So the arena deal is dead, at least in its present form.
Good riddance to bad rubbish. Daryl Katz has shown that he is not a man the city should be in business with, so let’s wash our hands of this whole sordid mess and consider ourselves lucky.
So what went wrong here?
Well, I believe that Katz deliberately scuttled this deal. How else can you explain it?
He had a sweetheart deal so sugary, it could give accountant diabetes. He got a building and all the revenue from it for about $100 million or so. It was a wonderful deal. Now, the whole thing goes sideways over, what, a $5 million a year subsidy? Do you really throw away a $475 million project over a lousy five or six million dollars a year? What’s that to the Oilers; a couple of mediocre players? It’s nothing. Katz could raise that kind of money by adding another 25 cents to the cost of a cup of beer. The city says almost all of the outstanding issues could be settled, expect (presumably) the subsidy.
The Katz people apparently believe that the city could reroute lottery money towards the Oilers. Unless his entire organization is made up of complete idiots (judging by the way they run the hockey team, this is possible) there is no way they didn’t know that lottery money wasn’t on the table.
Everything the Katz group had done recently, with the exception of the apology letter, has been so deliberately provocative, so calculated to offend, I can only assume now that he wanted to scuttle the deal.
Why? Because he can’t afford it.
I suspect (again, based on nothing but my fevered imagination) that Katz looked at the numbers, looked at his bank account, and said, “Whoa, I can’t afford this”. Instead of saying that out loud, he chose to sink the deal.
What’s next? While I’m coming up with far-fetched theories, try this one on for size: he sunk the deal to set up a sale of the Oilers. I think Katz just can’t afford the Oilers, and is setting up this fake impasse to claim that he has no choice but to sell the Oilers to the highest bidder. Think about it. He can either sink a hundred million dollars or more of his own money into a project with thin profit margins, or he can cash in on the team’s value and pocket a substantial amount of money.
Far fetched? Maybe. But is it any more far fetched than the idea that Daryl Katz, supposed business whiz, would walk away from exactly the arena deal he wanted just one year ago?
I hope I’m wrong. And I probably am. But it’s the only reason I can come up with why Daryl Katz would be so hell bent on ruining a deal he was thrilled with only a year ago.