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Agent floats novel way to pay for arena

A funding proposal from an NHL player agent could mean a new downtown arena would require no tax dollars from residents or promised money from the Katz Group.

A funding proposal from an NHL player agent could mean a new downtown arena would require no tax dollars from residents or promised money from the Katz Group.

The “sports mortgage” proposed by Rich Winter would see arena seats sold in advance for up to 40 or 50 years, generating money to fund the arena.

“It’s an idea that’s not unusual,” Mayor Stephen Mandel said yesterday. “People have talked about this (for) a long time ... Some talk of rights to the seats, some sell the rights to perpetuity, some will create different kinds of options between the two of them.”

Coun. Bryan Anderson wasn’t so sure about the proposal, saying it needs to be “discussed thoroughly to see if it’s a legitimate option for funding.”

Mandel agreed, saying, “If you sell all your seats, there’s not much revenue to pay the players later.”

Bob Black, Katz Group vice-president, said in statement yesterday that the proposal doesn’t create a viable long-term financial model for the Oilers.

 
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