen a Flames arena and a Stampeders football stadium built. The proposal could have cost Calgary taxpayers more than a billion dollars Canadian.
King’s public relations problem started last week during an interview on a Toronto sports talk radio program, when he spoke about the lack of progress on getting the project funded with public money and if there would be a time that Flames ownership could seek a new home in a different city where elected officials understood that you have to give the sports team owner money for the factory. “There would be no threat to move, we would just move, and it would be over. And I’m trying my level best to make sure that day never comes, frankly.” But King did threaten to move the hockey team and by the weekend, there was a different message on the Flames website.
“In response to a question, are you going to use the threat of moving as a tactic, I said we would not. I also said we would “just move.” The facts are we need a solution and if it is deemed that there is no made in Calgary solution we will have to make a decision at that time, which logically could include deciding to move the team. It is merely one out of a few possible outcomes if we are unable to reach a deal with the City that will work for both sides.”
King was merely laying out options but somewhere, some elected official looking for a sports team say in Quebec City or Seattle can make a play for the Flames and that could start a bidding war which would benefit King and the Flames owners. That’s how Calgary got the Atlanta Flames in 1980.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.